Playing with Fire and Light

A couple of weeks ago, a few friends of mine arranged a night photo shoot to have some fun with light painting and long exposure shots. We headed to this abandoned building in the middle of nowhere and a brave volunteer worked his magic with just some steel wool stuffed in a whisk and swung on a chain. Here’s what I got. I loved the results and can’t wait to do some more of this.

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Here’s something I tried while I was playing around with the 2 axis head on the tripod. I set the exposure to around 10 seconds and then moved the camera on X and Y axis while focused on a string of street lights. This might make a good wallpaper for my mobile phone.

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There was this structure that I lit up using a flashlight and managed to get the stars in the shot as well. The yellow haze is light reflected off clouds from the street lights and just above that the stars are visible.

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Towards the end of the session we played around with one of those LED key-chains and got the following samples.

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While I was editing the pictures I remembered that I’d taken some similar pictures of the Fire Dancers at this year’s Sand Sculpture expo so I figured those would fit into the theme of this post. So here are some shots from the event.

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Lahore Shahi Qila – Pakistani Food

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I decided to write about this place after my second visit there a couple of days ago. Shahi Qila is a little Pakistani restaurant in Sharq area and it’s almost invisible unless you actually go looking for it. The place is so nondescript that my friend didn’t even know the name of the place even though he loves the food there.

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On both visits we ordered; Chicken Tikka, Channa Masala (Chickpeas) and fresh Rotis. The food is typical Pakistani fare with copious amounts of spice and oil. I love the Chicken tikka and channa masala at Khyber but this is now my current favorite place if I’m in the mood to get hot and sweaty for lunch.

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The chicken tikka lacked that tangy flavor that you get in Khyber but its perfectly grilled and has the right amount of charring. Unfortunately I didn’t try anything else at Shahi Qila so I can’t recommend more dishes but the chicken tikka and channa masala combo is a must-try.

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The place may look like a cheap joint on the outside but once you go down to the dining area on the lower floor you’ll be surprised to see that its neat and spacious. Prices aren’t too bad either. There were four of us and the bill was 5 KD. Parking can be a problem during working days so it would be better to park across the street near the police HQ compound and walk to Shahi Qila.

You can find the place in the map link here [Google maps]

Shahi Qila
Al Shoafaat Building,
Umer Bin Khatab St.
Sharq
Tel: 22470965

Evening at Souk Sharq

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The blog has been inactive for a while so here’s a random post to liven things up a little. Its been ages since I’ve been to the marina at Sharq so the other night a friend of mine and I went there to take some night shots. All photos were taken with the GX1 and the Samyang fisheye.

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Souk Panorama

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Inside the Grand Mosque

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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.

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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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Wah Ji Wah – Pakistani Food

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After my previous post about Sarhad some of my Pakistani friends and colleagues suggested a bunch of different places for me to sample more of their traditional foods. The places include Shahi Qila, Tabaq, Wah Ji Wah and Al Mano wa Al Salwa. Since Wah Ji Wah was the closest place for me during the weekend I decided to try it out first.

It’s located near the first roundabout on Issa Al Qatami street in Salmiya and is hard to miss. I noted that they’ve got two separate dining areas; one for bachelors and a larger space for families. I was there for a takeaway order so didn’t look into the family seating area. The specials menu on the wall is in Urdu so you’ll have to ask the guy at the counter whats the special for the day.

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DIY Wall Hangings

My wife and I were decorating our new apartment this month and we wanted a large picture as a focus point on the living room wall. I wasn’t too keen on getting one of those generic photos from IKEA or Banta so we decided to use one of my own photos.

I had two options, either get a framed canvas print or get it printed on foam-core and then make the frame myself. I’m always on the lookout for DIY projects so the latter sounded more interesting to me. I found this neat tutorial online on how to make one of these large sized pictures and mount it on a wooden frame. If you’re interested in doing something similar I’ve listed the steps on how to go about it;

1. Choose an original file. You can use a photograph you’ve taken yourself or any other source but its important that you use the original file in maximum resolution and at least 300 dpi, this will reduce the amount of pixelation in the final print. I was blowing up a picture (taken on my 5 year old Nikon D60) to 90×60 cms and and I was happy to see that there wasn’t much degradation in quality.

2. Once you’ve got the file for printing you can select between Canvas prints or Foam-core backed prints. I was already getting some prints from Artech so I preferred to let them do all the print work since I’ve dealt with them before.

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3. According to the tutorial in the link you can use wood strips to give the foam-core extra strength and rigidity. I didn’t want my frame to protrude too much from the wall so I went with a thinner wooden frame. I bought all the supplies from ACE Hardware; wood rafters/strips, sandpaper and caulk.

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4. Measure, cut and sand the wood frame to the size of your foam-core. I know a V-joint looks prettier than a simple butt-joint but it would not be visible anyway so I chose the latter method. Apply a layer of caulk to the strips and press them into place on the frame. They should set in about 30 minutes. Once the frame had bonded with the foam, I applied double-sided tape to 8 points on the frame and fixed it to the wall. I didn’t use nails or screws since the entire thing is very lightweight and I didn’t want to mess up the wall with more holes than necessary.

Including materials, this picture cost me less than 8 KD so this I guess this is a fun and cheap way to decorate your home with your very own artwork.

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Chevrolet Cruze 2014 – Review

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Last week I got the 2014 model Chevrolet Cruze for a test drive from Alghanim Automotive, Kuwait. They said I could use it all through the weekend and return it on Sunday which should give me enough time to get to know the car and give an opinion on how it performs.

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First impression:
To the untrained eye there may not be much to differentiate the 2014 model from the previous one but if you look closely you’ll find that they’ve changed the front fog lamp designs and the overall front look of the car now is inline with the new Chevy grills. I took a walk around the car to see if there was anything else that stood out as exceptional but it was the familiar Cruze that most people are used to.

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Sivamani and Stephen Devassy

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Ever since I saw Stephen Devassy perform live I’d developed a liking to his style of music and on-stage performance. So when I heard he was coming to Kuwait for another show I way trying to find a way to get tickets. Luckily a friend of mine gave me tickets to the event in Hawally park yesterday evening. Thanks James!

This was also the first time I’ve seen Sivamani performing live and the duo was pretty awesome. They played for almost 40 minutes and alternated between solos, fast and slow tracks and some highly entertaining duets. I’ve got some random clips of the night in the link below but I hope I can get my hands on the official video taken by the video crew.

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RTC Electronics – Geeks Paradise

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This weekend I need to get some work done on setting up my home entertainment systems and this involved extending some cables across the room. I asked some friends about places to get electronics supplies and one friend pointed me towards RTC in Hawally.

The shop is marked in Google maps so it wasn’t too difficult to locate it. The shop entrance isn’t too impressive when you walk in but the surprise is when you walk down the stairs to the lower level. This place is every electronic geeks wet dream as you’ll find almost anything you’re looking for.

I was mainly looking for speaker wires, connectors and cable ducts. I bought all this and more during my shopping trip there. While my bill was being prepared I took a walk around the shop and noted that they’ve got everything from DJ lighting equipment, circuit boards, hobby kits, cables etc to all the tools you’d ever want to do you own DIY projects. The only thing I didn’t get though was a flexible cable sleeve that could accomodate the thick bundle of wires that exit my entertainment cabinet. I ended up using the IKEA RABALDER that I had left from previous cleanups.

RTC is the place to go if you’re looking for electronics supplies and I’ll surely be making a few more trips there in the next few days.

RTC home page [link]

RTC Electronics Corp.
Othman St. – Al-Trayji bldg – Magazine No. 5 – 6
Hawalli
+965-22623287
+965-22623286
+965-22623287
info@rtc-electronics.biz

Tour of Liberation Tower

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This weekend my wife and I went on a guided tour of Kuwait’s Liberation Tower. The trip was organized by Aware Center and we were lucky to get seats for the tour although we weren’t so lucky with the weather. As we approached Kuwait City it was clear that the haze was not going to clear up during our time there.

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The guide took us to the third level where there’s a bridge that leads to the elevators that access the main tower. The tour would only go as high as 150 meters as there’s sensitive defense communication systems on the top levels and entry is restricted.

This is going to be a long post so click on through for more..

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