Yet another B&W.
I wish I had more time in this amazing part of Romania !!! Unfortunately it was a bit on the run !!!
I wouldn’t say that I am an atheist as this word and it’s meaning has been often misunderstood and the Christian dogma had often implied trough their use of the word that atheism itself is a religion…and a very bad one. So I say about me that I choose to weigh facts and evidence before choosing to believe in something. I am not an atheist , I am ME! That is all! I have my own thoughts, my rational thinking !
Isn’t god a bit of a dictator or a tyrant? Let’s think about it ..!Generally we associate these two terms with cruelty and oppression, with rulers that have total power. But isn’t god pretty close to this as well? I am guessing he is for he also has total power, he is proven to be cruel and he is not hiding it (sending people to hell, killing all but Noe etc), you have 10 rules you have to strictly abide by that you are not allowed to question, you are also not allowed to question his leadership and you have to take his word for everything else, you are encouraged not to think for if you try, you can not help it but question his rule and therefore his cruelty will come into play. You have to always pay him for nothing, just because he asks. He generally rules by fear, the fear of what will happen if you don’t listen and strictly follow his set of laws. So I am guessing that god might just be the longest ruling Tyrant ever, he’s got the World Record for sure…!
So I choose freedom and all the advantages that come along with it. I choose to enjoy life and it’s “sinful” pleasures. I want to think and have my own opinions. I believe and have faith in me as I start to slowly lose my faith in human kind. I have nothing against religious people as long as they have nothing against me, I don’t hate them, despise them or judge them . For me religion is arguably “The Greatest Story ever told…” and nothing more.
“Know you what it is to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of to-day. It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul.”
Out there in the country, this is the fastest, not always the most reliable (actually a bit like Fox News at times with the small differences that these grannies are not misinforming always in a deliberate manner) and definitely one of the best way to keep yourself up to date with the local breaking news. In a small village were the newspapers get at least a week after the publishing date, and in most of the houses they watch some sadly entertaining tv channel, it is really worth taking a walk with this sweet old ladies just to find out about the village priest and his mistress or about the neighbor’s daughter and the mayor’s son, or even about the new candidate in the coming elections for the Mayor’s seat.
It was an amazing experience meeting again with the simple people living out there, in the country, peasants working the land, doing what they do for generations and just moving on with their life. Exploited by the political class, used by the system, forgotten by the society and yet their strive in their small simple world and , through all the every day labor and sufferings, pains and grievances, they have the kindness and the power to smile and stop for even just a moment of their precious time to welcome you into their world .
And I mean that literally …Roads to Nowhere…!!! Yesterday I spent my whole day in the middle of nowhere and these were a few of the roads going there…!!! Small little villages looking almost forgotten by the rest of the world were even the mobile signal is so scarce that I had to go up on the highest hill in the area to use my 21st century technology. I had even bought the only one bottle of water available in the local shop. So…yes….they were just Roads to nowhere…!!!
Smoke is always fun to shoot !!! … I’ve been having some horrible headaches for the past couple of days and couldn’t really go out plus the weather has been pretty bad also…
So once again I thought of doing some smoke photography in my little makeshift studio which consists of a dining table, some black cloth for the background and one flash…
“And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected”
At the beginning of 2011 I started working on a project to support a campaign initiated on the local web media and forums against the inhuman conditions exiting at that time in some of the biggest pet shops in Doha, Qatar. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to finish it as I left the country . As per what information i managed to gather after that, it seems that the local authorities did a very good job addressing the issue and there have been radical improvements . I can just hope they continue … I inserted in this post just a very few of the images I have managed to capture for the project)
Doha, Qatar. One of the fastest growing cities in the world. I’ve lived there for almost 9 years and definitely fell in love with the place. When I first arrived there, in May 2002, they were just a couple of buildings that could be seen on the skyline . The rate that this city, and the whole country, developed at was fantastic. It is true that the oil and natural liquefied gas money had a lot to do with it, but that doesn’t take anything away from the ambition of Qatari people to build one of the most successful and modern cities in the world. With a population of little over 1.5 million from which just about 20 % are Qataris, this little country managed to accept and assimilate all the cultures of the others that found a home there (more than 80 other nationalities…some say even more than 120..) and still keep untouched their identity as a nation.
They have the perfect blend of a multitude of nationalities with all they have to bring, the local culture and tradition and the 21st century lifestyle.
I had a chance to take these photos while on a trip in Sri Lanka at the Kandy Royal Botanical Gardens. These amazing flowers always seem to fascinate with their luxurious beauty.
Orchid family is one of the two largest families of flowering plants, with more than 26000 currently accepted species. The number of orchid species equals more than twice the number of birds species and about four times the number of mammal species. For some reason , before finding all these facts, I had the impression that orchids were rare tropical amazingly beautiful flowers. It turns out that , while the highest concentration of orchid varieties is found at the tropics, they are also found in Europe and temperate Asia, North America and even colder climates like above the Arctic Circle in Southern Patagonia and close to Antarctica on Macquarie Island.
The name Orchid comes from the Greek “orkhis” that literally means “testicles”, because of the shape of the root . Carl Linnaeus , a Swedish botanist, physicist and zoologist , categorized the family as Orchidaceae . The term Ochid was introduced by an English botanist called John Lindley trough an incorrect attempt to extract the Latin stem (orchis) from Orchidaceae.
In Greek mythology , the origin of the plant is explained by the myth of Orchis. He, the son of a nymph and a satyr, came upon a festival of Dionysios (Bacchus) in the forest. He drank too much, and attempted to rape a priestess of Dionysios. For his insult, he was torn apart by the Bacchanalians. His father prayed for him to be restored, but the gods instead changed him into a flower.
The orchid flower has a wide variety of meanings like Love, Beauty, Refinement, Beautiful Lady, Thoughtful, Maturity, Charm . In Chinese culture, the orchid symbolizes nobleness and tenacity of character. and it is considered to be one of the “The Four Noble Ones” (in Chinese art it refers to four plants : the orchid, the bamboo, the chrysanthemum and the plum blossom ). Confucius is believed to have developed a special love for the orchid. He thought of the orchid as a flower of noble character , as he wrote in “Confucius’ Family Dialogue” that “The orchids grow in the woods and they let out their fragrance even if there is no one around to appreciate it. Likewise, men of noble character will not let poverty deter their will to be guided by high principles and morals”.
I was surprised to find out that we use the dried seed pods of one orchid genus in our everyday life and we, or at least I didn’t had a clue. That is also one of the most common flavors we use in baking. I am talking about Vanilla . Yes…Vanilla comes from an orchid…!!!
There is much more to write about these amazingly beautiful flowers, but I will stop here to avoid this post from being way too long and boring .
I had never owned a top of the range telephoto lens , so I had to use my kit Sony 75-300mm f4.5-5.6 SAL. Those familiar with Sony gear know very well that it is a very modest piece of glass. But is was all I had. When I took this shot, I had just bought my Sony A550 as an update to my Sony A200 and I was pretty excited to test it out. It was a late afternoon when I decided to head out in the hot desert of Qatar to start shooting with my new camera. Waiting for the sun to set…I started shooting around , small insects , high voltage power lines , tiny plants and all other’s you can find in a rocky , boiling hot and thirsty piece of land. While taking a small brake for a bit of hydration and a smoke, just looked up at the crystal clear sky and enjoyed the sights of a beautiful early moon. I put the camera on my tripod, focused on it and started playing around with the settings to try to get the best possible exposure. After few shots it was obvious to me that my 75-300mm just won’t cut it. My moon was tiny. And then I just remembered that when I was doing some research on the camera I just bought, one of the things that attracted me to it was that it has a 2x digital converter or , maybe better called, a 2x digital zoom that does a pretty good job and doesn’t take much from the quality of the image. After maybe a dozen shots with my Sony A550, the 2x digital zoom, a 75-300 kit lens and in bright daylight, I got this shot. If my memory serves me right (as at the time i was shooting almost all the time in JPEG…), the shutter speed was at 1/4000 and the f stops about 20 or 22.
"Chimping" is a 23-minute film by Dan Perez de la Garza, who documents nine modern photojournalists including Pulitzer Prize winners Preston Gannaway and Rick Loomis, Emmy Award winner Paula Lerner. Other photographers featured in the film include Todd Maisel, Chris Usher, Angela Rowlings, Edward Greenberg, Stan Wolfson, and Rita Reed. The film is an intimate portrayal of daily struggles of modern-day photojournalists.
I wanted to write something smart to go with these images, maybe something optimistic but just couldn’t think very clear….maybe it is because of the diet I am on at the moment trying desperately to loose some of the annoying excess weight that thought it was very funny to deposit its self around my waist . Unfortunately I also don’t know the names of these flowers.
I can just hope the photos are pleasing to the eye and soul and you will enjoy them.
For quite a while I was a bit “afraid” of HDR photography. Maybe because I was just at my beginnings in photography and I couldn’t quite understand it and also because I could see a lot of photographers just overdoing it and the resulting images looked rather artificial.
Browsing the net one day, looking for all sorts of photo tips and tutorials, I stumbled upon some beautiful HDR images created by an amazing photographer called Philipp Klinger. My interest being awakened ,I slowly discovered that this is a very old concept in photography dating back to 1850 when Gustave Le Gray ,also called “the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century”, pioneered the idea of using several images shot at different exposures to fix a too-extreme range of luminance.
High dynamic range imaging original developing is attributed thou to Charles Wyckoff who’s detailed pictures of nuclear explosions were published on the cover of Life magazine in the mid 1950s.
In time the desirability of HDR has been recognized but it wasn’t until the introduction of digital photography , the rising popularity of digital cameras as well as the increase in computing power, development of photo editing software and other technological advances that high dynamic range imaging really took off.
The photos in this post are two of my high dynamic range images that I worked on when I found my interest for this technique and I was trying to learn and understand it. Even thou I did got carried away and “over-HDRed” them I still love them as working on these two images made me comprehend and appreciate the entire set of techniques that goes into HDR creation .
It is the beginning of March and we are still stuck in winter here. It is wired for this time of the year to not see any of the beautiful spring flowers. It seems that weather changed, winter starts later and finishes later. I was told it is the global warming phenomena. I did some reading about this global warming …and it just doesn’t seem to be that. It just looks like every year the seasons just shift a bit. They still last more or less three months each , they just don’t start anymore when they used to. I observed that every few years, seasons seem to be starting a bit later and finish later . My own observations make me a bit reticent to the entire global warming theory. And the fact that it kick started a billions dollars business like Emissions Trading (that didn’t proved to be particularly useful other than make millions for some organizations ) doesn’t help in making me a believer. That doesn’t mean that I am not against pollution.
Anyway , I diverted a bit to a subject I am not very familiar with…!!!
About the photos…I took a short trip today with my best friend and I had the chance to take some landscape photos. The weather was not as good as I wished for . I was hoping to see a bit of the long awaited spring out there in the country, but it seems that winter doesn’t want to leave just yet. Nevertheless the scenery was still breathtaking.
In this post are a few of the images. I hope you enjoy them…!!!
Have you even wondered what is the biggest number you will hear in your lifetime? Most people probably hear only about billions or , during the recent economic crisis, trillions as being the financial deficit of some country that spent way more then probably ever should. Theoretically it is possible to count to one billion, but humanly it is impossible for if you start counting today and you average a number a second, it will take you about 31 years, 251days, 7 hours, 46 minutes and 39 seconds to get to that one billion. So now imagine a trillion ?
Did it ever crossed your mind to think of a number bigger than the number of atoms forming your body, or even bigger than the visible universe? I admit that I never thought of such a number. It is way too much . Maybe if I would of been a mathematician…???!!! There actually is such a number and is 10 at the power of 100 or 1 followed by 100 zeros and it is called a GOOGOL…!!! Yes…this number was actually at the base of the name for the internet giant GOOGLE. But this is just the beginning of me trying to twist and puzzle your mind.
There is an even bigger number used in mathematics. A number so big that if you ever want to write it in standard form it would require more space than the known universe provides. And the time which would be required to write such a number will be more that the age of the universe.It is challenging for anyone’s imagination but this number exists and it is called a GOOGOLPLEX and it is 10 at the power of 10 at the power of 100 .
But I am not finished here because there is more. Probably the biggest number that is known today it is a number for which mathematicians know only its last ten digits. Nobody knows the first countless digits of this number and yet it is the biggest number ever used in a serious mathematical proof. In 1980 was even introduced in the Guiness Book of World Records. This number is called Graham’s Number and it is so big that if you can imagine a googolplex number as one digit of another googolplex number at the power of googolplex you would still not account for even one digit of the Graham’s Number. It is a bit too much for our imaginations , isn’t it? I know it is for mine. But it is interesting nevertheless.
Going trough all these numbers and forcing and stretching my imagination to try to understand them helped me see why some people can find beauty in mathematics. Galileo Galilei said that the universe has one language and that is Mathematical language. We apply mathematics every single day in everything we do for everything can be defined by mathematics. We use mathematics in visual arts like film and photography, plastic arts etc. There is even a mathematical equation for beauty called The Golden Ratio. Maybe mathematics is what is needed to understand everything !?
Artificial Intelligence was for a long time the subject of trilling books and exciting movies. Entertainment industry has stretched and pushed the boundaries of our imagination to almost inconceivable extends. Science has moved on in getting closer than ever to making a reality of it all. We are already building intelligent machines, capable of recognizing patterns, objects, capable of adapting to a certain given situation and probably the most important thing, capable of learning and self improving. Human like characteristics that today’s science has managed to build robots with are mind blowing. The scientists at HONDA have spend 20 years of continuous research to finally be able to build a robot with human like walk and body movement. There is even a organic computer chip were the silicon is replaced by organic molecules which brings almost limitless possibilities of what a computer can do because of the complexity of connections possible between organic molecules. So we are closer than ever to machines starting to challenge our intelligence. The more machines will become more organic, the possibility of these machines to one day be able to autonomously learn, adapt and take rational decisions becomes more real.
Human intelligence is on the verge of getting and artificial burst as well. Already surgeons are implanting, with the help of microcomputers, electrodes in the human brain to stimulate damaged or under performing areas. This technology is widely used today in Parkinson disease, Severe Epilepsy and even chronic depression. There are studies made in using electrodes implants to stimulate our learning capabilities. Also there have been an immense amount of research into the creation of memory chips to be implanted to help people that had brain damage and can not create new memories. There is research done in creating a micro chip much like an image sensor in a video camera to be able to repair damaged eyes sight. The science fiction of yesterday it is become a reality. So probably, sometime soon, we will be able to replace body parts with reliable and unnoticeable artificial parts.
This raises some very interesting and profound questions. How much of us we can “robotize” before loosing our sense of being humans? Where we have to stop to be able to draw the line between humans and machines? Or were to draw the line to not be overtaken by machines much more intelligent than us, capable of faster, better and more precise thinking and decision making, constantly improving at an extremely high speed?
While I do not have an answer to these question, I can only imagine were we are heading if we will not get these answers in time. Maybe we are heading to a world were humans are becoming more robotic and robots more organic, were the machines will be assimilate into the society and we wouldn’t be able to call us humans but rather humanoids. A world were organic will not be the main ingredient but rather a spare part. And that is a bit of my most optimistic scenario.
What I fear is that the science fiction of today will become tomorrow’s reality were we will replace us with machines, capable of learning a thousand times faster, evolving at extraordinary speed and the colonialism of the 15th to 19th century will be paled significantly by a new one were the division between the classes will be based on techno-have and techno-have not, were the ones left humans would be merely pets or pests as we treat today other species.
Now that sounds almost illogical, unthinkable and crazy but the truth is that with the technological and scientific boom of today’s world, this becomes more real every single day.
And our solutions and choices are in the answers to those questions.