18 Nov. 2010


This week it is Eid al-Adha, and so there has been no photography course. It has left a surprisingly gaping hole in my planner - not because of the length (only 2 hours once a week), but because it was the only weekly activity I really looked forward to (except the thursday or friday night getting away from children thing).

Eid al-Adha is a Muslim celebration that centres around the sacrifice demanded of Abraham by God - that of his son, Ishmael. God was really just playing a dirty trick on Abraham - he wanted to see how much he was adored - test the relationship so to speak. In the end he substituted Ishmael with a ram, and so Abraham got to keep the love of God and the life of his son. Fortunately it was not me going up Mount Arafat, because I would have been asking a hell of a lot of questions.

What it means today is three days off work, inflated hotel prices, and a whole load of goats in the back of utes. Yesterday I saw a man with a shaggy nanny draped across his shoulders. Casual as anything, walking down a main road in Abu Dhabi, holding all four feet together in one hand - he'd definitely done this before. The poor old goat was just staring off blankly into the distance. I didn't have my camera ready, but remember thinking how infrequently one might see something like that on a Melbourne metropolitan street.

Husband decided that he would also make a sacrifice - 2899 dhirims for me to buy a new camera. Now I'm not saying here that in our relationship I am God (although I do wear the pants), but Husband is an irreligious infidel, and after years of having to live with Catholic guilt, I think it is reasonable to demand that he pay in at least some small way. And seriously, he is better off for it now - one, because he has that lovely warm glow you get after gifting, and two - because my return gift is the immediate cessation of "I wanna camera, I wanna camera, I wanna camera!" (times 50)

So now I have a Canon 450d with two lenses - the 18-55mm and 70-300mm. Oh my God (am I allowed to say that on a religious holiday?) It is so cool. The telephoto (70-300) is not so exciting - my old camera was almost better than this one in that respect, but the wide-angle lens is positively orgasmic. I am getting clarity and depth like I never did before, and this is only the bottom of the range Canon SLR. I have to learn everything all over again, and the first lesson was to adjust the LCD screen brightness, because I just downloaded my first batch of photos and half of them are over-exposed.

These photos were taken on the beach in Abu Dhabi, by a pretty flashy Bedouin tent owned by Sa'ala, and shared with his three camels Kashwah, Sawa and Tazala. Others are taken at the flashy-clunky Emirates Palace, and if you are wondering why Husband is flashing his gut in a relatively conservative Emirate, he is just about to go down the water-slide for the four-hundredth time.

And I didn't finish the breakfast pastry...