Posts tagged ‘cityscape’
This is my first time to see The New Dubai and Burj Khalifa, and as we are meeting Keith’s daughter and her new baby the next day, I thought I’d better to get it off my chest to photograph Burj Khalifa and it’s singing fountain that only happens in the evening. I asked a shop keeper of a souvenir shop in Dubai Mall when will the Singing Fountain start and he said “It won’t start before 6.30 pm and it will only show every 30 minutes.
As a good photography enthusiast, I learned that:
- Do a reconnoiter how to get to the location of where I would shoot the picture later on and how to get there.
- A nicer picture should be taken during the magic hour, or around sunset; and sunset was supposed to be around 6.02 pm and twilight should be at 7.01 pm.
- Come early and prepare my photography gear for action.
Thus I decided to arrive between 5.30 to 6 o’clock, so that still plenty of time for me as well as I won’t keep my husband waiting too long… the thing that he has to put up with – waiting for me photographing nonsense. However, I did not expect is this:
There’s no way to find a space for me to set up my tripod and take pictures over those heads and arms with cameras. I wonder where are all these people are coming from? If they are residents, how often do they take pictures of this as the singing fountain happens everyday? If they are tourists like me, I salute Dubai for it’s ability to attract tourism so much.
Another hick-up I had was as I was using my new camera, which is a Nikon D600, a full frame camera but able to mount a DX lens. What I didn’t quite understand was how to look for the framed picture through the view finder, thus this is the result:
I realized then that the location I chose to take the picture was too close to the object and too low. I needed to be further away from the object like this:
What do you think???
I also uploaded some picture on Nin’s Lenscape - my photography blog
It was 2 years a go that we visited Damascus for a guided tour across Syria (read: The Old City of Damascus). But as we arrived in 2 days ahead of the tour, we managed to see Damascus with our own perception, and this was the best bit, we were picked up by a friend of a friend, who is a local. He owned the only musical shop in the Souq al-Hamadiyya – yes, they were having tea in front of his music shop.
What I liked about the Old City were the alleyways, different on every corner; with it’s own specialty at every turn of the street. Souq al-Hamadiyya for instance, is a broad street and very popular with the locals; it sells anything and everything really, from cheap Chinese products, to local handicraft for interior decor. This is also serves as the popular gate towards the old city, at the end of the Souq, before the great Umayyad Mosque – I will explain more about this mosque next week – stands Temple of Jupiter.
Temple of Jupiter is special because it was built by the Romans, at the beginning of the rule of Augustus (Roman Emperor) and completed during the rule of Constatius. It was during this time that Damascus was famous as the city of Jupiter.
What we see in the picture is only part of it, some other parts can be seen as part of the Umayyad Mosque. Like the Old City which has been through different periods of human history, so was this Temple and Mosque. The question is whether it will survive the latest turmoil?
As we moved on from this area, there was this very popular cafe shop, where the locals and the tourists mingle. It didn’t serve food, only coffee or tea, if we wanted food, than we needed to order some where else. Regardless of this, the Damascene think this is the ‘in place’, where you could see people and be seen. Again, I wonder whether this place is still popular now, or even still exists?
Further on from this place, things get more interesting, as to me, this is where the real atmosphere started. The streets widen and narrow with an infinite variation, from a chaotic communal road to an order of small palace.
The Old City is divided into four distinct quarters that roughly align with the fame of the seven gates around the Old City. Souq Al-Hamadiyya is the vibrant and commercial district of the Old City. Bab Sharqi was the gate towards the Christian Quarter , where we found the House of Ananias, the Roman Arch and St. Paul’s Chapel. Bab Salam is the entrance gate if you want to go to Shia’s Mosque of Sayyida Ruqqaya, the most impressively ornate mosque I’ve ever seen. Bab Musala is a gate for the Jewish Quarter, and home to the cities artisan community.
Inside these quarters dotted around are historic places, schools, Hamam, interesting places and palaces turned into museums, like Khan As’ad Pasha, turned into a private museum.
That was a really exciting experience that I wish a could return and visit all those places that I missed last time….
If you are interested in my other posts about Syria, check out: I’ve been to SYRIA
When we arrived in Budapest, I was not impressed at all by the cityscape. The arrival terminal was a bit old, even though the taxi driver who was in charge of picking us up at the airport was super friendly, and was very eager to show us a glimpse of Budapest, he could not convince me that Budapest is a pretty city. I was hoping that the ‘old and tired’ image of the city was only at the parking lot of the airport and the road from the airport toward the city.
As we drove along toward the city center, the buildings get denser. Our taxi driver kept on explaining about various building along the street. as he tried to help us understand a bit of the city as well as giving us some tips of surviving in Hungary. And to make the conversation more interesting, he also told us a bit of himself; really very nice man.
As my husband was listening to our driver politely, I tried to memorize quietly every little thing that our taxi driver explained to us along the way, in case we needed to comeback to see something interesting outside our holiday package.
Learning about the history of Budapest, which was arose out of two Bulgarian military frontier fortresses Buda and Pest: situated on the two banks of Danube. Buda and Pest started their development in the 12th century, however, both towns were devastated during the Mongol invasion of Europe in 1241-42; hmm… no wonder the city looks old, it’s been thru a long history. But hey, so have other European cities.
Carrying on with the history: Buda and Pest remain two totally different cities and reached their heyday in the 14th century, when the Angevin kings from France established Buda as the royal seat of centralized power. However, it was Pest becoming the cultural and economic centre of the country. The first National Theatre is built, along with the Hungarian National Museum, all that was in the 19th century.
Through out all Budapest and Hungarian history since the first settlement of the Hungarian tribe in 10th century until the 20th century, the Hungarians lost most of their wars. From the Tatar(Mongolian) invasion that destroyed both town in the 11th century and then later the Turks’ Ottomans, to the post WW II era. And believe it or not those scares from the wars especially WWII, are reflected in the city architecture.
Unlike Paris who try to isolate modern expression of architecture in one of it’s suburb, Budapest shows all periods of Architecture era all over the city, and maybe this is why I was not able to see Budapest as representative of a certain era. Looking back at it’s history and seeing how it looks now, maybe I needed to see the city from a different angle. Budapest represents a blend of Old and New Architecture, it has Roman’s Amphitheaters, Gothic Style cathedral, as well as Traditional Turkish Bath as the heritage of the Ottoman occupation. The history of the city represented in the facade of the city’s architecture. Maybe that’s it, Budapest cityscape is Eclectic style; we just have to wait for the modern and high rise buildings being built, to complete the city as an architectural haven.
Our visit to Budapest was to co-inside with the celebration of the Hungarian National Day, a commemoration of the start of Hungarian Revolution on 23 October 1956, the people’s power against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policy. Despite the failure of the uprising, this actually played a role in the downfall of the Soviet Union decades later (more info in Wikipedia).
Statue of Imre Nagy, the Prime Minister who turned hero of the uprising, was immortalized with this statue and remembered each year together with a unique Hungarian flag they fly every year during this period, including on the one they show on the Parliament House:
I thought there’s a symbol in the middle of the white bit of the Hungarian Flag, but it’s not. It’s a HOLE! Yes, there is a whole in the middle of the flag, and that is also related to the revolution in 1956, as a symbol of the anti soviet uprising of 1956, where the people cut out the Stalinist emblem and use the tricolour with a hole in the middle as a symbol (and now to commemorate) of the revolution.
OK, the facade my look eclectic, and some area are neglected, but Budapest tries hard, and it shows on so many buildings are under refurbishment period. And in terms of Interior Design, I think it retains it’s reputation as Central Europe’s capital of design. There are many nice and modern designs of galleries, cafes and restaurants with interesting modern touches:
The city of Casablanca was romanticised by the movie Casablanca. However, today, apart form being Morocco’s economic capital, Casablanca doesn’t offer much to the tourist.
The only tourist attraction in Casablanca is the Hassan II Grand Mosque, which is the biggest mosque outside the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Regardless of all that, Casablanca was my first introduction to Morocco. I was very impressed, for a developing country Morocco is doing very well. We stayed for the night in the area near the port where a lot of infrastructure works are going on. According to my guide, Casablanca is now building a tramway system across the city, just to improve public transportation.
The most interesting place in Casablanca for me is the Corniche. Like many Arab cities that are located by the sea, they all have a Corniche. However, unlike the Corniche in Doha, which is very beautiful overlooking Westbay, Casablanca’s Corniche has no such view, but it has atmosphere and one can sit there for ever just ‘people spotting’ and enjoy the sun (provided it’s not in summer).
To me it’s more like Bondi Beach in Sydney, where all restaurants, bars and clubs are, and across the street is where the people doing their people watching, and being watched.
More interesting picture of Casablanca on my Facebook Page
Exactly five years ago today, I started my new job in the Middle East. I landed in Doha just the night before. At that time I was excited to work in Doha, not only because the new job or because the salary they offered me, but as I wrote earlier in my blog: it is because of the adventure! It is the idea and the opportunity to see the transformation of Doha.
My big boss, Peter was kind enough to give me an introduction tour around the City. Well, it was not rally “around” the city, but just enough to give me some ideas of landmark of the city. With my little baby camera with capacity only 3 MB, I snapped-happy on places where ever I found it interesting.
Five years later, I did the same trip, and Read more…