Weekly A-Z Archive: C for Camel

Though what on earth a camel of all animals is doing in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is beyond me.

A bit closer to their natural home.. I can’t help wondering if this pair eventually made themselves famous in the Cairo uprisings.

Nikon D80, f11, 1/500s

Finally, this photo makes me chuckle. A friend and I got the obligatory tourist’s camel ride across Giza for a view of the pyramids. The friend has a wariness for camels. I was beginning to doubt we would go for the ride at all, which I am not terribly attached to myself. The camel handlers try to convince us it is perfectly safe and that the camels will not bite. Nothing, though, prepared us for the sight of who our guide would be and the expression on my travel companion’s face when she saw.

Nikon D80, f13, 1/640s

Other participants in this challenge,

Led by frizztext:
http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/a-z-archive-c-challenge/
http://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/a-z-archive-c-challenge/
http://2e0mca.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/a-z-archive-c-challenge/
http://creativityaroused.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/c-challenge-cat-empress/
http://abcnellibell49.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/c-is-for-completed/

Weekly A-Z Archive: B for Boys

Background: With the new year, Daily Post, the 2011 source of weekly photo topics, was slow in producing a topic on the first Friday. Fellow blogger frizztext stepped up to the plate and offered to lead a weekly photo challenge, to find a photo from our archives, choose one based on the alphabet, each letter for each week. Daily Post eventually produced a topic. But that point, a group of us have been inspired by frizztext to continue on the alphabet challenge.

b, for boys. Taken in Sinai, Egypt. I had been celebrating a milestone birthday with a climb up Mount Katherine, Egypt’s highest peak. The final leg of the descent, my guide and I stopped at a local Bedouin camp where a family was gathered. Despite being a lone Westernised woman walking into the home of a conservative culture, they welcomed me with open arms, a welcome pot of sweet tea, and a photogenic pair of boys, cousins. I showed the boys how my cameras worked and they lit up to see their faces on the playback screen. They tumbled and wrestled but frequently glancing up to make sure I was still photographing them.

Nikon D80, f6.3, 1/160s

Post responses from other bloggers on this challenge:

http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/a-z-archive-b-challenge/
http://jullianeford.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/a-z-archive-b-challenge-beach/
http://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/a-z-archive-challenge-b/
http://2e0mca.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/a-z-archive-b-challenge/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunset

A favourite topic of mine!!

Not my best sunset photo by a long stretch but brings wonderful memories. We heard the Muslim call to prayer in the middle of Cairo, with the chant sounding off like dominoes around us while the sun started to set.

This photo mystifies me… I don’t have the experience or skill to know how I managed to be lucky enough to capture the sun with such clarity and definition.

Nikon D80, 1/500s, f5.6

 

I also offer you a second photo of the same sunset, with a different camera. To me, this shows how powerful the point-and-shoot cameras have become.

Canon PowerShot SD900 point & shoot

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Nikon D80, f 5.6, 1/125, 35mm

Taken at the reconstructed Temple of Philae in Aswan, Egypt. The original one was on sinking island so the Government of Egypt succeeded in a huge undertaking of rebuilding the temple on a different island.

I’m fond of two things to photograph. Pillars and sunsets. Pillars always create an array of different lines for my composition. I’ve noticed I have the tendency to take my pictures a little crooked, a habit I’m trying very hard to fix, now that I am aware of it.

Prayer call

Ever heard the adhān (أَذَان‎) before? The Islamic call to prayer that is broadcasted over loudspeakers from mosques just before prayer time. By that point, most of the devout are already in their mosques, ready for prayer.

I first heard it over the airport PA systems. Grainy, shrill, and wailing, it was disconcerting to one who has never heard it before and wasn’t expecting it.

As we sat at Al Azhar Park in Cairo, with 360 panoramic view of the city skyline at sunset, hearing the adhan brought on a completely different reaction. It sounded like the first call started from the Citadel and had a cascade effect as the neighboring mosques sounded off their calls. I could literally follow the call start from one side of the city to the other.

Whether the meuzzins are actually calling it out live or it’s a recording, I don’t know. Probably a combination of both. The chant reverberated off the narrow street alleys and up into the sky. I was struck, then, staring at the blazing sunset how beautiful and melodious the call was. The off-timed calls merely made it sound like a chorus.

To hear the chant sung and realize it is pretty close to its original form from 1400 years ago is awe-inspiring. And goose bump raising. It is, quite simply, beautiful.

Allahu Akbar1
Allahu Akbar
Allahu Akbar
Allahu Akbar
Ashhadu anna la ilah ill’-Allah2
Ashhadu anna la ilah ill’-Allah
Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul Allah
3
Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul Allah
Hayyah ála ‘l-salah4
Hayyah ála ‘l-salah
Allahu Akbar5
Allahu Akbar
La ilah illÁllah
6

1(Allah is the most great)
2(I testify there is no god besides Allah)
3 (I testify Mohammed is the apostle of Allah)
4
(Come to prayer)
5(Come to salvation)
6(There is no god besides Allah)

Author’s postscript: I belatedly source the translation to the Footprint guidebook to Egypt. Thank you, Footprint, for providing a wonderful source of information for what ended up being a phenomenal vacation.

My 2010 Year in Review

In summary: 

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Many of you may recognize this. It is a public version of the slideshow I post on Facebook at the end of every year. I hope you readers enjoy this as much as my family and friends do. I may continue this as an annual post.

Happy New Year. I hope your 2010 has been as wonderful as mine.