Inside the Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque_02

During the National Day holidays a friend of mine arranged a trip for us to visit the Grand Mosque in Kuwait City. This was my second visit to the mosque and this time around I had a fish-eye lens in my bag to capture the enormous prayer hall inside.

Hajji Khalil Habash at the Grand Mosque

The guided tours are conducted by the group; “Western Perception of Islam” and our guide was a very knowledgeable gentleman by the name of Khalil Habash. You can see many videos on Youtube of the tour taken by tourists and here’s [a recent one].

The tour of the Grand Mosque is something that everyone living in Kuwait should take at least once. The rulers have spared no expense in creating this awe-inspiring and beautiful place of worship and it shows when you walk around the hall. Our guide, Mr. Habash, explained in great detail about the structure itself and its significance to both Kuwait and the Muslim world. We were a group of around 20 tourists from different countries and so the medium of communication was English.

Grand Mosque_10

This post contains photos taken with my D60 and also the GX1. On my first visit there I wasn’t able to capture the magnitude of the interior with my kit lens so on the second try I used a fisheye lens on my GX1 and that gave me satisfactory results.

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Meike Battery Grip for Nikon D60

Meike Grip D60

Over the past couple of months I’d accepted a few projects that involved shooting over long periods of time and that meant shooting continuously in scenes with few chances of a battery change. Nikon originally didn’t make a battery grip for the D60 but there’re a lot of third party companies who make a compatible battery grip for this type of body.

 I looked at a lot of online reviews and the top contenders were Opteka, Targus and Meike. Ultimately I went with the Meike as I found it more suited to my usage and it didn’t have as many parts as the other brands. I also found that the textured pattern on the Meike grip was closer to my camera body texture.

Why do you need a vertical grip/ battery grip?
1. Do you shoot for long hours and go thru more than one battery per session?
2. Do you have large chubby hands and find that all your fingers don’t have room to grip on the camera body?
3. Do you shoot in portrait mode for the majority of your session?

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Holga lens for Nikon – HL-N

I recently bought this lens on sale and tried it out during to weekend to see how it worked on my D60. If you haven’t heard of Holga cameras before read this [link] and see some [samples shots] with this lens. Holga cameras are made from plastic and even the lens is plastic, which gives them a characteristic look and some amount of vignetting and light leaks. On my D60 I didn’t get so much vignetting since mine is an APS-C sensor but if you try it on a full frame body like a D800 or D4 you’ll get copious amounts of vignetting.

If you’re thinking of buying this lens for your digital camera here’s a couple of things you need to know;
1. The lens is a constant f/8 aperture so you need lots of light or bump up your ISO to 1600 and above (this also gives a nice grainy effect)
2. The focus meter on your camera probably won’t work if you have this lens attached so use the guide markings on the lens body to ‘guesstimate’ the focal length.
3. There are no CPU contacts on the lens so the only option is to use it in manual mode otherwise you’ll get an error message on the display.

This is a cheap lens that you can experiment with and based on environmental conditions and your camera settings you’ll get some decent photos that you can use for prints. Check out the gallery below.

You can buy the Holga lens from their website [link]


Youtube [link]

A visit to the Zoo

Last weekend we made a little trip to the Zoo seeing as how it was bright an sunny that morning. I think its been a long time since my last visit but nothing much as changed at the zoo. It was a chance for me to take out my 55-200mm VR since I hardly ever use it nowadays. Here’s some of the good ones from the bunch.

 No interruptions

Eye of the Tiger

Hear me roar

Nasty bite


Old Goat

Deer head shot

Wild necking

My daughter had a great time playing in the park.

Fun in the sun

Halfway thru 52 weeks

52 weeks @ 50mm  01/52

When I started my 52 week project in January this year I thought it would be a cinch finding stuff to shoot every week. Well to be honest I wasn’t trying hard enough so I thought I’d take a picture that would remind me of an important event that occurred in that week. So here’s my ongoing project and I have another 26 weeks before I can close the chapter on this thing.

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Nikon 80-400mm VR – A hands on experience

Size matters

Last weekend I borrowed my friend Cajie’s telephoto lens to shoot the moon and man this is one big mother^%$% of a lens. My D60 has a crop factor of 1.5 so in effect I get a maximum of 600mm zoom from this lens! Since it lacks AFS or fast aperture I used it only to shoot the moon on that particular night but thought I’d have some fun comparing it to my other lenses.

In terms of size and build quality this beats the AFS lenses in my kit by a long margin and I’m beginning to like the solid feel of these older lenses. Carrying this thing around on a normal photo-walk maybe difficult if you’re not gifted with large biceps like me and it might be a good idea to invest in a solid tripod so that it doesn’t sway around when you’re shooting.

Here’s Cajie’s first impression post and pictures on the awesome zoom range of this lens. [link]

Kuwait National Day Fireworks Display 2011

I rarely venture out on Feb 25th and 26th but this year being a special event a friend of mine and I headed off to Gulf street to get some shots of the fireworks. We got there 2 hours early but the show started more than an hour late from the scheduled 7:00 PM.

The show started off with a laser display on the towers and para-gliders flew into the city in formation and then things really started off with the proverbial bang. I’m glad we braved the mad traffic and long lines coz this show was really spectacular. It was like a summary of the history of Kuwait depicted thru images projected on the three towers.

The whole show was just brilliant and reminded me of the Pink Floyd concerts, they even had a helicopter fly in with a glowing flag. I’ve uploaded some of the pictures that I took but these are straight out of the camera without any post processing. Also check out the condensed video I made from the 200+ frames of the fireworks.


Fotodiox Reverse Ring for macro photography

I bought this reverse ring last week along with a few other things from Amazon and it looks like yet another value purchase. I was looking for a cheaper alternative to buying a dedicated macro lens as I wanted to try out some macro photography this winter. Now you may remember the Tamron macro lens that a friend of mine bought a few months ago, this dedicated lens cost about 150KD. I wasn’t prepared to plunk down so much cash for a macro so I opted to buy this reverse ring and since I had a 50mm prime it was the perfect setup.

First impression:

The ring is made of metal and quite sturdy. I read some user reviews of how its difficult to remove from the camera body and screw on the lens but thankfully it works perfectly on mine. A lot of people don’t realize that the lens will not have AF function in reverse and you’ll be shooting in complete manual mode once its connected in reverse. Since I have a 50mm prime it was easy for me to set the aperture on the ring.


Focusing might sometimes be a little tricky if you’re shooting at 2.8 since the DOF is very shallow but if you have it on a tripod and move the subject you’ll find the ‘sweet spot’ easily. I recommend lots of light to get a decent shot. All the ones below were shot using a 100w tungsten lamp and shutter speed around 1/60 @ ISO 200.

Here’s a video I made on the setup;

Hows its done:

The reverse ring has the Nikon F mount on one side and a 52mm thread on the other side. You’ll have to connect your lens to the camera body in the reverse direction and then open the rear body cap. Since this is a manual lens you can set the aperture on the Aperture ring. Somewhere between 2.8 and 5.6 is optimum since you would need a decent depth of field. Light is also a very important factor as you’ll want to reduce shake with a faster shutter speed. If you use a spot lamp or strobe you can easily dial in a shutter speed of 1/40 or higher.

Take a look at some examples I shot today. The main picture is 100% crop while the inset picture is the original frame.

Fotodiox Reverse Ring [Amazon]

The ring cost about 2.6KD and lets say I paid another 2KD shipping so for a total of 4.6 KD I got a pretty nifty macro solution.

Its here ! Nikon D60

My Nikon D60 kit arrived today ! I just got it this evening and am too tired to take any shots with it right now. I’ve plugged in the battery to get a full charge and attached the kit lens (18-55mm VR) that came along with it. Keep watching this space for more updates on my new baby 🙂