event photography: hijabi monologues

November 25, 2009 | Filed Under events | 2 Comments 

i had the opportunity to participate this past weekend in a fantastic performance that is gaining recognition around the country, both in and outside of the muslim community, the hijabi monologues. if you’ve heard of eve ensler, you can kind of guess that this show presents something that is a sort of inverse of the vagina monologues – not related or responding to it, but, as co-founder sahar ullah describes it, taking something public like the islamic headscarf (hijab) and pushing it OUT of viewers’ faces, by making them see the individual wearing it, rather than personifying something intensely private. the hijabi monologues is not actually about the headscarf at all (which i was ecstatic about, because i don’t think there exists another piece of cloth in the world that’s been overanalyzed more), but it presents the stories of various women who just happen to wear hijab. let me be a little more grandiose about it: it helps give voice to a group of women who have, for entirely too long, been spoken for by others who have no idea.
i had been wanting to see it for a while, being a longtime american hijabi myself, but also found out that one of my friends would be performing in the DC show, held at the kennedy center on sunday, nov. 22. so i was thrilled to find out only a few days in advance that the show was looking for photographers!
for the camera geeks out there: the kennedy center does not allow flash in or around shows, so this was a bit of a challenge; i had my tamron 28-75 2.8, but i really wanted close-ups of the spotlit performers on stage; for this i had to use my sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6. in the end it was only my 5D’s amazing high ISO performance and a steady hand (and the fact that i wasn’t the only photographer there) that saved me.
without further ado…

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more tilt-shift: great falls, VA

November 21, 2009 | Filed Under nature, photography | 5 Comments 

promise this is the last tilt-shift-only post!
but, i had a couple of hours to kill before i needed to return the lens to the fantastic folks at penn camera, and it was a beautiful day, and my friend saliha who lives not far from the place wasn’t working and loves hiking too… so we met up around midday at one of my most favorite parks in the world, great falls, on the virginia side of the potomac. with musa along, of course. i took only the 45mm ts-e lens so i could focus on trying it out a little more; found it was less of a struggle the next day, although that might have been because i was taking pictures of trees and a river, instead of people who had to wait for me :) i believe i might have begun to fall in love with this lens… but i still want the canon 35L first! someday!
a note: when i first began taking pictures in high school, i didn’t even like photographing people… it was always the outdoors, in the beginning, trying to capture beautiful landscapes or skyscapes or natural details, and i even hated having people IN the nature shots. so although my preference has changed quite a bit, this kind of exercise was a little bit of a return to myself…

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couple shoot: tilt-shift experiment I

November 19, 2009 | Filed Under friends, photography, portraits | 21 Comments 

the setting was sweet: georgetown, late afternoon, an unseasonably warm and sunny november day with a startlingly blue sky echoed in the potomac. the equipment was exciting: i rented a tilt-shift lens (canon 45mm 2.8 ts-e), which (from what i understand) is intended to offer advantages in architectural photography related to perspective and depth of field, but also makes for fantastically dreamy kinds of portraits and i wanted to try my hand at this after seeing many photographers i admire use it regularly, even for weddings. and the couple? perfect! well… don’t take my word for it, please adore their cuteness yourself :)

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niagara/finger lakes trip

November 8, 2009 | Filed Under family photos, nature, travel | 5 Comments 

here is a selection from the almost 700 images we shot on our four-night trip to niagara falls, toronto and the finger lakes… yeah, that’s why it’s taken me so long to get these up! :)
so, here’s what we did! we drove up through upstate new york on sunday, oct. 18; just hitting peak foliage color, on the way, and it was a gorgeous drive! the first night in niagara falls was very cold, but the weather warmed up for the next few days. monday we started off at the bird & reptile kingdom, for the kid, but then we “did” the falls – walking along the cliff, taking the maid of the mist, going “behind the falls,” etc., underneath such a lovely blue sky with sunlit white clouds… the next day we drove into toronto, saw the city and the CN tower, tried a few different restaurants (specifically, my husband had three different shawarmas for dinner!) then came back to niagara falls; that night we also got some shots along the cliff with the colored floodlights glowing through the mist. the next day we drove downstream to see a little more of what the falls region had to offer – niagara-on-the-lake, etc – then crossed back over the border and drove down to ithaca for the night.
the following day, we spent the morning and early afternoon sightseeing along cayuga lake and seneca lake, with all their wooded banks aflame in autumn colors and the local vineyards laden with grapes… this was our only family vacation this year, and i’m glad to say even the little one quite enjoyed himself, for the most part! we stayed at the skyline inn and we were quite happy with the experience there. but more than anything, it was just a much-needed break, to have the time to ourselves, witness something as awe-inspiring as the falls, and – for me – to take pictures for myself… :)

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just in case you’re wondering, this one’s from the bird kingdom’s reptile room…
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and this is an actual “java house” with each wall carved painstakingly from a single piece of wood… they have this kind of randomly located in the bird kingdom…
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my son, on the maid of the mist…
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“behind” the horseshoe falls
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here we were by the water in toronto…
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and this is one of the views from the CN tower
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back in niagara falls, at night…
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this is the “whirlpool” in the niagara river, downstream from the falls
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ithaca falls, by cornell university…
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a park we stopped by near taughannock falls
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and, taughannock falls! they said this is three stories higher than niagara falls…
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one of the rural, unpaved cross-roads between cayuga and seneca lakes:
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