Saturday, June 29, 2013

Parisian storm

Under brooding clouds one day in June 2007, a friend and I visited the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre in Paris, perched on a small hill overlooking numerous tourist shops, hawkers, musicians, hotdogs for homesick Americans, and couples kissing each other. It is a visually stunning church that is utterly different to the Notre Dame de Paris. Dignified and quiet, nuns and priests gather for wide-ranging reflection on God and the divine life. Such solemnity precludes practically everything one may want to do in a sacred space: talk, take a photograph, drink a drink, and eat a hamburger. This, at least, is what the signs at the entrance explicitly banned. There were two big African guys enforcing the regulations. They kicked out a couple of fat drunken pink-faced tourists in pastel shirts who made a mockery of the rules by taking a photo. Within moments of their small camera's flash lighting up the cavernous interior, the two enforcers descended on them and firmly escorted them to the exit.
While we were outside the Sacré-Coeur, it began to rain. Along with many others, we took cover under the entrance way at the top of the steps of the great Church. It began to rain harder, so we all moved inside the entrance way a little more. Then the wind picked up. We moved inside a little more. Then both the rain and the wind intensified. We soon realised we were in a storm. Hiding behind even one of the immense stone pillars was useless in the face of such a deluge, and as the water descended upon us, screams of laughter and fear emanated from young American and Spanish girls as the wind enthusiastically whipped the heavy drops of rain into practically every nook and cranny of the entrance way. We tried to go inside the Church but the doors were sealed shut. People cried out for the doors to open, and they opened. We all piled in, wet, cold, and with smiles of relief and joy on our faces.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tajikistan slideshow refresh

I have re-released my Tajikistan slideshow. Much like my Iran slideshow, I redid the post-processing of the photos. The music company who publishes the accompanying song, Blue Flame Publishing / Global Flame Publishing, were generous and let me use their song without payment, which I very much appreciate.

Pamiri woman - Namadgut

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Iran slideshow refresh

In 2007 I published a slideshow of photos of my first trip to Iran. The slideshow was accompanied by one of Alireza Eftekhari's lovely songs. Little did I know then that it would rack up more than 100,000 page views. I received a lot of feedback from Iranians. It remains my most popular published work of any kind.

My skills in post-processing photos have improved substantially in the six years since. The software and hardware tools I use have also improved. This year I decided to redo every single photo. It was a lot of work but I think it's worth it. The color and contrast are both improved, looking more realistic. While I was at it, I swapped out a couple of weak images for better ones. Here are some before and after shots to give you an idea (old versions first):

Let me know what you think!