Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 by Stained in Labels:


The fascinating tang of food
Inept to savor, still I gorge away
Enveloped by warmth at night
Yet I stay awake, an infinite quiver
So much to do so little time
A pause or a hiccup, seconds last forever
Aching reminder gnashing your teeth
Sheets of cover, a shadow of a smile
Pretentious exposure anonymity
Words to say, no one see...


Responsibility – strength – professionalism – stability...perfection. Emotions...left alone - unwanted – unnecessary – pretend. Make those eyes smile...persuade – balance – naive – simple. No more more lies. Just smile and and wave.

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Ferris wheel

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011 by Stained in Labels:


Blissful face
Quaking hands
Arbitrary hugs
A shove or a pull
Darkening auras
Fistful of film
Puzzling fold
Graze the torso
Sneak peak
Hammering gavel
Huff and puff


Imaginary characters; whispering through life among the alive. You whisper back. Whispers turn into loud debates, guidance...concealment. The aroma is enticing; a contrast to reality. You get drawn in deeper; you cannot don’t want to. Going round in circles leaving the alive behind.

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Why 3D doesn't work and never will. Case Closed

Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , ,

An interesting read which does get technical in places but makes complete sense especially the headaches 3D movie viewing causes to a lot of people.

By Roger Ebert on January 23, 2011 7:57 PM
I received a letter that ends, as far as I am concerned, the discussion about 3D. It doesn't work with our brains and it never will.
The notion that we are asked to pay a premium to witness an inferior and inherently brain-confusing image is outrageous. The case is closed.
This letter is from Walter Murch, seen at left, the most respected film editor and sound designer in the modern cinema. As a editor, he must be intimately expert with how an image interacts with the audience's eyes. He won an Academy Award in 1979 for his work on "Apocalypse Now," whose sound was a crucial aspect of its effect.

Wikipedia writes: "Murch is widely acknowledged as the person who coined the term Sound Designer, and along with colleagues developed the current standard film sound format, the 5.1 channel array, helping to elevate the art and impact of film sound to a new level. "Apocalypse Now" was the first multi-channel film to be mixed using a computerized mixing board." He won two more Oscars for the editing and sound mixing of "The English Patient."
"He is perhaps the only film editor in history," the Wikipedia entry observes, "to have received Academy nominations for films edited on four different systems:
• "Julia" (1977) using upright Moviola
• "Apocalypse Now" (1979), "Ghost" (1990), and "The Godfather, Part III" (1990) using KEM flatbed
• "The English Patient" (1996) using Avid.
•  "Cold Mountain" (2003) using Final Cut Pro on an off-the shelf PowerMac G4.
Now read what Walter Murch says about 3D:
Hello Roger,
I read your review of "Green Hornet" and though I haven't seen the film, I agree with your comments about 3D.
The 3D image is dark, as you mentioned (about a camera stop darker) and small. Somehow the glasses "gather in" the image -- even on a huge Imax screen -- and make it seem half the scope of the same image when looked at without the glasses.
I edited one 3D film back in the 1980's -- "Captain Eo" -- and also noticed that horizontal movement will strobe much sooner in 3D than it does in 2D. This was true then, and it is still true now. It has something to do with the amount of brain power dedicated to studying the edges of things. The more conscious we are of edges, the earlier strobing kicks in.
The biggest problem with 3D, though, is the "convergence/focus" issue. A couple of the other issues -- darkness and "smallness" -- are at least theoretically solvable. But the deeper problem is that the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen -- say it is 80 feet away. This is constant no matter what.
But their eyes must converge at perhaps 10 feet away, then 60 feet, then 120 feet, and so on, depending on what the illusion is. So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another. And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before. All living things with eyes have always focussed and converged at the same point.
If we look at the salt shaker on the table, close to us, we focus at six feet and our eyeballs converge (tilt in) at six feet. Imagine the base of a triangle between your eyes and the apex of the triangle resting on the thing you are looking at. But then look out the window and you focus at sixty feet and converge also at sixty feet. That imaginary triangle has now "opened up" so that your lines of sight are almost -- almost -- parallel to each other.
We can do this. 3D films would not work if we couldn't. But it is like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, difficult. So the "CPU" of our perceptual brain has to work extra hard, which is why after 20 minutes or so many people get headaches. They are doing something that 600 million years of evolution never prepared them for. This is a deep problem, which no amount of technical tweaking can fix. Nothing will fix it short of producing true "holographic" images.
Consequently, the editing of 3D films cannot be as rapid as for 2D films, because of this shifting of convergence: it takes a number of milliseconds for the brain/eye to "get" what the space of each shot is and adjust.
And lastly, the question of immersion. 3D films remind the audience that they are in a certain "perspective" relationship to the image. It is almost a Brechtian trick. Whereas if the film story has really gripped an audience they are "in" the picture in a kind of dreamlike "spaceless" space. So a good story will give you more dimensionality than you can ever cope with.
So: dark, small, stroby, headache inducing, alienating. And expensive. The question is: how long will it take people to realize and get fed up?
All best wishes,
Walter Murch


Source: (via twitter) 

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Dubai Shopping Festival 2011

Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , ,

Every evening for the next 31 days, I will be running around town covering as many events as possible for the Dubai shopping festival 2011 while going a little mad directionally and resourcefully. Not looking forward to it irrespective that the money is kind of decent though peanuts in comparison to the load of work and the team (more like one annoying videographer) I’ll have.

In addition, I’ll have some odd photography jobs here and there with plenty of personal commitments (family or friends) which basically means no time for myself. So it’s that time of the year to do a vanishing act from social media as I can't afford distractions. I'll try blogging once in a while just to let some steam out but that’s about it. Later all...

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Shooting the Rain at night

Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , ,

Still persisting with the Sigma 24mm f1.8 as my main walk around lens, I managed to snap up this photo of the view from my balcony while it was raining heavily last night. It took me 3 tries to get it right as I wanted to get a proper exposure of the complete scene while capturing the rain in the air.

I chose a slow shutter speed of 1/40 to capture the rain with some motion blur, combined that with the lowest possible f number (large aperture) of f1.8 to allow maximum amount of light to enter the camera and increased the sensitivity of the sensor by bumping up the ISO to 1600 to achieve a proper exposure (though I think I've over exposed the shot a little).

The lens flare wasn’t added in post processing but done in camera as this lens tends to flare a lot which I took advantage of with some careful positioning of the light source. If you look carefully at the bright white lights in the background, you’ll see a bit of purple fringing. This is the only (for now) drawback of the lens when shooting wide open (small f number) which might get distracting in some cases. It can be removed in Photoshop but it doesn’t bother me here.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 01/17/2011 18:37:30 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/40
Av(Aperture Value) : f1.8
Metering Mode : Center weighted average
ISO Speed : 1600
Lens : Sigma 24mm f1.8 macro
Focal Length : 24mm

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Obsessive Compulsive Impulsive Disorder

Posted: Monday, January 17, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , ,

I have a tendency to OCD (Obsessive compulsive Disorder) over the people I get along with which is mainly because I don’t get along with a lot of people. I’m rude when social and introverted when anti social, not the best two sides of a coin especially for a photographer. So when it comes to people I do get along, I tend to exaggerate the ‘Let me take care of you and solve your problems’ thing. I’ve started calling it OCID which is OCD with impulsive (ness).

Now this kind of OCID cannot be exercised with guys because a) Most guys don’t share their problems with other guys; b) Most guys have an emotional span of a teaspoon; c) Being OCID in that way is just weird (in the gay sense of way). That doesn’t mean I haven’t OCID’d over a guy (that just sounds weird), I have plenty of close guy friends whose emotional problems I have help sort out. But this is a rarity in the rarest sense of ways as I mostly don’t get along with guys due to my lack of a) perverted sense of humor; b) ogling over women; c) lack of stupidity in the common sense of ways; d) my often lack of practical (read: unemotional) behavior; e) my childish outlook to life.

Coming to girls, being OCID has two sides to it; it either boomerangs to ‘just acquaintances’ status or you hit the bullseye. By bullseye I mean finding yourself in a position where you manage to be the backbone of some ones effort to prevail over the problems in their lives. In the past 2 years or so, I’ve often found myself as the backbone; something that feels good. I have also often found myself as the centre of their affection; something that I’m not too fond of.

As pointed out to me yesterday this is completely due to the convenience factor i.e. he understands me, he takes care of me, he wipes away my tears, he’s a good listener, he’s always there etc. This supposedly makes me more dangerous when compared to a flirt because I unintentionally may have the power to manipulate the situation/person to fit my needs and I’m not really sure how that makes me feel. My intentions to OCID were also questioned, what do I gain from this? Does the whole affection attention boast my confidence? Does it make me feel larger than life or something like that? These are just some questions that arose from the long conversation I had with Begg on our way back from Abu Dhabi. An interesting way to look at it and I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m sure I won’t stop being OCID but I can’t stop thinking (OCD again) and being a little hesitant now. This is haunting me right now....

All my life I've tried to help people...but now that I look back, all I see is pain...

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East Coast trip...

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Woke up at 3am, got dressed in 20mins and got picked up by SJ at 3:30am. After a 20mins wait for Begg and Beila to join us and a long stop over at a petrol pump to fill wheezing me up with hot tea, we made our way on to Emirates Road (it was 4:30am by then). We took the University road exit that would take us straight to Kalba. Half way through our journey, thick fog enveloped us reducing visibility to around 10metres in some places. Slowly we crawled into the mountains leaving the fog behind. A quick Fajr prayer stop in a deserted town near Wadi Al Hilo freaked out Begg and Beila. At around 6am, we were standing at the mouth of the Wadi-Al Hilo tunnel (also known as Kalba tunnel), one of the longest tunnels in the UAE. A calculated risk and we managed to snap up this almost perfect symmetry shot.

We then headed off to Khor Kalba and the beach beyond to watch the sun rise over the Arabian Sea. Using the short depth of field and macro capabilities of the Sigma 24mm f1.8, I tried to snap up some creative shots. We spent around two hours there that including vandalizing (more like photographing) an abandoned Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 truck, checking out some dead sea-creatures and other random stuff.

We then headed into Fujairah to grab some Breakfast. Choices were scarce as most of the restaurants were closed, so we had to settle for a typical Indian fast food cafeteria called Green Valley restaurant. I ordered a Pizza while the rest choose eggs. The food was quite bad though edible.

Back to Kalba, we went into adventure mode and decided to check out the mostly deserted farm lands. The poor Yaris had to face a lot of abuse on these dirt roads courtesy tree branches, rocks and fences. It even had one of its bumper partially pulled off by a barb wire and had to be put together with tape. Thankfully it’s a rent a car and therefore no huge repair bills to worry about. In the 3 hours we were in there, we did a shoot for an abandoned truck (with strobe lights and stuff), saw animal remains (read: goat skulls and bones), backtracked from a stinking toilet, went into spooky farms and generally went a little mad photographically speaking.
Lunch time and we found ourselves at New Sheetal seafood restaurant in Fujairah recommended by Begg. We let her do most of the ordering which was a good thing cause she ended up paying the bill as well because the food was beyond bad i.e. inedible and she felt bad about it. In addition to the bad food, the service and food presentation was one of the worst I’ve seen for a very long time.

Putting the unsatisfactory lunch behind us, we went to Hail where we drove past the fancy heritage castle/tower into Wadi Al Hail. We decided to trek as much as we could because the Yaris was incapable of handling the steep dirt road. Standing in the middle of the mountains with a strong breeze, it felt divine. The silence was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle life we live in Dubai. We got out of their just before sunset to avoid any unwanted issues (the car was really struggling plus safety) and headed home. On the way, we stopped at a sweets shop in Al Dhaid that serves delicious Punjabi samosa that were introduced to me by my parents who had discovered it 31 years back.

15 hours of awesomeness, we got home at 8pm.

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Taking it further...

Posted: Monday, January 10, 2011 by Stained in Labels:

I am a huge critic of people who don’t take their photography that one step further when given an opportunity on a platter. I’ve assisted at over two dozen workshops for Gulf Photo Plus and every single time I’m disappointed by how easily the people get delighted with a rather ordinary picture they’ve taken. Now I understand if a beginner gets satisfied easily, that’s acceptable to a certain level. But if the same applies to the wannabe crowd who are going around doing shoots for clients and shooting half naked women portfolios (the wanker crowd as I fondly call them) professionally, then that is a complete disgrace to the creative err… process that photography is (I almost called it an art *facepalm*). Now I’d go on ranting about the trash some of these wankers are doing in the name of photography, but that’s meant for another post.

From what I’ve seen, people tend to approach a day of photography with a single concept cemented in their head i.e. I assume that before stepping out of the house they tell themselves ‘Today I shall shoot blurry water (for example) and that’s it’. As I had once stated on a local photography forum, limiting yourself creatively is the worst way to learn even if you’re trying to perfect that specific skill. That statement and some similar critique caused a racket and I think I was told to grow up or something along that line which is usually how they end an argument with me (my young age annoys some people).

What I believe is that instead you should limit yourself with the equipment you use. I personally own an array of lenses and also have access to some of the best Canon lenses available in the market. I instead choose to limit myself to just one lens especially on a day I’m feeling rather creative. This lens is usually a prime lens or a zoom with a specific zoom range i.e. ultra wide or telephoto. The advantage to limiting yourself with equipment is that you take that extra effort to compose your picture because you don’t have the ability to change lenses depending on the subject. This makes you rethink your composition, move around, stop and stare, experiment and get frustrated till you either give up or get that perfect shot (in your opinion obviously). Anyone who does this, irrespective of their skill level, will see a HUGE improvement in the way they shoot. This will give you the ability to work on the edge even when you’re not limited by equipment. This is something many other pro level photographers promote as well.

Let me throw an example at you.

The left image is the typical picture most photographers I’ve come across would capture at this given situation. In fact, two people with me took a similar if not the same picture as this one. It isn’t a bad picture by a long stretch; it is a pleasing and a perfect representation of what the tree really looks like though in my opinion it fails to stand out. It’s just another tree in the middle of the road shot if you know what I mean though I do love the shadows on the ground.

Moving to the second image, this is my interpretation of the same scene. On this particular day, I had decided to only use my Sigma 24mm f1.8; a lens that allows me to achieve a short depth of field while being able to get very close to my subject. To me personally it makes the tree look creepy. The feedback I’ve received regarding this picture has been more then positive which I suppose means I’ve done a good job. It’s a different shot that makes people notice it, it’s not just another shot of a tree….

In the end this is a my point of view, people may or may not agree with it but due to personal experience and advice to others, I’ve learned that this limiting factor does in fact allow you to take your photography a step forward.

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Lens Tyre Jo

Posted: Thursday, January 06, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve become a bit of a sucker for prime lens. My dream collection would be a 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8, 135mm f2, 200mm f2.8 and 400mm f5.6. I already own the 50 and 85 while I’ve been eyeing the Sigma variant of the 35mm (more like the 30mm f1.4) for some time. Instead I’ve landed up with a Sigma 24mm f1.8 for AED1,000, second hand. SJ picked it up for me a few hours back so I still haven’t used it but I’m excited. Next is to bribe myself with the dreamy 135mm… ^_^

Four months and around 10,000 kilometers after my suicidal intention blog post, today I managed to change the faulty tyre. Why it took me so long is completely because the tyres my car rides on (Pirelli P Zero Rosso 235/40ZR 18 95Y) are never in stock. I chose not to go for any other branded tyre cause I didn’t want to change all my tyres due to the cost (eg. Pirelli cost AED1,200 per tyre) and I didn’t want to change just one tyre due to different tread design and performance. In the end I decided to change just one tyre (bought a Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 for AED1,350) cause the faulty one was falling apart and I still couldn't afford to change them all. As the Michelin goes in the rear, I should be fine for now as there is no noticeable change in driving ergonomics. I do plan to change the other 3 tyres in another 10,000 kilometers to Michelin (hopefully the Pilot Sport 3) as a quick google search claims they are a lot better then the Pirelli tyres..

I photographed Jo while assisting Bobby Lane in a portraiture workshop in Abu Dhabi in November. While looking for some other image, I came across this one which was screaming to be processed into monochrome. Simple Adobe Lightroom split tone processing with plenty of contrast and clarity to make the blacks darker and the whites brighter. Also increased exposure for the eyes to make them pop.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 11/09/2010 17:36:02 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/160
Av(Aperture Value) : f4
Metering Mode : Center weighted average
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : Sigma 105mm Macro
Focal Length : 105mm

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Solar Eclipse

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Had completely forgotten about the Solar Eclipse today so with a last minute reminder from SJ, I managed to capture this. Luckily it was cloudy which made my shot more interesting and easier to take. Shot this through two tinted windows of my house to reduce light along with a circular polarizer to reduce light further by a stop and to reduce reflections/doubles (slightly visible) created by the windows.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 01/04/2011 13:27:14 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/8000
Av(Aperture Value) : f6.3
Metering Mode : Center weighted average
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : Sigma 18-200mm OS
Focal Length : 200mm

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Posted: by Stained in Labels:


She plunks at the very same blemish
Every single moment he’s around
His apathy was deafening
It’s still resonant in her mind
A cuddle later
An allusion of air
The blankness around him
Is bleeding within her
He walks back to her car
Manufacturing just right sentences
Gnawing a gum
Shinning like a booming star
Thrice the love
Once upon a time
Glistening ambiance
Down the unconscious path
The affection, cold counter
Ruffled hair, untouchable
Everything, still not the same
An embrace later
Thin air, just her…

- Stained

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Posted: Sunday, January 02, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Perhaps the best sunset picture I took in 2010. The reflection adds a whole new dimension to this scene, something I've shot a million times before. A custom white balance to get the purple tone with a bucket full of contrast to get the silhouettes.

Camera Model : Canon 5D
Shooting Date/Time : 12/27/2010 17:38:48 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/80
Av(Aperture Value) : f6.3
Metering Mode : Center weighted average
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro
Focal Length : 50mm

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Happy New Year

Posted: Saturday, January 01, 2011 by Stained in Labels: , ,

New Years Eve is beyond over rated. Just because the last digit/s in the date changes, doesn't really mean you need to go around celebrating it like a lunatic. Yes I do go shoot the firework display, but then I'm a fireworks freak which is quite evident from the number of times I've shot them. There were a total of 7 firework displays in Dubai visible yesterday from the spot I was standing. That's a lot for a pretty small city like Dubai. The amount of money blown on it all must have been enough to fund a few villages back home for a year if not more. Was there really a need for it is questionable though I did wish the hyped Burj Khalifa display was better especially for the thousands of people who got stuck in traffic because of it.

And then to talk about the whole party harder concept. I know people just need a reason to get drunk/drink but from what some people have told me over the years about these parties, it's plain disgusting. I wonder how many men and women ended up in random beds without any idea how they ended up their. How it all works baffles me...

The new year has ushered in higher prices for various things I personally buy/use but there are also some rule changes that seem promising if implemented properly. In the end uncertainty is still the same, today feels just like yesterday. But at least a new year gives you an opportunity to close the books, financial and emotional or so it seems. Will life change..I doubt it. Do I want it to change...nope. It all boils down to taking it one day at a time...even if you're just trying to stay afloat.

Happy New year...or something like that....

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