Christmas – That Magic Blanket…

Christmas is that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. – Augusta E. Rundel

Christmas CardI wish everyone a blessed and peaceful Christmas!

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Ammamma – Grandmother

Ammamma is everyone’s grandmother – the oldest living female member of the family. Just look at her face, those wonderful wrinkles of time, age, and wisdom…

Ammamma - Grandma

 

I took this photo last May at a pooja (a religious ritual performed by Hindus) in Edathua, Kerala, India last May. My husband is Indian and his family is from Kerala in the south of India. The pooja was held for all members of the family who passed away and to purify the living of the lingering negative energy of the deceased.

Ammamma is an amazing woman. Three years ago, when we got married in Kerala (with almost 400 people at our wedding—more about this in a later post :), she accepted me in the family with and open heart, no questions asked and without any reservations. This was not an obvious thing for every single member of the family as my flaws as an ideal bride were only multiplied by the fact that not only am I not South Indian, but I am neither North Indian, or Indian for that matter…

She is 87 years old. Look at her eyes, her hair, her face, her hands. Think of all the things she has seen and lived through. We don’t speak the same language, we do not have the same religion, we do not have the same background, I am almost 60 years her junior, and I want to hear everything she knows and has to say.

It Was a Matter of a Few Seconds…Some Lights…and a 96 DSLR Camera Rig

Upon his return from a 3-month excursion filming in China with a bullet time rig, photographer Richard Kendall decided it was time to get back into the studio and start  experiments with lights, strobe flash, and the bullet time rig. One of these projects was creating a collection of stunning artistic light paintings. The result is this breathtaking video below.

In still photography, bullet time is achieved by surrounding the subject with multiple cameras that are mounted on a special ring shaped rig (often referred to as an array).  The camera are then set to fire either simultaneously or sequentially. Each of the photographs are then made into a time lapse so they create a super slow motion scene. Kendall used a half circle rig for his photo shoot, which required the use of 96 DSLR cameras!!!!!!!

light painting bullet time

In the second video Patrick Rochon / Timecode Lab / Eric Paré have created “24×360” as a purely artistic and experimental project using 24 cameras and light painting techniques.

The project was born after a very intense year mounting and un-mounting their bullet time rig in live events. They then finally sat down at their studio to create some inspiring 360 degree bullet time pictures.

Hope you like them as much as I did!!! This is pretty stunning stuff.

Love,

F

Serenity Is a Soft Blanket of Mist…

Today is one of those days, when I get that gut-wrenching longing to be back in my beloved Hong Kong even if only for a day to recharge my depleted inner batteries… (After having spent four years in Hong Kong it has left a void in my mind and heart that I am still hopelessly trying to fill.) This is one of my favorite spots in Hong Kong – Nan Lian Garden next to Chi Lin Nunnery. Both the stunning public garden and the nunnery were designed and renovated in Tang dynasty style.

The Nunnery is a large temple complex of elegant wooden architecture, treasured Buddhist relics and soul-soothing lotus ponds. The Garden is a tranquil haven midst Diamond Hill’s myriad of high-rise apartments. Its scenic garden is meticulously landscaped over an area of 3.5 hectares, in which every hill, rock, body of water, plant and timber structure has been placed according to specific rules and methods.
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But most of all, Nan Lian Garden to me is a place of utmost bliss and complete relaxation. I know that the soothing sounds of Chinese flute come from strategically placed concealed loudspeakers. That even the mist and fog that floats above

the pond and coils around the tree trunks is artificial. But if you sit on one of the benches here, close your eyes, still your breathing, the rumbling noise of mad traffic will ebb away, and you can hear the universe as clear as droplets falling from a faulty tap in a still and quiet apartment… This is Nan Lian Garden to me, my safe and calm place…
Nan Lian Garden Hong Kong

Cinemagraphs – Wonderful Living Moments Captured in a Still Shot

“A Cinemagraph is an image that contains within itself a living moment that allows a glimpse of time to be experienced and preserved endlessly.” Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg

Visual Graphics Artist Kevin Burg began experimenting with the .gif format in this style in 2009 but it wasn’t until he partnered with photographer Jamie Beck to cover NYFW (New York Fashion Week) that Cinemagraphs were born. Marrying original content photography with the desire to communicate more to the viewer birthed the cinemagraph process. Starting in-camera, the artists take a traditional photograph and combine a living moment into the image through the isolated animation of multiple frames. These living moments captured in a still shot are more than photographs but not quite videos.

Beck and Burg named the process “Cinemagraphs” for their cinematic quality while maintaining at its soul the principles of traditional photography. Launched virally through social media platforms Twitter and Tumblr, both the style of imagery and terminology has become a class of its own. The creative duo are looking forward to exploring future display technologies for gallery settings as well as pushing this new art form and communication process as the best way to capture a moment in time or create a true living portrait in our digital age while embracing our need to communicate visually and share instantly.

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The Kettle Can Wait – Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg

One of Beck and Burg’s first subjects was Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha. As in so many of their images, here also NYC is the stunning backdrop.

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Coco Rocha – Balcony – Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg

These evoke memories of pin-up girls from the 1940s and 1950s.

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Beck and Burg’s love and passion for this complex, crazy, restless, wonderful city is palpable in the following few images. It is a place always on the move, with daily little miracles happening around you.

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30 Rock Viewing – Beck and Burg

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Newspaper Subway – Beck and Burg

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Hot Dog – Beck and Burg

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Cab Window – Beck and Burg

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Fountain – Beck and Burg

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Barber Shop Pole – Beck and Burg

NYFW would not be what it is without Anna Wintour, the English-born Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, who has become and institution throughout the fashion world.

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Anna Wintour – Beck and Burg

Just look at the reflection of her dangling leg in the mirror… Purely amazing… 🙂

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Coco Rocha Desk – Beck and Burg

It’s somewhere between a photo and a video, a piece of artwork that seeks to perfectly capture a fleeting moment in time. Just like this one. A few seconds of motionless passing time captured for eternity.

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A Moment in Time – Beck and Burg

“I was shooting a building to make a cinemagraph one day, and nothing moved. I thought, well this is dumb, but then the light changed, a bird flew by, and I realized that everything is alive. I just had to start training my eye. I had to start visualizing cinemagraphs.” Jamie Beck

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30 Rock – Beck and Burg

And the last one for today. To be honest, although I have an infinite passion for photography, sometimes I feel something is missing. You capture the moment, but it is merely a snapshot of the moment that often fails to reflect the whole experience and meaning of that moment. A video would be too invasive and could ruin “the moment”. A cinemagraph is the perfect combination of the two. It raises the ordinary to extraordinary in the split of a second. Oh my… I can almost smell the sea, feel the wind in my hair, and the sun on my skin.

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Have a wonderful evening,

F

Hello world!

Hmmm…. Let’s see.

First of all, welcome to my blog Desert Monsoon Dubai a place for all things exceptional, extraordinary, and breathtakingly beautiful.

This place came to existence to find beauty and inspiration every day. We live in a world where it is far too easy to get caught up and not slow down and smell the roses, brewing coffee, summer rain, fresh linen on a summer afternoon, or your mom’s mouth-watering cookies that just came out from the oven.

I dedicate this place to all things beautiful that make it worthwhile getting up from your cozy bed on a dark, damp November morning. There is of course nothing wrong with curling up on the sofa or your bed under a soft blanket on the above mentioned morning, but if you climb out of that bed and tear yourself away from the magic spell off your sofa, you could experience small miracles everyday. I am on a mission to find these for my own and hopefully your enjoyment.

You will find here everything performing and picturing art, creativity, cooking, music, literature, architecture, life…in general everything that keeps me going on those dull and numbing days when I ask myself what’s the point of it all…

To end the first post and kick off my trip of (self) discovery, I’d like to share a favorite of mine. 

Have fun, enjoy life, and keep your eyes open…every day…always…

Love,

F

Ps: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”             Walter Hagen