Someone once famously said, ”A picture speaks more than a thousand words and I couldn’t agree more! In the last couple of years I find that photography has grown from a mere hobby to an all consuming passion and I clearly realize that some of my happiest moments are those when I am looking through the lens of my camera. And if I was to stretch that logic just a little bit further, then I would also have to include the moments when I get to download all the photographs taken, followed by the next hour or sometimes even two, that it takes me to satisfy myself that every picture taken is ‘just so’!
|Misfat- heaven on earth|
Some of my photography expeditions are solitary ones when I click pretty much whatever catches my fancy. It might be something as simple as the seagulls at the Corniche or the varying colours of the sea from one day to the next. Then of course, we have the more structured group expeditions when a few like minded people belonging to one of the photography groups in the city set out for the day. These trips could entail a substantial amount of driving time and take us to places as far as Jabal Akhdar, or then again, to one of the many forts or ‘wadis’ which could be located much closer. While on the subject, I’d like to add that a lot of the fun on these trips comes from the shared bond, which in this case, simply boils down to a genuine love of photography. The other great aspect is that we are very fortunate to be living in Oman, a country which provides people the best possible locations and terrain for all kinds of photography and then some!
One learns very quickly how to behave and act in unfamiliar surroundings. And coming on top of the list is good ‘old fashioned courtesy’, something which can really get a person miles ahead. So what I’ve learnt to do in the course of my wanderings across the hamlets and villages here in Oman is to politely check with the person concerned every time I wish to click a photograph. More so if it involves an older person or a lady as that’s the only way one can possibly do it. There's a particularly interesting phrase that really does the trick, "Mumkin Sura?" (i.e ‘May I click your photograph)? And as I’ve learnt through experience, if you ask, the most likely answer will be a firm “Yes.”
Of some shoots that readily come to mind, one happened to be on the day that I spotted a young man on a lovely morning at the beach. Experience tells us that one of the easiest ways to understand the true meaning of real happiness” is to watch a person's body language. And it gets even better if one is able to capture that moment forever. That day I was lucky for I managed to do just that. He was so happy and I was so happy just watching him.
Then I clicked and hey presto! There it was, an almost perfect shot with the man’s arms upraised and his face looking up a the sky. And there it still remains, frozen till eternity.
The Matrah Souq in Muscat is one of the most delightfully quaint places that one could possibly find. A true amalgamation of the best of sights, sounds and smells, this is one of my favorite places to head to. Reminiscent in many ways of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, the walk leads one through twisting and turning lanes, by-lanes and alleys, each one revealing more and more interesting sights. Silver, coffee, spices, cloth, household goods, all of these and more are available here, and can really make some great gifts. Topping it all, it is clearly a photographer’s delight. Try it once if you haven’t done so already, I guarantee that you will come back for more.
|Looking across- Riyam Hill|
What is the real reward of climbing a right to the top of a hill or a mountain top? A view to die for perhaps? Then going across to the other side of the hill, forgetting one’s your aching bones, which have been steadily at it for the last one hour? All of which has been uphill. Then getting to see the beautiful harbour at twilight.
I did this trek up the Riyam hill last year and would do it, again and again! For the best was yet to come. The day as it turned to night, unforgettable moments when all I could see was the vast expanse all around me, the sea and the twinkling lights. Or was it quite simply, a slice of heaven?
And to close, here’s a line that really sums it all. “You don't take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it.” (Anon.)
NB- This piece was originally written for 'My Take' in Muscat Daily