Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

My exams are lingering on, hence my lack of entries here…however, here is something I wrote for another blog I used to author called ‘Seven Candles.’ I thought i’d import it here so its not lost in the digital annals of time….

I love photography

I love the sound of the shutter on a digital SLR.

I love the portability of a digital Compact.

I love [mostly] the spontaneousness of a disposable camera.

I love lamp.

Recently [when this was originally written, Jan’08], I came back from my first 9 day pilgrimage to Haifa where I decided not to take a SLR. This was to be my journey of the spirit and thus I felt photography wasn’t high on the agenda, especially since i’d previously already taken my SLR to Haifa the year before.

I did, however, pack a my smaller and more compact digital camera, consqeuently taking more meaninful pictures than my last trip to Israel; a sharp reminder that it’s what you do with it, that counts.

Nonetheless, whilst the choice of camera changes over years, the joy of photography remains quite steady.

Each camera is a different vehicle for a different journey. Some the equivalent of a Mini Cooper, others, an SUV…. as long as they get us from A-Z in comfort and are fun to drive, its all good…(n.b. I don’t condone SUV usage)

ICE is not important. Unless your lens’ collection is your ice.

Our creativity is limited only by our mind, eye and trigger finger.

Now before I digress further……..I returned home 9 days later and embarked on a mandatory Photoshop post-production misson… eventually coming to a common dilemna (for me anyway)…whether or not a portrait looked better desaturated to B&W or in its original colour.

Call me a geek, but i enjoyed this. In fact, this dilemna has surely affected many a photographer at some point…. ever since the choice of both colour and b&w film existed, for at least the last 50 years right?

Actually, its closer to 148 years.

The first permanent colour photograph was taken in 1861 by a Scotsman called James Clerk Maxwell.

To put this into context, 1861 was 2 years before Baha’u’llah made His Declaration in the Garden of Ridvan. It was the first year of the American Civil War and it was 10 years before the first incandescent light bulb was invented.

So what did the first colour photograph look like?

Mr.Maxwell took a photo of a ‘tartan ribbon’, and the photo (1861) is on the right:

Now, whilst this extremely early attempt of colour photo looks it was colourised by a hippie tripping on LSD, this photo was not altered after it was taken.

Later on, new methods were tried whilst old methods were improved;

The photo above was taken in 1877 by Duhauron in France.

However, about a 100 years ago, a Russian gentleman named Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, truly made colour photography come alive.

Between 1909 to 1915 he decided to document the Russian Empire. The Russia then was a land of much ethnic diversity and home to more than 150 million people–of which only about half were ethnic Russians. Here is a selection of some of his photos….. .they are all original colour photographs. No colour added, no ye olde photoshoppe.

The Emir of Bukhara-taken in 1911

Prisoners in a zindan– taken in 1910

Russian peasant girls- taken in 1909

Jewish Children and teacher-1911

Portrait of Dagestani couple- c.1910

After seeing his photos, we can really appreciate how colour not only makes the photograph more real but rather more relevant and interesting. The people featured become breathing human beings that aren’t so different from us today (apart from silly fancy dress costumes). In fact it becomes surreal because our sight and mind are used to associating 50 year old photos with sepia and black and white but now we have to tell ourselves that these colour images are almost a 100 years old….

Viewing Sergey’s photos is like going for a ride in the DeLorian and arriving back in Russia in 1909……its as vivid as photography today….thats partly down to technology… but more so down to Sergey’s talent as a photographer.

You can view many more of his photos here.

Thus next time you have the choice of permanently removing colour from a photograph, think twice about a time when the choice wasn’t taken for granted and colour photographs were more precious than the fossil record.

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

‘Kodachrome’ sung by Paul Simon


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Interesting article on how to get that golden nap:

Britons are the worst sleepers in Europe, claimed a survey last week, depicting a nation starved of sleep and facing a daily battle against red-eyed exhaustion.One in five of the population sleeps for fewer than seven hours a night, according to research from the Future Foundation for the health campaign Sleep Well Live Well. Many of these tired souls reported feeling stressed and unhappy.

Not sure about you, but I am increasingly finding more and more reasons to not sleep when I should, or difficulty in getting to sleep when I really need to…my favourite is the classic ‘weekend lie in’ but napping on the train home is particularly refreshing, as long as I don’t miss my stop home (hasn’t happened so far…)Patio Cat-crack
Read the full article here

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Right now, I am in the middle of my exam period.

However that doesn’t mean that I am completely neglecting my blog (despite the apparent lack of entries)

This will all change after the 22nd Nov, when they’re done!.

Revision is stressful but there are ways to calm yourself down;

  1. Praying
  2. Reading classical Persian poetry (Attar’s The Conference of Birds)
  3. Playing my acoustic guitar-recently learnt Purple Rain by Prince and ‘My Friends’ by RHCP.
  4. Drinking copious amounts of white tea and Persian tea.
  5. Writing, in this case a new blog entry

Whilst I could easily digress at this point about the health merits of tea (and I will in a future blog post), the association of tea with positive social experiences has been well documented, especially in the Baha’i Faith.

Orginally posted on Nylon Parla

Orginally posted on Nylon Parla

Just search for ‘tea’ on Ocean-The World Religious Library and you will see search results littered with numerous references to tea drinking, especially in the history of the Baha’i Faith.

In fact the act of drinking tea socially, was associated with one of most fundamentally significant moments in Bahá’í history  i.e. when Mulla Husayn, first met the Bab, one of the twin Manifestations and Founders of the Baha’i Faith.

It was on this evening in Shiraz, on the 22nd May, that the Báb announced to Mulla Husayn that He was the Promised One, and that night is known as the Declaration of the Báb.

Mulla Husayn recounts the events of that fateful night to Nabil, in his famous historical document, referring to the Báb’s hospitality to him:

He then gave me to drink of a refreshing beverage, after which He asked for the samovar and Himself prepared the tea which He offered me.

(Nabil-The Dawn-Breakers, p. 52)

So it comes as no surprise that I recently came across an article on my second favourite website after Facebook, BBC News, that says that warm drinks promote warm feelings…

According to US researchers, ‘people are more likely to judge strangers as welcoming and trustworthy when they are holding a hot cup of coffee, experiments show.’

The study (click to read) used coffee, but the variable being investigated was the temperature.

So time you meet somebody new for the first time, offer them a nice hot beverage.

Personally I recommend tea rather than coffee, because coffee is a greater stimulant and will only make those nervous, jittery feelings worse.

so, ’till next time….. make tea……not war! 😀

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