Storm chasing

Long exposures have fast become one of my go-to genres in photography, and I'm always on a keen lookout for opportunities to shoot some great imagery. I got a heck of a chance three weeks ago, when a storm warning was issued. Around our neck of the woods the weather barely ever goes pear shaped, so I knew I had to make use of the conditions to my advantage. With a rapid change in weather came some great skies, complete with the loveliest of clouds. Great scenes were fast unfolding and a lot was to be had. A few short messages back and forth with some other photographers quickly set the wheels in motion, and the following day we set out in the early hours to capture all we could.
It's fair to say that we got a lot more than we bargained for. With the exception of five images the entirety of my morning was spent shooting long exposures.The moving clouds and the choppy sea made for great scenes along the coast, and I got to create the images precisely how I wanted to. The initial set up with capturing L.E images is always a bit time consuming but once that's out of the way the rest is a breeze. Below are some of the images from yet another morning adventure with a great bunch of people and my Fujifilm XE2.

I almost didn't take this picture.

Look a little closer and you might think I intended to photograph this image. That I spent an absolute age creating it. Actually, this image almost didn't make it. What I mean, is that I almost didn't bother with this image. Here's the back story.

I had spent a long evening with some fellow photographers capturing images along the streets of Muscat but had to hurry back afterwards due to a prior commitment. The others decided to end the day on a high by watching the sunset along the coast and making the most of the spectacle about to unfold. As disappointed as I was that I couldn't make it, there was no turning back. I had agreed to meet a client at a certain time and I wasn't going to get my priorities mixed up, so I jogged hurriedly to the car. Just as I rounded the bend to the car park I noticed the entirety of the area bathed in a massive shadow. Curiosity got the better of me so I glanced behind me, to be met by a large hill. I looked further above and that's when this image was initially created inside my head.
The setting sun was creating some beautiful light that was cast across an equally gorgeous sky and also partly illuminating the hill.
A dilemma ensued in the seconds that followed. Should I get this shot or just leave it for another day. Surely the hill, the fort and the sun weren't going anywhere. I decided I needed the image, and knew that should it be done correctly it would only take a minute. I grabbed my camera from the bag, swapped lenses and exposed for the image. Burst mode ensured I got a few images just in case something went wrong with the initial shot, and I was done. The final image was a fleeting memory. There wasn't any more time to be spent looking through the images. I was in the car and dashing out, just as the last bit of light in the sky began to fade. I got to my meeting on time and didn't get to check the final image till much later that night.When I finally did see it on my screen I was well pleased. What was almost a missed shot ended up being a visual treat. 

Let me know what you think in the comments. Feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome.

The X-perience so far !

February 2014 ended on an insipid note. I shot absolutely nothing the whole month. All this because I was deeply engrossed in making the switch. A little over a year has since gone by. Fourteen months since I ditched the DSLR for good and moved on with mirrorless technology. As a result of this I haven’t looked back. The hype was real, and experiencing it was special. 

Buying into the Fujifilm X-series was a decision that didn't come easy. Given that I was moving into uncharted territory in terms of new technology I needed to analyze and re analyze every morsel of information available till all the boxes were ticked. Now that that’s behind me I can tell you that I’m one, of many happy Fujifilm customers.
The XE2 has been everything and more that I wanted. I'm a sucker for detail and one of the first things that caught my eye was how well it was built. The rangefinder look made it even harder to resist. Retro was back, and back with a bang! The appeal didn't stop there. It grew on. However, it was going to take a lot more than its looks to convince me. I was keen on character, and that, I did find. Lots of it. In fact, heaps and heaps of it. One more final brief encounter was all it took to firmly establish the Fujifilm XE2 as my tool of choice for the future.

With all that’s been said about this camera, there’s also been one more massive game changer. It has completely transformed the way in which I approach photography and entirely enhanced the experience. Prior to owning the Fuji I would only carry my DSLR if I knew I was planning to shoot some images. This approach has since ceased to exist, and I couldn't be happier. The Fuji now goes where I go. I barely feel its presence, but if the opportunity arises I know I have it on me. This to me is photographic freedom. Its form resembles nothing of the DSLR. This camera is small, super light and handles exceptionally well. Try parking a Bentley Mulsanne on a narrow street in central London and you’ll begin to understand what I’m talking about. Sure it’s possible, but soon enough you’d wish you drove a MINI. This camera right here is the MINI I lusted after to get the job done. It's vital in my opinion that a photographer is not restricted while at work, and judging purely by how well form and function coexist I think Fujifilm have hit the nail right on its head.
Excelling in what they do happens to be second nature at Fujifilm HQ. I say this because they’ve also spent time perfecting areas where other camera manufacturers have been seriously lacking. Their attention towards customer service has been above par and as a Fujifilm customer I cannot find the right words to express how thrilled I am. I shot Nikon for the good part of a decade and to be very honest all I got from them was a camera, a lens, a cd and a user manual. The affair between customer and manufacturer began and ended right there, inside the store. In just over year of shooting with a Fujifilm, I've already had four firmware updates via their website. They could have focused only on their newer line of cameras, yet they did the exact opposite. They paid attention and still do to most of their older models, which I think is nothing short of brilliant. Having this type of support only strengthens ties with the brand and firmly establishes a relationship, which is bound to blossom over the years. Another value adding fact is their willingness to listen. Quite often this has not been the case with the others in the industry. Fujifilm have yet again outdone the competition as well as themselves and this is something I and countless others truly appreciate.   
An ongoing debate is that mirrorless tech is yet to challenge the DSLR cameras with regard to certain types of photography. Yes, it’s true that sports photography and certain wildlife imagery may require the precision that the DSLR can produce, yet that’s not what I’m into. I bought into this system because it meets my requirements and I intend to stay with it because it has tremendously changed the way I shoot for the better.  If you’re on the fence, have already made the switch or shot mirrorless for a while, hit me up in the comments. I’d love to hear your opinions and feedback.

The Corniche Instawalk

The Muttrah corniche is a crowd puller. Day or night, you are bound to find a fair number of people walking, running, cycling or just purely soaking in the sights.It’s no doubt, one of the most scenic areas within the city. It’s also a great location to shoot some street photography. With a fine blend between old and new there’re plenty of images to be captured.
Choosing the corniche to host our next Instawalk was therefore quite the no-brainer. The choice also proved more fruitful on the day due to some overnight rain which brought in some spectacular clouds. Right off the bat we shot along the coast. With the streets getting a lot busier we then shifted our focus to the fish market and the pier where the fishermen disembark after a hard morning’s work. In all, it was a morning well spent with some great people, doing one of the things we enjoy the most.   

The images below are some of what I shot on the day with my Fujifilm XE2, and later processed in Lightroom. Enjoy them, let me know your thoughts and keep shooting.  

The new addiction...

I've had the good fortune of photographing quite frequently since my last blog post, and while this is normally a good enough reason to put a smile on my face, this time was different. Something remarkable happened, which left me proper chuffed.

The past few weeks have been all about street photography, a genre quite foreign to me, yet only because I never gave it the time or thought. Shooting images on the street was utterly liberating, in a sense that every moment was an opportunity that couldn't be missed. Another contributing factor to thoroughly enjoying this experience was the dynamic environment. It challenged me to see things differently, and to me that is as important as any other skill a photographer could possess.

If you're a regular on my blog you will know that I tend to gravitate towards landscape imagery, and while that is still my first love this new addiction is fast becoming hard to ignore. Street photography has been the shot in the arm I needed all along and because it now means so much to me I intend to pursue it as often as I can.

Another mention that cannot go amiss is the heaps of feedback on my last post which I received via comments, messages and even a phone call for which I'm eternally grateful. The motivation and support really went up a notch and I'm looking forward to hearing more. If you happen to see more street related imagery on here in the near future, do not fret. It's the same old me, just in a different place, camera in hand and as always, a smile on my face.


About a month ago I got invited by a close friend to join a new group of people on a photo walk. It sounded like the perfect beginning to some new adventures so I hurriedly accepted.
Walk, shoot and share on Instagram seemed to sum up the theme in a nutshell, and that’s precisely what we did. Oh wait, we did converse, have a few laughs and some coffee in between. Nevertheless, it was one heck of a day. It’s always great meeting like-minded people and it's fair to say that I can’t wait for the next time.
Coincidentally the place we choose to take pictures happened to be called ‘The Walk’ at ‘The Wave’ in Muscat. If you haven’t been there yet you most definitely should.  Here’s a few images from a swell day with some really cool folks. A big shout out to all those of you who made it happen and also to Shaina for extending me the invite.

P.S. If you're in Muscat and would like to join us on our next Instawalk feel free to drop me a line. We would love to have you!

18 seconds of calm

Calm is all I seek, and if you can deliver you will be my eternal retreat.

This is what the sea means to me. I'm constantly drawn to it. You may find me at the water’s edge, taking in the views or walking along on the warm wet sand. I long for a steady breeze and the foamy surf. While I could be here forever I intend to capture the mood, the sudden stillness and how it all could be seen as something beautiful. Back behind the camera I go.  

I was inspired to create this image from a previous image I had posted on my Instagram (naushadsaleem) a few weeks ago, which was that of a moody landscape. My intention was to better it, yet also work on my long exposure photography, so with both in mind I gave it a shot. Let me know what you think.

The 'Maru' camera strap !

In the time I've spent capturing images I've gradually developed a gripe with nearly every camera manufacturer with regard to one common thing. Their camera strap! I shot Nikon for a good many years and their straps were average. I've moved on to shooting Fujifilm and the strap that accompanies the XE-2 isn't worth writing home about either. Be it Canon or Leica, the mere fact that great names in this industry are unable to pull this off really bothers me. Let me be honest, my expectations are not very high. All I ask is for something simple yet effective.

The news however is not all that bad, as a handful of artisans out there are going the extra mile in producing some terrific hand made products, including leather straps for cameras. 
Wanting in on this ingenuity I spent countless days going back and forth between a select few products and had finally narrowed it down to a couple, only to be distracted by a random yet vital tweet hours before my purchase. A new contender had emerged, punching well above its weight limit in the process. This begged my attention to the point where I had to read on, only to yield more positives from customers about these creatives and the masterpieces they produced. From there on in giving my money to the guys at 'Maru' was a no-brainer. 

These folk based out of Canada are a real cool bunch. They are super passionate about what they do and treat their customers with nothing but importance and care. Ordering the strap via their website was a breeze, and when I did have a few questions I would be answered to very promptly. They even took the time to send me an image of the completed strap just before it was sent out to be delivered. 

The strap arrived looking cosy, accompanied by a personalised print which I thought was really cool. Breaking open the packaging and holding the strap is something I will always remember. I was blown away and to date still am. Sure it's just a strap, but this is well beyond the ordinary stuff that us photographers have been receiving for years when we buy a camera. This is thing of beauty, crafted to perfection and shown heaps of love. The feel of the leather is beyond awesome and it's super comfy to wear around. They also offer the option of customizing the strap, and to me that totally sealed the deal. Everyone loves something unique and again these guys delivered. I went with the custom latigo strap in red, and couldn't be happier. I'm shooting again in a few hours so I'll leave you with a few images of the strap so you get to see what I'm raving about. Enjoy!