Blog Photos

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Glass Inferno...

Faqra, Lebanon - July 2010
There's something mesmerizing about glassware photography. I find wine glasses to be a beautiful object to photograph, especially in a dark environment.

This unedited picture was taken on a beautiful windy night in Faqra, Lebanon; a half-empty, half-full glass of wine, backlit by a raging barbecue fire. With the aperture wide-open, a slow shutter speed of some 2 odd seconds allows the wind-stricken flames to merge together in an apparent explosion, and leaves the core of the fire appropriately overexposed. It could be criticized for hand shaking during the exposure, inevitable at these slow speeds, which is evident from the smeared contours of the glass and reflections.  Sure, a tripod would have made this a better picture,strictly technically speaking, but as I've learned, it is photographic imperfections such as this one that so often seem to add a little something to a photograph. Something raw and unexpected, something beautiful. In this case, a nice snapshot of the way I was seeing that night after the few watered down glasses of wine that preceded this one...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is it just me, or...

Well it is obvious that everything in this country is getting more and more expensive by the day. Restaurants, Pubs, Night Clubs, Beach Resorts, nothing is spared from exorbitant prices rising at exorbitant rates. But what's been pissing me off lately is that as this happens there seems to be a concomitant slow but steady decline in the quality of all services provided! Here are a few things off the top of my head:

- The beiteddine festival: Have you ever bought a soggy, hyper-salted, minuscule Saj man'oushe for 7,000 LBP [~5 USD]? if you haven't, please take a long drive to Beiteddine and do so at the entrance, where the monopoly of saj has blown the prices right off the chart. And whether you like it or not, and no matter what you order, you are getting the "Amira" specialty man'oushe because the lady who makes them will MAKE you. just go there and you'll know what I'm talking about.

- Beach resorts: Jiyyeh and Jbeil alike, the amount that a nice enjoyable day at the beach will set you back is sizable! 20-30 $ entrance fee, 15-20 $ for a quick bite at their restaurants managed by some of the most incompetent people on the planet, you're talking at least 40 $ for some sun! More if you feel dehydrated and feel like getting a cold drink. Sun beds line the pools in almost all resorts and renting one will set you back another 20-30 $. Oh and did I mention the "bouncers" at the entrances? apparently they're concerned about the male:female ratio and won't let single or groups of men in... PLEASE! It's a !@#$ing beach resort!

- Restaurants: How much profit do you want to make? selling a 500 LBP bottle of w ater for 5,000 LBP is just ridiculous. Selling teabags for 7,000 LBP is even worse! We had dinner last night at Beib el Mina at Byblos. Some of the nice usual Lebanese mezze like Tabboule, Hummus and Baba Ghannouj, followed by fries and 3 fish dishes, with a few cokes and glasses of wine. Good food, good times, crappy service as usual. The bill? 850,000 LBP [566 USD] for 16 people. I didn't even feel like I'd just had a meal. Ridiculous. And it's like that everywhere.

- Pubs, Night Clubs: Always with the 30 - 40 $ minimum charge. Always with the dinner requirement to get a decent table. And most of them do not inform you until you receive the bill and can't believe your eyes because you've just had a 35 $ glass of Red Label, a 750-cL bottle of which costs no more than 13 bucks at your local minimarket! Did I say a glass of Red? I meant a glass of ice, with a scent of whiskey for you to fantasize over. That's not a night out, that's a JACK!

It seems to me that going out in Lebanon, especially this summer, has become more of a hassle than a pleasure. Factoring in the indescribable Lebanese traffic and all of its associated road rage, or the heat if you're unlucky enough not to have A/C in your car, followed by the ridiculous return you get on your hard earned money, I'm becoming more and more of a fan of house parties and dinners, and I cannot stand the sound of the word Jemmayze when my friends call me up to go for a drink...
Going to the beach is no better.