Monday, January 30, 2012

Light and Darkness

Black and white window shutters showing light and darkness
"Love is not consolation. It is light." Friedrich Nietzsche
I have had this photo on my hard drive for a long time. Today I was browsing through my photos that I shot with my Canon 40d and found it again and couldn't believe I have waited so long to include it in my blog.

These are really old window shutters that can really block light to complete darkness. I have always loved the way the light shines through the panels if you leave them a little open. Originally the photo was not in black and white and I converted it for it to be more dramatic and emphasize more on the light.

I also really love the quote because it's so true. Even a simple window that blocks almost all the light gives you consolation with those faint rays of light.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fire and Water

"Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody." Mark Twain
Since I was a little child I was always fascinated with water...and this was way before I knew my star sign was Scorpio, which is a water sign. I used to spend hours playing in the bathtub and after a hard working day I still prefer nothing but a hot bath waiting for me.

The most hypnotizing moment is when the tub is actually filling up. I never get tired of looking at the gentle flow of the water. A few weeks ago I realized that the light reflection on the chrome looks like fire and hence the birth of this photo.

I tried several times to capture the photo using my iPhone but I was feeling miserably mainly because of having no control until finally I gave up and brought out my Canon 40d.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cruising

Valletta Harbor, Malta

A cruise ship at the Valletta Harbor, Malta
"A ship has a soul." John Rhodes Sturdy
Lately all I've been seeing on the news (even though it's slowly dying now) is that unfortunate ending of the Costa Concordia cruise ship. 

That very same cruise ship was in Malta several times, exactly at the very same place where this cruise ship in the photo is. This is Malta's only harbor for big cruise ships such as the one in the photo. But it's not your everyday harbor. This harbor is stretched over a long distance and the stretch is full of restaurants, shops, bars and even a few nightclubs. 

Even though I like to admire the engineering behind cruise ships I am not the least bit interested in ever going on one.

This black and white photograph was captured on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. Some minor editing was done in PS CS4. Settings for Hipstamatic were BlacKeys B&W/Lucifer IV.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Staircase

The Stairs

A stairway at a school in Malta
"I do have a blurred memory of sitting on the stairs and trying over and over again to tie one of my shoelaces, but that is all that comes back to me of school itself." Roald Dahl

I couldn't have found a more appropriate quote than the one included with this photo. In this photo we have a stairway, a stairway at the school I teach at. Looking at the photo makes me wonder how many times I've been up and down those stairs in the last few years.

I don't know if it's just me, but lately I've started to realize that school is not the same as when I used to be the student instead of the teacher. We had more respect towards teachers...we were actually scared of them and discipline was actually a good thing. Today it's frowned upon. I also realized that school, for most parents, is that institution where you can send your kids to to get rid of them for a few hours.

Anyway back to the photo. This school is one of the oldest in Malta and a lot claim that it's also one of the best on the island. When I took this photo I had to do it quick as I had students with me and I had no time to take an elaborate picture...I just had to literally point and shoot.

This black and white photograph was captured on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. Some minor editing was done in PS CS4. Settings for Hipstamatic were BlacKeys B&W/Lucifer IV.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Blessing

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

A Buddha statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
This piece of art right here in the photograph has to be one of my ultimate favorite sculpture. There is so much detail in it that looking at it leaves you breathless. The first time I saw it I have to be honest and say that I didn't give it much attention. I gave it a quick look and just walked by.

The second time and all the other times it has been different. Every time I go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art this is the one piece that I always have to see, together with the 'Spring' painting by Pierre-Auguste Cot. I will never tire of those two pieces and I wish I could have them in my living room but then I am afraid I will do nothing but stare at them for endless hours.

This black and white photograph was captured on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. Some minor editing was done in PS CS4. Settings for Hipstamatic were BlacKeys B&W/Lucifer IV.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Girl Waiting For the Bus

Midtown Manhattan

A woman waiting for the bus in Manhattan
"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known" Carl Sagan

I was never particularly good in shooting candid street portraits mainly because of the fear of someone snapping at me and embarrassing me but often times I can't resist. This was the case in this photo.

This young woman was waiting in the same bus shelter we were waiting at. She looked like she just got up from her bed and rushed out but she looked beautiful nonetheless. It always fascinates me how some women, even if they try to look bad, they still look amazing, while others no matter how hard they try to look good, they still don't. Some or blessed than the others I guess.

Anyway this photo was shot very close to Macy's which in my opinion is even more chaotic than Times Square but I just love the area. If you have an artist block just head down there and you will quickly overcome it.


This black and white photograph was captured on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. Some minor editing was done in PS CS4. Settings for Hipstamatic were BlacKeys B&W/Lucifer IV.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Serenity

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

A Buddha statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
"Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence." Buddha 

From the very first time I've seen this statue I felt enthralled to take a photo of it. I've tried several times only to be disappointed but then I realized that this statue was so beautiful that it takes a master to be able to photograph it up to its standards. So I settled to this one which is much better than the previous ones I've shot.

The light falls beautifully on the statue and it almost makes it feel that it's real. I could not stop staring at it. The shadow that the light is creating behind it looks like wings coming out from the back. It looks exactly that way if you see in real life...the same as you see it in the photograph.

Of all the Buddhas I've seen, for some reason or another I prefer the slim and slender ones. In my opinion they look more serene and graceful. I have nothing against big-boned people, it's just a matter of opinion when it comes to Buddha.

This black and white photograph was captured on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. Some minor editing was done in PS CS4. Settings for Hipstamatic were BlacKeys B&W/Lucifer IV.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Door

Valletta, Malta

Door to the Parliament in Valletta, Malta
"Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be." Albert Einstein

Today I am posting another photograph of my Valletta by Night tour. This photo was shot just opposite the location of my previous photo. 

Today the building is where the Parliament meets but it has a lot of history. It was built by the Knights of St.John and it was their residence. It's simply enormous inside and full of grandeur. The Knights sure did have good taste regarding architecture and location. 

It was recently restored too and it looks nicer than ever. Add the night ambient to it and you have some eye candy. It always baffles me that a building that was built around 1560 is still standing there and has a purpose. I always try to imagine the lush life that those Knights lived back then.

This black and white photograph was captured on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. Some minor editing was done in PS CS4. Settings for Hipstamatic were BlacKeys B&W/Lucifer IV.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Way of Light

Valletta, Malta

Valletta at Night
"Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?" Maurice Freehill
I have always thought that the night is more colorful than the day and I tend to enjoy sightseeing more after the sun sets. Sometimes you can see things that you can't see during the daytime.

This photo was shot in Valletta at the newly refurbished square that's by the Parliament. A few years ago it used to be sitting there in pitch black but now it's really breathtaking to just walk over there at night.

It was one of those moments where I wished I was carrying my professional camera but since I only had my iPhone with me I had to do the best I can with it. The photo is raw, no editing, no light metering...just a simple point and shoot. It was shot using the Hipstamatic app and converted to black and white using the iPhone.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In Dreams

Zabbar, Malta

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

The first impression I got when I see this photograph was 'dreams'. Not the kind we experience while we are awake, but the actual dreams that we experience while we are asleep. The blue border contrasted with the dark background and a lighter sky all for some weird reason or another remind me of a dream.

The church in the photograph can be found in Zabbar. While it's not one of the nicest churches in Malta, I believe there is something around it that makes it all worthwhile to visit. Right in front of the main door (which is the lower middle one in the photograph) there is a street that stretches almost 1km straight down (0.6 miles.) While I have never seen this myself I have heard it several times. If you are standing at the very edge of the street and the main door of the church is open, you can see the altar. The main church door is right in the center of the street and seeing it from a distance is quite impressive.

Even though it slightly resembles (I repeat, slightly) Red Square in Moscow, this church has basically nothing similar to the Kremlin. It's the effects I used on Hipstamatic that are making it look alike.

For this photo I used my iPhone 3G with the Hipstamatic app. Settings were random and I don't really remember what type I used.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas is Gone

Republic Street, Valletta

Republic Street in Valletta Malta with Christmas Decorations
"A Merry Christmas to everybody! A happy new year to all the world!" Charles Dickens
So the season came and gone and so did the decorations. I can't believe take months getting prepared to decorate and then it all goes away in a blink. 

Republic Street is one of my favorite streets in Malta. During the day it's a nightmare with all the people walking but at night especially after midnight it's almost totally empty and it's nice and somewhat romantic to take a stroll, especially during Christmas.

When I was walking, I had no intention to take any photos but I couldn't refuse not snapping one of the street.

This black and white photograph was captured on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. Some minor editing was done in PS CS4. Settings for Hipstamatic were BlacKeys B&W/Lucifer IV.