Wednesday, November 30, 2011


We meet a lot of people everyday while using the public transport. It is interesting to think that each of these people have a great history behind them. We generally and unconsciously tend to think that these people have a very short life story equivalent to the length of the time that our encounter lasts. However, each of these people have somehow the same amount of personal history as we do. As soon as we become conscious about that, their importance in our mind will be increased. Human mind works in mysterious ways.
I took this photo on the bus from West Edmonton Mall to university last week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TB, James Nachtwey, and a photo essay

This is an example of a great photo essay. I believe, James Nachtwey did a fantastic job, as he always do, in telling the very sad story of the harsh life for the people infected with TB. This is an example of a successful photo essay that tells the story and makes the viewer care. One should not think that anyone who has the opportunity to go to those countries can come back with such a powerful story even if he has witnessed the same thing.

I put this on my blog for several reasons. First, I wanted to bring a great example of a photo essay. Second, after seeing this I could not remain silent and not spread the word. Third, I always wanted to post about James Nachtwey. I do not think I can ever post something to do justice to one of the most amazing war and documentary photographers of our time. I will post more of his work later. If you are interested in him, you can watch War Photographer, which is a documentary about him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Story Telling

I was thinking about the evolution of my opinion about a good photograph through the years, then I realized that it has changed dramatically. There were many factors involved in changing my opinion and I am not going to go through them in this post. However, about the current state of my mind there are two things that I am sure of. First, I am sure about what I am interested in right now and the second thing is that it will be subject to a big evolution in the future. What I can tell you about it is that it is called "Story Telling".

Story telling is a way of taking photos. Photos from different genres can be subject to this type of photography. You can go from having story telling studio portraits to story telling war photographs. Even if we consider that you have a reasonable amount of control on the work that you are creating, you have very little control over the perception of the viewer and that is one of the factors that makes this very challenging. At a more complex level of story telling you will find photo essays. Photo essays take years and huge effort to create . Some photographers put their lives in jeopardy to create an essay. I hope I will find more time to talk about these things in detail in future.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alternative (Music + Photos)

I was supposed to shoot photos from the live performance of a band called Paper Lions for the newspaper.

Thursday night 7pm, I checked the schedule for Paper Lions concert in Pawn Shop on Whyte Ave. People at The Gateway told me that the show starts at 9pm, but the website said it starts at 8pm. As a result, I was there at 8pm sharp! They opened the doors at 9 (surprise surprise!).

So, finally the band started playing at 9:30pm and I took so many photos of them. Then they packed their stuff and I told myself OK I should pack too. I was about to leave, then I suddenly saw another band coming on stage! I told myself "...wait a minute! something weird is going on!". So I started asking questions from people and I realized that not only the band I photographed was not Paper Lions, but also this current band is not Paper Lions either! They will come after the second band! So I sat there and watched the bands play and made some photos until the Paper Lions came on stage. At least the music and sound quality were nice. During all this time I was telling myself that at least I do not have to waste anytime finding the right exposures for the lights since I already know it. But then when they finally came up, the stage lighting was totally changed! Anyway, I enjoyed 3 nice alternative rock bands and took some photos that I like. I have to say the staff and security at Pawn Shop were super nice to me and I have to thank them here.

I took an alternative approach in shooting this concert. I loved the movement and to play with lights. (I was not a fan of the stage lighting set up but anyway, I had to work with it!)

Some technical notes: Is the zooming effect added with Photoshop? NO! I knew some would ask so I have to say that you use a slow shutter speed, set your f-stop accordingly to give you correct exposure. Then while taking the photo, zoom out the lens and Voila! I prefer zooming out than zooming in. It gives me more control. Also be careful to put your subject kinda in the middle in this technique. Also you can only achieve this with a camera that allows you to change your zoom while taking the photo (likely an SLR). I also used external flash for some lighting effects in these photos.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Setting Sun

The fall is going away slowly and the winter is coming. The fall in Edmonton is very beautiful with many colors with the majority of golden leaves.  It was a warm afternoon, the leaves were falling, and the sun was shining. I put this leaf between the cracks of the table I was sitting on in front of my house and then composed the picture in a way that a wall with a deep shade was in the background.  After I took the photo I realized that it resembles the setting sun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Red on Blue

Time passes by very fast, like the cars passing by on a bridge. Cars won't remain on the bridge, but their red traces remain on photos, just like the red traces of things in life that remain on our blue hearts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Organized Beggars

Back in July I visited my family in Iran. We traveled to the north of Iran together. On our way back to Tehran, we stopped in the city of Amol which is located in Mazandaran province 20Km south of the Caspian sea. I saw beggars asking cars for money. So I went to take photos of them while they where sitting on the other side of the street. I was crossing the street and as soon as they saw my camera they started running away. After I went back to my side of the street, they went to a shop keeper and gave all their money to them (apparently he was their boss or something). I could see from other side of the street that they are worried about the photos since they were also pointing at me while talking to their boss.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Dance

 Dance floor was filled with people from around the world. All dancing to Salsa music. As a photographer I felt that I have to move with them, I have to feel their passion for dancing. I have to know when are they going to move, spin, look up, and smile. It was a great experience and here are a few photos of many that I took last night.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011


There are still photos left from my short trip to Iran to post here. However, I did some photography around the Fringe festival in Edmonton recently. I had to walk on Whyte Ave. in order to get to the festival. While walking on Whyte Ave. you could smell pot everywhere. It was so much that I might kinda got high when I was coming back home!
What I am posting here is a photo that I took on Whyte Ave. before getting to actual Fringe festival.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fire-Roasted Corn

Fire-Roasted corn is somehow a traditional snack in Iran. Although you could find it more in the past, there are still places that they sell it. They usually put it in a mixture of salt and water ofter being roasted to give it more taste. While I was in north of Iran near Caspian sea, there was this guy who was making and selling roasted corn. As I was passing by, I took a photo of him working and then later at night I took another photo of him. Unfortunately, there was no corn on fire that night and the business was slow. There is also this green color that you see everywhere in my photos from north of Iran. They had this big green search light pointed at the sea.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

85 Years Old

"I am 85 you know", he said with a big smile on his face after I took his photo. I could not believe this since he was so agile. I guess living near the mountains and far from the centre of the city would keep you this way. There are so many amazing faces in Iran. I was once walking with a friend and didn't have a camera on me. I was saying to myself "good photo, gone!" every 5 seconds.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Streets of Iran

I had a very limited time during my visit to Iran to dedicate to photography. I basically had only one afternoon to do some street photography in old bazaar (marketplace) of Hamedan. All the photos are made during my one visit to the old part of the city. There are, however, many photos left to post here. I will post them as soon as I find the time. 
While taking the last photo of these four photos that I am posting here, my sister took a photo of me. It seems to me that both my photo and here photo are at the exact same moment. I have also posted that photo here.

Photo of me while taking the last photo of this set of photos that I am posting here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lightning Over Caspian Sea

There is not much to say except for thanking my family for an amazing week we spent in north of Iran. I took many photos that I will post later. Special thanks to my sister Negin for pointing out the distant lightnings over the Caspian sea.
As soon as I realized that there is a thunder storm coming I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera. This was the last lightning and my second photo. The lightning flashed the sky half a second after my camera started to take the second long exposure photo. The 30 seconds I spent after that waiting for the camera to take the photo was one of the amazing feelings you get only in these situations. You can also see the tail of a kite on the top left of the photo.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

5000 Years Old City: Hamedan

It is hot. I am walking with my sister, Negin, in the old bazaar (marketplace) of Hamedan. Street photography is both easy and hard here. It is easy since there are thousands of interesting faces, events, shops, etc. It is hard because you have to choose like a predator who selects one out of a herd of a thousand. It is hard to separate a single photo from another 100 photos you can take at that moment with a hundred different events and points of views.
She has studied the architecture of Hamedan and leading me to these old places in bazaar and caravanserais. This old man was sitting at the entrance of one of the 18th century caravanserais called Golshan.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Dying Sun

Click on the photo to see the larger size.
On the road in Iran. A sheep herd is passing by and the dying sun is going down. The dust and smog from Iraq makes the distant shapes uncertain.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Another Friday night. Despite the rain, streets are filled with people waiting to enter clubs. Clubs to me are eternal ongoing parties without a host. From the very few times I went to clubs, I can say that there is something missing. I am guessing maybe some intimacy among all, or some friendship.

There was a light rain and I wished I had three hands: Two for camera and one for umbrella. I am hesitant of wrapping the camera into a plastic bag since that might make people think I am spying on them! Just love the light at nights. It is so well defined. It is so visible. In daytime you have to pay much more attention.. There are many challenges, however, that can ruin many good photos. The rain drops were glittering under the street lights while a car pulled over and the lady driver started texting. Another person was so involved in a conversation while smoking outside of a club. And then there was the phonebooth standing under the rain, so shiny, so red, and so old.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blue Moon

I know this is my photography blog but I started writing and recording songs again after a while. Here is a song composed, performed and recorded by myself at my kinda home studio. It is called Blue Moon. I hope you enjoy it. I wrote it last week.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Food Photography

It has been a while that I check Penny De Los Santos' blog. She has a very different style in food photography. It is not the stereotypical way of lighting and taking photos. It seems that her style make me feel more close to the food and more hungry!
I was making bacon and egg for my breakfast today and I took some photos. So it is a new experimental work. It is always good to push yourself out of your way.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Behind The Dirty Glass

I was taking photos on Whyte Ave some nights ago. It was around 11pm. A small sample of all sort of people were walking there: A few drunk, a few coming form club, a few homeless, and I was there in the middle of vast empty spaces between people, standing with my camera. Every once in a while you would encounter someone, somewhere, passing from the other side of the street. For some people it was a night for two, and for some other people it was a night to drink coke and coffee.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fashion/Glamor Photography

It was a nice day and the only problem was the direct sun. We have tried to avoid the sun at all costs but it was hard. I have to thank both Anastasia and Maria for their patience and cooperation. I have to also thank Dan McKechnie for helping us with the studio shots and giving us the required equipment. All I am posting here is some of the outdoor shots. Some of these photos are going to appear in a calendar. I will post the link to the calendar website as soon as it gets published.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Warm Afternoon

I usually wish for one good photo when I am going out to take photos. It is a thing that has been with me since I started doing photography, to wish for one good shot. This photo that kinda satisfies my hunger for a good shot sometimes come at the very end. However, it sometimes come at the very beginning! It was the case for the photos here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

City at Night

It was a clear sky and the stars were twinkling. City of Edmonton was shining like a treasure underneath the vast sky. The full moon was lighting up the river and the wind was singing in my ears. The clicks of the shutter were fading into the infinite emptiness of night.

Downtown Edmonton

Little Downtown
High level bridge and LRT bridge

The LRT bridge going toward university

Something worth mentioning is that I was retouching one of the bridge photos in Photoshop and then I looked at the menu and there was an option in File menu saying that "Close and go to Bridge...". At that moment I totally forgot that there was a software called Adobe Bridge and I was thinking I was at the bridge why should I close Photoshop and go again?!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Available Light!

I was taking photos on street using the very harsh sun of the afternoon. It was so harsh that I had to even use 1/4000 of a second and also use higher f-stops to prevent stuff from being burned! An ND filter would have been useful here. The reason for all this nagging about light is that in the photo with the man who plays the guitar everything is in focus because of that f number and I don't like that! Right now I found out that my ISO settings was on 1250 from the last photo shoot and I don't know how could I forget to fix such a thing! Now I can see the reason for that harsh light!

The good news is I found one of my good friends in Edmonton who was a photographer for The Gateway in 1970s. He showed me lots of his photos from Mount Everest and I am thinking of proposing a photo feature to The Gateway in September to publish his work. He is the backyard philosopher.