Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Seen in Dubai today.

Dubai Skyline (Burj Khalifa), originally uploaded by sidsiva.

Well actually this is from the weekend.. couldnt resist pulling over and shooting the iconic Burj Khalifa against a stunning sunset... :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sword throw!

So last week, I was assigned by the good folks at the National to go shoot 18 year old Hazza Sulaiman al Shehhi set a Guiness record at sword throwing. Sword throwing is a traditional art and the Al Saif Traditional Sword competition is organised in Fujairah to celebrate it. It was a fun afternoon where I photographed swordsmen, the record setting throw and a horror house! The shot of the teenager throwing his sword 21 metres appeared on the front page of the National.. yay! Here are some images from the assignment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sach Holden

I spent a fantastic afternoon one Friday with the awesome Sachin D'souza AKA Sach Holden. Sach is a fantastic singer/songwriter and is due to perform at the Fridge concert series on Nov 1.

This was one of those very loose, free flowing shoots that didnt take a lot of planning. We had a good rapport going and the conversation and pictures flowed effortlessly. All in all, a fun afternoon and some nice pictures for Sach to promote his music and performance!

On a techy note..most of the lighting is natural with a hint of flash through a softbox at very low power for a little fill.

And here is a video of Sach performing 'You Can Run but if You Leave I'll Break Your Legs '

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Hajjars.

I visited my aunt's family, the Hajjars on my trip to Beirut earlier this year. They brought me to their charming apartment in Hamra, Beirut. I was fascinated with all the old photographs and paintings on their wall. Every one of the pieces on the wall had a significance and it was a joy listening to some of the stories. Of course, they have lived through years of war in Lebanon but they remain staunch Beirutis.

Monday, September 20, 2010

At the top!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go up to the observation deck of Burj Khalifa on level 124. On assignment, I was authorised to go up before the deck actually opened to the public. One of the photographs I took was of the special electronic telescope device which displays the telescopic view on a screen.

I felt compelled to pull up my shot of the binoculars at the observation deck on the top of the Rockefeller building in New York City and put the two shots together...

Seen in Dubai today

Burj Khalifa

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gregory Heisler - explains his lighting for a Sports Illustrated cover

Gregory Heisler, one of the dons of editorial portraiture, in this video below, explains how he lit a portrait of baseball player Derek Jeter for a cover for Sports Illustrated magazine.

Its interesting how he explains all this in a very classroom fashion by  sketching on a whiteboard. Quite an elaborate setup, I was only thinking how important it is to have location shooting permits and a sizeable (and skilled) crew!  This would have taken a fair bit of time to setup and test and fine tune. This would have been necessary so that the subject would just have to stay long enough to shoot 20-30 frames!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Tearsheet

Last week, I shot with the star of Emirati film, City of Life at one of the Dubai locations that features in the film. I shot some of it with a cover in mind, but I had no idea until I saw the latest issue of M this morning! NICE.

I am very happy with the cover but really wished a different image was chosen for the inside. I shot this at a classic Dubai favourite, Al Ijaza Cafeteria in Jumeirah. I planned the shoot so that it was in the evening so I could shoot from daylight, into twilight and then night. This was so I could incorporate the glowing sign of the cafe, street lights, etc. I also love shooting with wide open apertures to render blurry backgrounds and lovely out of focus points of light. 

Technically, all the shots were with one speedlight at fairly low power. Thankfully, I had Raja assisting me with the lighting. The cover shot is a speedlight through an umbrella placed very close to the subject's face. The speedlight was triggered by the D700's on board flash. At very wide apertures, the little trigger burst from the on-board flash actually affects the actual exposure (Which according to Nikon, it isn't supposed to!) In this case I chose to keep it because it was acting as a nice 'on-axis' fill.. other photographers would use a ring flash or a large softbox directly behind camera to do the same. (Here is Mr. David 'Strobist' Hobby's introduction to on axis fill) Happy accident that worked for me! Here is a slideshow of some of the images from the shoot. As per usual, thanks to the inimitable Mr. Clint McLean.

SaoudAlKaabi_public - Images by Siddharth Siva

Note: Hover mouse over slideshow to reveal arrows for manual navigation. Clicking on the slideshow will take you to a web gallery of these images so they can be viewed larger.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Tearsheet

M (Weekend magazine of the National) ran this story I shot some time ago about spices. They opened with a portrait of a spice merchant in Dubai's spice souq. I shot this and some other portraits ona Saturday, when the souq was packed with tourists! I carried my camera with 24-70 lens and a couple of speedlights and a small stands. I also used the HonlPhoto snoot on the speedlight. For some of the portraits, the writer, Jemma Nicholls was kind enough to be a VAL (voice activated lightstand!) I was able to use a stand in this particular shot. Some images from the shoot below.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Award of Excellence!

Clint and Kristine, the amazing photo editors over at the National M Magazine in Abu Dhabi just mailed over a certificate from the Society for News Design. A cover story I shot last year for the M magazine was entered in SND's Annual Creative Competition and it won an award of excellence in the Photography/Single Photos Portrait category! I am very excited and a big thanks to Clint Mclean and Kristine Bacharach at the National for all the wonderful assignments!!

Check out the slideshow of images from the shoot with Desert Heat!

Point Counter Point

Here are a couple of images from the Point Counter Point project that we presented last night at Slidefest II.. Jamal Iqbal and I are working on this project as a collaboration between a writer (Jamal) and a photographer (me!).. In Jamal's words,

A photographer has a conversation with a writer. He shoots a point. The writer pens a counter.

In turn, the writer types out his point. The photographer captures a counter.

Their theme – Transience.

Their Canvas – Dubai.

All in all a great evening at Slidefest II.. I particularly enjoyed the presentations by Matilde Gattoni, Lamya Gargash, Mike McKelvie and Nadine Kanso.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Slidefest II

A bunch of Dubai photographers are getting together to present personal projects at Slidefest. Organised by Dubai photoguru Mohamed Somji, it promises to be a fun and enlightening evening of fantastic photography.

I am showing a project that was conceived and created with local ad guru, actor, writer, poet and god knows what else, Jamal Iqbal. We call it Point Counter Point.

Come on out on and see what us Doobai photographers have been upto.

Slidefest II will be held at the Knowledge Village Auditorium on May 19, 2010 at 7:30pm.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Seen in Dubai today

Al Jaffilia

New Tearsheets!

So the first tearsheets are a little late.. this appeared in the National M magazine a couple of weeks ago, April 24 to be precise. I shot a little story at the wonderful British Institute of Learning Development.

Read the entire story about this wonderful learning center HERE

Next up is a story I shot for an American architecural journal called Metropolis. I photographed assistant architecture professor at the American University of Sharjah, Ginger Dosier who has discovered a new way of creating eco friendly building bricks using desert sand, calcium chloride and urea.

Some images from both shoots..

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New tearsheets!

Just saw this picture appear in Businessweek this morning. This was from a quick shoot with a very cooperative and patient Kim Kyeho, Exec. VP of Samsung C&T in Dubai. Samsung was involved in the construction of the Burj Khalifa and naturally Scott Mlyn from Business Week requested that I shoot the portrait in the vicinity of this incredible tower. As per usual, I had no permits and had to ditch the lights, softboxes, umbrellas and other lighting paraphernalia; which was just as well since I my usual assistant was out of town. I remembered from an earlier shoot that the sun light around 8-8.30 am is really good at this location and decided to shoot this handheld and unlit! Very different from my usual approach. 
A very patient and amused Mr Kim was asked to climb up on to a little ledge for me to take this shot. All in all a quick little shoot that I was happy with. I haven't heard from Scott since I delivered, so I am assuming he was satisfied!

Next up is something I shot for Kristine Bacharach at the National for the M magazine. This was a shoot with a teacher at Jumeirah English Speaking School named Ian Thurston, his wife Carlene and their two small children. I photographed Ian at the school with his students who he is educating on recycling and other 'green' practices. He is a great believer in 'reduce, reuse and recycle' and has given tips on how to stay green in one's daily life. I also photographed him with his family at his house in the Arabian Ranches. It was a fun shoot with a very patient and gracious family! Here are some other shots from the two assignments.

Kim Kyeho, Executive Vice President, Samsung C&T Corporation (Middle East and North Africa)

Ian Thurston at the Jumeirah English Speaking School(JESS). This was lit with a Bowens Esprit 500 with a medium Wafer Hex softbox high on camera right.
Ian Thurston with students at JESS. This was lit with Nikon SB 800 speedlight high camera right. Had to quickly shift to this lighting after the Bowens 500 head stopped firing, yet again, because of the heat!
Shot in available light
Ian Thurston at his Arabian Ranches residence with his wife Carlene and daughter Charlotte, 5 months. Ian uses Charlotte's bath water for the garden. Ian is lit with the Bowens Esprit 500 and Wafer Hex medium softbox while Carlene and Charlotte are lit with 2 NIkon SB 800 speedlights in a Westcott softbox.
Ian and Charlotte in their kitchen. I placed a Bowens Esprit 500 with the Wafer Hex medium softbox outside the window on camera right to keep it looking natural.
Carlene and Charlotte. Shot with available light in the doorway to the garden

Monday, March 8, 2010

Joey meet Martin..Martin meet Joey

I had the pleasure of meeting and assisting Joey L. at Gulf Photo Plus this past week where apart from the practical lighting and post production workshop he also talked about the portrait work he did in the south of Ethiopia and Indonesia. The work has a studied and slow approach - the effort he took at knowing and engaging his subjects really showed in the images. He has told the story on his blog.. definitely worth a check out! The latest is that he is on his way to Varanasi, India to work on another personal project around the Kumbh Mela.

Then this morning, while perusing my feed reader I see the latest update from Mumbai based photographer Martin Prihoda. He has shot a wonderful series of portraits of yogis (yoga is a subject of great interest and passion for him) in and around Varanasi and Haridwar.. also definitely hit up his blog to see the images. I would love to see what JoeyL. comes up with on his trip.. would be fun to put Martin's and Joey's images side by side to see how the perspectives differ. Historically common subjects have been tackled by many different photographers.. but with the great ones you always see a unique, personal perspective.. you can see the person behind the images.
 More soon..

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Change!

After having been a photographer for over 10 years and having made what turned out to be a major decision of moving to Dubai to be a photographer, I feel another change is needed.

I moved to Dubai in 2004 until when I was in Bombay shooting a fair bit for myself and totally not enough for money! The move to Dubai also enforced a switch to digital photography. A screwed up first shoot on a Nikon D1X, pushed me to figure out this digital thing. Since then, it feels like thats all I have been doing. I feel I have not done enough of my own work and the development of my work has been technical more than anything else.

Now it's time for more changes. I have to buckle down and do much more of my own work..more photography for no money! I have realised that I only shoot when I am being paid to do so and I need to change that. I need to rediscover why I became a photographer in the first place. Also, I want to work on my portfolio and figure out what my 'vision' is. The only way to do that is to keep shooting, shooting, shooting. I want to be eventually be paid to bring that vision to assignments.
This blog is a part of the changes I want to make. I will try to publicly document(via this blog) how I try to make these changes. The blog will carry lots of photography, good and bad, and lots of random thoughts...
More soon... in the meanwhile here is the great Dan Winters on his approach to image making..

and some thoughts on his portrait photography method