For years I had Lensbaby sitting in my wish list. The reason it didn’t actually make it to the shopping cart because I was not sure if I needed it (Had other priorities!). I also had some concerns if it was practical and easy to handle. Though I’m a travel documentary photographer but I do take small photography “weekend” assignments from time to time to fund my trips. Lately I started doing more of family portraits and new born photography. One day during a baby photo-shoot I just couldn’t get the camera to focus on the close-up shot I had in mind. That moment I decided to actually buy the Lensbaby. Immediately I researched online prices then I started checking for offers at local stores. I found a good offer from Yaqoubi store in Seef Mall. The sales lady was good; she answered all of my questions. She also walked me through the whole process of installing the lens and playing with the different kit accessories. I wanted to buy the Lensbaby sweet 35 optic only but I ended up taking it with the whole accessories kit for a bargain!
Luckily I had some gorgeous roses to test the lens. I used VSCO presets for Lightroom to process the photos.
My new iPhone wallpaper
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I listened to the audiobook (great decision) and I felt a bit disappointed and a lot confused. The book has way too many characters, listening to ALL of their stories was unnecessary. I liked how the narration is done by Khalid and 2 others (a woman and a man). I also liked the accent of the narrators (Afghani, French, etc) changed based on characters. I would have preferred if Khalid would have cut down some of the characters and focused on the main ones. I couldn’t connect with the characters because they were going and coming in chapters! The only parts that I really connected with were Pari and Abdulla’s childhood and Nila Wahdati’s days in Kabul.
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Following a self-assigned mission to find the best brunch spots in Bahrain. We (Reem & I) visited Roche Café located in Adliya (The road in front of Siraj cafeteria).
I pinned the location to google maps for easy reference
Earlier this month I was invited by Qatar Tourism Authority to Doha on the occasion of Doha Summer festival. It was a great opportunity to visit Doha and get to know the great projects underway. We visited Qatar Pearl, Katara, Souq Waqf, Qatar Foundation and the Museum of Islamic Art.
Qatar has gone through a great transformation to improve their infrastructure for the world cup 2022. I was impressed how they have done so much in such a short period of time and still work on many projects.
The highlight of the trip is visiting Souq Waqf and chatting with the old men. I also loved Katara and I would love to visit it again especially in winter.
The Food was amazing and the people were really nice. We went to great restaurants like Burj AlHamam, L’wazar and Shebestan.
Here are some of my iPhone shots from the trip.
I’ve started a mission. A very important mission. To find the best brunch spots in Bahrain!
Though we have many options in town but I always end up going to the same usual cafe for brunch. I thought of making a list to try out new or existing cafes that serve brunch. My good friend Reem Tawfiqi is helping me in this mission.
Our first destination was Chai Cafe located in Sanabis infront of Bahrain mall (Geant). I found the location easily and parking was ample.
Last year I decided to learn how to use artificial light. By the end of the year I wanted to play with more light not just any light.. it was guerrilla light!
From a complete n00b I learned the basic functions of using a flash off the camera with the one and only David Hobby. From there I was extremely happy that at least I knew how to operate a speedlite!
I wanted to take it further and learn other techniques manipulating light so I took a workshop with Louis Pang. It was the first time in my life dealing with models, being totally in charge of directing the model and setting up the lights. Confusion, lots of blank moments but a lot of fun.
I shot these photos last year and I also retouched them a bit also last year. My style has changed since then as it was just an experiment. I’m still experimenting with lights but now I know that I like. I’m more into subtle sweet light that almost look like ambient. Glamour photography isn’t made for me (At least that’s what I think at this moment!).
Love them or hate them here comes the guerrilla light experiments!
After the workshop I did more experiments with my friend Reem Tawfiqi at bab al Bahrain. She continues to be my favorite model of all time!
The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great by Steven Simon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the best investment you can make as a photographer whether you just bought your first camera or you are already on your way to becoming a full time photographer. I was lucky enough to attend Steve Simon’s the passionate photographer workshop in Dubai and reading this book I could relate to Steve’s stories and advices. The book is written in a very clear language (no complicated stuff here!). Steve walks the readers through the 10 steps to becoming a great photographer. It just makes sense to follow those 10 steps as an exercise to develop your style. I made so many notes and I intend to read this book again when I feel uninspired and be back on track!
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Last June I was honored to be part of CanvasBH first photography exhibition “Memories Recreated” at AlRiwaq Art Space. Though I was travelling at the time and couldn’t attend the opening I managed to visit at the last day of the exhibition.
I participated with two photographs that I took at Balata refugee camp in Nablus Palestine.
This was my second participation at a photography exhibition this year after displaying my Sleeper Class series at “Inside India” photography exhibition in January.
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Snow by Orhan Pamuk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed reading this action filled novel about the unknown town of Kars and the people conflicts on religion extremism, atheism and the fight for power. Among all of those issues this novel also talks about love. I really like the way Orhan Pamuk writes so smoothly but in this novel I didn’t like how the authors made himself a character at the novel it was a bit confusing at times. The main character “Ka” not only is his name/nickname annoying but he is also annoyingly weak I just dislike such characters where a man acts like a child at the first sign of rejection, he also seems to admire and almost fall for every female character at the novel so what was that about! Overall I enjoyed reading it and I would recommend it.
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As you might already know that I was part of Nat Geo Abu Dhabi reality TV competition “I’m a Nat Geo photographer”. The show aired in May 2014. Emilie Houwat won the first place (I left at the semifinals and came forth).
Emilie’s work is being displayed at a photography exhibition in Gulf Photo Plus. The exhibition will run till 9th September. Emilie is also showing some of her other personal work from previous trips to Nepal, Bosnia and her home town Beirut.