Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas. Trees. Stunning Sunset Sky Long Island New York

Christmas. Trees. - IMRAN™, originally uploaded by ImranAnwar.

Though it becomes harder to navigate iced over boardwalks or trudge through snow covered sand, winters also provide some incredibly clear atmospheric conditions.

Even with cloudy skies, the low humidity makes the air crackle with energy, sizzle with color, especially as it comes time for Christmas. Trees, at the Southwest side of the marina at my home, silhouetted against the majestically cold fiery sky complete the Holiday mood. Untouched, unedited photo.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, Happy Holidays to everyone.

© 2010 IMRAN

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Loving Memory Of My Beloved Father, Anwaruddin. Last Man, At Land's End.

Today is the 2nd death anniversary of my beloved father. It was literally at this hour, when I was expecting a phone call from him. The phone rang. I answered, "Hello, Abu (Dad)!". Instead, it was my brother in law saying my Father had just taken his last breath.

This photo, taken at one of the darkest times in my life, was poignant in many ways.

It was coming close to my beloved father's first death anniversary last year when I stood at my beach at home, alone, gazing into the distance, thinking of him, my Mother long gone, life, and the end that one day comes too soon.

The spot I stood at, when I took the photo on October 20, 2009, was where he and I had stood to watch a sunset exactly 13 years before that day, when he visited me in the Fall of 1996.

In a twist of fate, he had come to be by my side at a time of turmoil in my life. He literally cashed in his life's savings and brought them over to give everything to me, to tide over even a few months in that rough patch.

Things improved, great times came about, and I was able to repay him with gratitude for being the greatest father ever.

Last October, as I stood on the beach, the crisis I faced was 100 times worse than 1996. I was on the verge of losing everything I had built with 21 years of hard work in America.

But, what was most difficult was not the material loss, but knowing, I was so completely alone, now that he was gone for one year. I knew I would recover financially, if not here, somewhere else, if not now, someday in the future. But, I would never overcome the loss of both my beloved parents.

As these thoughts washed over me, I looked in the distance and the lone man standing at the end of a dilapidated pier, like a last man, at land's end, felt so symbolic of my state of affairs, and my state of mind.

Even as I saw myself in this picture, I was struck by the contrasts and the dichotomy that is so like our lives. Dark clouds on one side, with bright pink sunset light on the other, lighting the sky.

Here's to us always being true to ourselves, even when we're the last ones standing at the land's end of our own lives.

© 2009-2010 IMRAN

Monday, December 20, 2010

Microsoft's "All In" Journey "To The Cloud", Full Of Hot Air & All Out Of Gas OR Azure Blue Skies Ahead?

Kevin Murphy (a former CTO and now my colleague in an EMC/Cisco cloud computing joint venture) and I were discussing the so-called Cloud Computing "To The Cloud" campaign by Microsoft, just a few days ago.
Today I read an article by Jeff Kaplan, one of my fellow contributors to the very respected INTERNET EVOLUTION media site. Jeff's piece was titled: "What Microsoft's 'To the Cloud' Ads Really Promote".
He is right that the definition of Cloud can still be considered somewhat fluid. But, quite frankly, among actual cloud buyers and vendors, there is enough general understanding and agreement of it, that Microsoft's ads cannot use a vast, errrr, umbrella definition, where everything can be stuck with the Cloud tag.
I ask: If McDonald's burgers can be promoted by a coupon in an iPhone app, is suddenly Hamburger the latest "solution" going "to the cloud"?
I agree with Jeff about how various consumer-driven technology companies' (like Amazon, Apple) great success with cloud based solutions has been a huge driver for the corporate acceptance of the concept. Nothing in these Microsoft ads makes a Cloud Computing industry or corporate buyer think of Azure, their cloud platform offering, which I see having immense potential. So, one assumes the target audience for the ads is consumers.
I think Jeff gives too much credit to Microsoft, thanking them for giving everyday meaning to users to make cloud a tangible benefit providing service. But, that is counter to the already stated fact that Apple, Amazon, FaceBook, etc. were what even Salesforce's go-to-market approach was driven by. So, in that case, Microsoft is offering too little, too late for the consumer cloud services business.
Almost nothing I see in the Microsoft cloud ads shows anything that is a specific service or feature or offering or value added solution from Microsoft. Or something they are not already familiar with. That is why I think Microsoft is doing itself a great disservice.
But, that is typical of Microsoft. When you don't understand something well enough, try to confuse everyone else. Maybe it is not intentional in the case of cloud. At least Microsoft did not completely miss the boat and then try to jump on board trying to become skipper of the cloud ship, like Larry Elison of Oracle.
Even AT&T's decade-old ads of "putting your kid to bed from a world away...." and "the company that will bring it to you, AT&T..." clearly showed the vision, and their attempt to stake a claim in the then-budding network based services future. They were touchy feely, but showed specific use-cases in a not-so-distant future. And they showed how the telecom network (a primary business of AT&T at that time) would be the carrier of such services. Not that I would trust AT&T (that shows Call Failed on my iPhone far too many time, even in areas showing full signal strength!).
Microsoft's ads for Cloud are not as lame as the Windows 7 ads I could not stand, where a dweeb (I hope that is not a dirty word) walks around the house describing things in Windows 7 that were "his idea" — yet were doable in Macs and even Windows PCs for years. But they neither serve the business audience with a clear compelling story, nor show anything that consumers can't already do.
So, what do I make of these Microsoft ads? Even while I am working at a cloud computing vendor focusing on private cloud, I feel Microsoft has huge potential to be a strong force in Cloud Computing with its Azure platform. But, it seems for now they have not completely figured out what to do, and how to do it. In the meantime, the poor marketing folks likely are under pressure to do something, air something, that shows Microsoft is committed to the cloud. Sorry guys, hate the ads, but, I've been through similar situations as you probably are in.
Even as a frequent Windows critic, I have to say the company is getting much better. Windows 7 is the first Windows OS I purchased with my own money even to run on my VMware Fusion and Parallels emulators as virtual machines rather than XP that I already had. While I could not stop laughing at the Zune, I marvel at how amazing Xbox is as a platform -- and how far behind Microsoft current consumer gadgetry king Apple is on the TV front.
I can curse at PowerPoint but I bought and love having the latest versions of Office on my Macs and Windows machines. If Apple ever thinks it can make a real play for the enterprise, all Microsoft has to do is pull the plug on Office for Mac. And, much that I love my MacBook Pros, Macs and OS X, the first thing I insisted on deploying in my CIO role was Microsoft's SharePoint --- when even the PC using techies reporting to me did not think it was a good platform. It really goes to show that Microsoft is starting to get it, and hence will be a strong competitor to any current leader. Just give it two or three years.
But here is the downside that I think Microsoft needs to be aware of. In typical fashion like many big companies with shallow understanding of disruptive market forces but deep pockets, their ads annoy those who know what Cloud is about, confuse those who don't know what Cloud is, and just enrich TV channels and an ad agency — with touchy-feely ads which mean nothing, today, or in the future.
That is just In My Humble Opinion.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crossing The Bridge, Without Hitting Rock Bottom - IMRAN™

I am writing these words, and posting this photo, while visiting San Francisco, California.

This photo was taken just about 2 years ago, just 3 weeks before the passing away of my beloved Father in Pakistan.

A lot of difficult things were going on in my life, but I was not worried. I have always remembered the advice he gave me.

Prepare for the worst, but always Hope for the best.

I have therefore always believed in "crossing that bridge when I get to it" and knowing that life can always surprise you.

Even then, I had no idea on that day, as I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, that my life would so quickly unravel.

A few weeks later, my Father was dead, gone forever, but living forever in my heart and memory. People who had seemed to be a part of my life showed their true colors, in my time of direst need, when an economic downturn led me to lose almost everything I had worked 21 years to get. But, other human beings, some good people, and some angels in disguise, continued to hover nearby with their love and support.

The next nearly 18 months were a surreal experience. I could be tempted to say, "It was a living hell"... but it was not.

Every day, every loss, every negative news, every lost opportunity, every closing door, every humbling experience, made me realize how very lucky I was, and am.

I realized that the worst day of that life was better than not being alive. The most difficult situation I faced was nothing compared to not having my health and abilities.

And, the roads were narrow and long, the lonely walks even to go get food, in snow and rain, were cold and brutal.

And the shaky, fog covered, rickety bridges, kept on appearing in the road ahead...

And I kept on.... as my father would have wanted.... as I knew no other way, and there was no other path, but ahead.

I kept crossing the bridge, but believing in God, even more, every passing day, that he would never let me ever experience, or feel, like I had hit Rock Bottom.

These rocks at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge are a poignant reminder of where I was and where I passed.

Te dark alleys of life I passed through in the last 2 years in the time after this photo was taken, the journey I am still on, and, at every step, confidently and boldly looking up at new horizons.... with my head bowed down in complete surrdener and gratitude. Thank You, God.

© 2008-2010 IMRAN

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sea(rch) Light, See Bright Sea Of Light, On Ocean Of Time Slipping By

Thank you all. My 26th Explore! October 29, 2010.

It appers no sooner has the morning sun appeared when we find out we have rushed through to the end of another magnificent day.

No sonner has a new year risen, that it is time to start preparing to bid it adieu.

This bright sea of light under a darkening but joyous red sky, at my home beach, on Long Island, NY, was taken on January 10, 2010. And, today, it is already coming to the end of October, 2010.

A bright, silent moment to reflect upon the silent majesty of our humble lives.

To step back, feeling the sand in our feet and sands of time sliding through our fingers.

To see how the cycle of a day that flashes by so quickly, suddenly becomes the passing of a lifetime.

Make the best of every minute, every moment.

Live every breath with every depth of soul you can muster.

See the bright sea of light that reminds us of todays gone and tomorrow around the horizon.

Until, if we are blessed, the last vision we have is a bright sea of light, a golden pathway opening before us, beckoning us, our souls, over the horizon, into the promise of the great unknown.

May we do the best we can when we are here. May God Bless our souls when we are gone.

© 2010 IMRAN

Monday, November 29, 2010

On Securely Making Cloudy Claims About Cloud Security

PC World reported on the speech by a former hacker known as MafiaBoy, who was arrested for lots of insidious activities. Now, he was a guest speaker, in Toronto, Canada, at a forum organized by a well-known Japanese storage vendor.

His contention was that Cloud Computing has serious security vulnerabilities and that Security is an afterthought among vendors.

I am certain the reformed hacker is a very, very, smart man. I am positive, no amount of security can be enough to ever guarantee perfection. However, the whole approach and message was a bit yawn-inducing for me. He was restating the obvious, wrapped in a bit of irresponsible FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), with a ribbon of future "I told you so" claims tying it up nicely.

That is like someone being arrested for throwing medical trash into a town's water tank, and then going on CNN or Fox News Channel to make a generalized claim, like, "There are serious vulnerabilities in our whole nation's public drinking water supply." That person can then sit back while people wonder if they should all be drinking bottled water only.

Some of the other contentions of people who like hearing that kind of message, commenting at the PC World site, were that Cloud Computing is nothing but Client Server with a new label. OK, if someone said Cloud Computing is sort of like On-Demand Computing — but with both the ON and the DEMAND parts kicked into high gear in the marketplace — I would have agreed a bit.

Yes, of course, many of the concepts of Cloud Computing are derived from the evolution of previous computer system architectures and paradigms. But, if Cloud Computing is exactly the same as Client-Server, then it is even more "same" as mainframes and dumb terminals of yester-century.

For the first time in modern history, the true power of the Internet can be harnessed by every one, and every business, at every level, for almost every function, with the same type of access previously only giant multinationals could afford.

Even with the Internet boom, the overall benefits to us, ordinary people, were limited in type and scope.

We could enjoy email accounts of our own. With a bit of web hosting, using $5 per month packages, we could put up web sites as slick as the biggest multinationals (whether someone ever visited our web sites or not).

But, we could not venture into scaling beyond those basic limits.

A company with 20 employees could not afford true ERP or CRM solutions. An art movie studio with 5 creators could not expect to take on a movie requiring 10,000 hours of rendering time, without their idea being passe' while their 5 PCs or Apple Macs chugged along for 5 years.

Now they can rent software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or a ton of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) as and when they need, without needing a million Dollars budget.

These, and countless other, aspects of cloud computing are leveling the playing field for individuals and the smallest businesses, which no Client Server solution did.

The benefits big business are gaining from Cloud Computing are even more obvious. From hardware and software license cost savings, to energy savings, to better utilizing available resources with available headcount, reducing total cost of ownership for once without having to resort to the typical head count reductions of past years, are just a few. Quick provisioning of application development and test environments, in hours, affordably, and then spooling it down, are additional examples.

So, going back to our esteemed and honorable ex-hacker's contentions about Security, let's ask: Is Security important? No. It is not important, it is ESSENTIAL.

But, for anyone to say that Cloud vendors are thinking of security as an afterthought is absolutely ridiculous. It is even more silly posturing than politicians of all parties typically indulge in, with meaningless statements that raise their audiences' fear levels. Just recently I wrote a popular item, which discussed the Cloud Security Alliance's good work, especially in the area of enabling greater levels of governance, risk management and compliance in Cloud.

An important thing to keep in mind is that Next Generation Data Centers, with highly converged and virtualized infrastructures, are not being created out of thin air, with paper, glue and paint. They are being created by integrating, and hardening, existing parts of the solution stack - virtualization, network, compute, and storage.

None of these elements consists of some untested new gadget created in a lab by two geeks and their dog. Each element has industry leaders, and strong competitors. Each has its own security postures, needs and mechanisms. And, vendors who are putting together the entire vertical stack, either from in-house, or partner technologies, are all working to build additional wrappers of Security. Trusted Multi-Tenancy, authentication and access control, encryption of data at rest and in flight, are just some examples of additional wrappers being built around the "core-stack" and what is in the "box".

Is this all perfect? Of course not? But, even the most secure, non-cloud, current data centers of big corporations have shown how Security can be breached.

From millions of credit card numbers being stolen, to WikiLeaks, even when Security is the most talked about topic, e.g. in financial services, government, military, healthcare, etc., some "misguided" (read malicious) person can find a way into any system, or may already be inside the system (as an employee).

What is required is for people like the former hacker to specify examples of where they see major vulnerabilities, how they would fix them, or how they suggested the fix and some vendor(s) or clients did not listen. I will be happy to take him to industry leaders at industry leading companies even better known than the large firm he was a guest of.

But, then, he better have some specific risks and vulnerabilities identified, with specific recommendations and proposed solutions. Otherwise, there are plenty of people who can sit outside complaining about a "problem" without being part of a "solution." Who has got time for those.

What do you think vendors need to pay more attention to, immediately, to make Cloud Computing more secure?


Imran Anwar is founder of Internet email in Pakistan, co-founder and co-owner of the .PK ccTLD of Pakistan, and founder of the credit card industry there. As a New York based technology, cloud computing, strategy, marketing, media and business professional he is often seen and heard on global media like CNN, Fox News, Express TV, WWRL and many others. These are Imran's personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of any employer, parent company, client, family member or other persons or organizations. Phew!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Orion's Belt And Ocean's Beach

Orion's Belt And Ocean's Beach
by Imran Anwar

Standing, in time, vast Ocean's Beach,
Towering over tiny grains of sand,
Some dark, wet, others pale and dry.
Gazing up, hours, at blue moonlit sky,
Sparkling stardust, ours, waiting at hand.
Orion's Belt, my spirit pants to reach.
One day, I'll be among those stars,
Smiling at beautiful life from afar!

© 2010 Imran Anwar

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Governing Governance, Risking Risky Analysis Paralysis & Complying With Compliance In Successful Cloud Computing Initiatives

The Cloud Security Alliance, just announced a new stack to address issues of governance, risk management and compliance for the nascent but exploding cloud computing industry. InformationWeek has a good short news report on the subject.

I consider this welcome news, from two perspectives - as an individual professional opinion; and as the opinion of someone leading vertical solutions and service provider offers planning & management, at an industry-leader cloud technology company.

Cloud Computing has been fortunate that its hype only slightly exceeded the real world benefits it provides, and its ad-hoc, vendors and clients deciding what's best for them, implementation of governance, risk and compliance management were "just good enough" to keep the ball rolling. For early adopters, and for those seeking immediate TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and ROI (Return On Investment) value of next generation data center models, with highly converged virtualized infrastructure, this was not a show stopper.

But, for the Cloud industry to evolve to the next stage, where it literally can explode to the stage, which would make the latest set of analyst predictions, such as those quoted in the article above, actually likely to come true, governance, risk and compliance issues had to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The challenge in every new paradigm (or even what some consider a repackaged old paradigm enabled by technology capabilities that enable the concept to take off this time) is to balance between extremes along those three lines of concerns.

I have called attention to these topics in the past in print and online. My concern has been that overly excited buyers, and sell-at-all-costs vendors could lead to risky behavior on one side of the spectrum, while analysis paralysis would keep a huge majority from losing out on the benefits of cloud computing.

What is needed, as I have said before, is a pragmatic and practical approach; rather than utopian and impossible drives for perfection, that cannot be achieved in one, much less, three areas of importance like GRC. Add to that the complexity and impossibility of agreement, a situation in which every stakeholder brings their own colored and colorful viewpoint.

The need is for comprehensive, but not onerous, approaches to governance; risk management without seeking absolute, "perfect", impossible to achieve, levels of "zero risk"; and compliance standards that enable enterprise and service provider moves to cloud models, rather than being roadblocks. These are are all essential steps without tripping up clients or vendors.

The CSA's latest contribution to successfully achieving these is a free GRC stack, a set of toolkits, for enterprise customers, vendors of cloud & security solutions, as well as those tasked with auditing IT. The toolkits are, Cloud Audit, Cloud Controls Matrix and the Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire (Apparently they did not spend much time on coming up with a better name for this last one!). You can download the GRC stack free.

This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, GRC nirvana. There will be many significant areas, from Department of Defense related federal requirements, to the extremely granular levels of security an increasingly networked global financial system requires, and many others.

But, I hope, and remain confident, that this will be the first in an ongoing series of steps towards ever-improving quality of governance, risk management and compliance standards, which will help cloud vendors and users alike.

Imran Anwar is founder of Internet email in Pakistan, co-founder and co-owner of the .PK ccTLD of Pakistan, and founder of the credit card industry there. As a New York based technology, media and business professional he is often seen and heard on global media like CNN, Fox News, Express TV, WWRL and many others. These are Imran's personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of any employer, employer's parent companies, clients, family members or other persons or organizations. Phew!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Non-HDR Unnaturally Natural High Dynamic Range High Neon Hydrangea At High Noon

This is one of the most unnatural looking yet completely natural colors I can recall capturing. This non-HDR shot shows stunningly high dynamic range of my neighbor's highly Neon bright Hydrangea to the side of my house at high noon.

It was nearing mid-day when I stepped out of the house to take some pictures on an especially vivid, blindingly bright, Summer day in June.

Usually the weather at my home at that time can be somewhat hazy from humidity and heat on Long Island, New York.

This day it was definitely glowing warm and the sun was almost vertically above. These plants are at the corner of my neighbor's house, and partly shaded - but the grassy grounds that stretch behind the house were awash in the bright hot light of the sun.

I cannot take credit for the spectacular colors the Nikon D300 captured at ISO280. I was simply shooting in Program mode - while bending over backwards (literally) to frame the three depths of flowers aligned but visible for a bokeh effect and playing with the 100-300 (450mm eq) lens.

I hope you too can feel the heat and afterglow from this image.

© 2010 IMRAN

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mast(er)s Of The Sea

As a late Fall sun started to set on the golden hills along the Golden Gate Bridge, still relatively late compared to New York's earlier forays into winter darkness, at 7:45 PM, I braved the breeze and decided to walk across the length of the bridge.

Along the way, I managed to shoot some pretty spectacular sunsets you have seen here earlier, made special by my managing to catch scenes without the ongoing rush of traffic spoiling the shot.

With the Pacific Ocean beckoning the sun into it's calming lap to the right of me, I looked down to my left and saw the idyllic scene of sailboats, masters of the sea, sitting in silence, as cosmic winds of photons swept by them to crash glowingly into the amber green earth behind them. A golden moment to remember, from whereever I see, to shining sea.

© 2008-2010 IMRAN

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pink Blew On Sky Blue Sky

SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, tweaking, of ANY kind. Only framed in Photoshop & saved original 16.2MB Nikon RAW image as a 5.5MB JPG.

I've seen some of the bluest skies in the world in my travels. The soft yet crisp blue of Colorado to the beatific blues of the Bahamas's skies, blues like that make other places' skies sing the blues.

Yet, this completely unedited RAW Nikon image of the sky over the delectable pink flowering tree's blooms was simply breathtaking.

The soft luscious tendrils of pink were aroused in excitement from the warmth of summer's passion. They yearned to reach for the sky, caressing it's distant face with sweet brushing motions. The sky lit up, tickled pink.

I think you will appreciate the unusually lovely pink and blue shades. What a wonderful world in everything around us.

Taking the picture was interesting. A neighbor of mine was working on something so I borrowed his 6 feet (2 meters) ladder to precariously climb atop it to get close to the blooms. I would have caught them even sharper if it were not for a a very windy day at the start of July that was whipping the branches wildly. But, more than focus (the bokeh in the back looked nice) the colors are just amazing to me.

© 2010 IMRAN

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Impossible Is Nothing: Sailboat Sailors' Masts Support Solar Mass

This sunset to the side of my house, silhouetting my neighbor's home and the mast of my sailboat next to others, was an interesting contrast of solid colors, themes, ideas and visual & verbal imagery.

It seemed as if the masts' as black rods were levitating a white hot solar mass floating above them, in a red hot sky on a cool November evening.

As I reflect at Dawn on this bright image of dark silhouettes of Sunset one year ago, I am reminded of the power of miracles. Surreal events in our life that can make the impossible become possible. Guaranteed things that we take for granted that do not transpire. Such is the magic of life. Such is the drama of living.

All we can do is live every day, knowing, believing, that Nothing Is Impossible.

And, Impossible Is Nothing.

© 2009-2010 IMRAN

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eyes Froze On Rose With Sense Of Sensual Unfurl

SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, tweaking, of ANY kind. Only framed in Photoshop & saved ~14MB Nikon RAW image as a 5MB JPG.

It's everywhere I see. It's everywhere I imagine. It's everywhere I touch. It's everywhere I feel. A sense of sensuality.

Lovers wrapped beneath white silky sheets in the dark of night, or in the open broad daylight vision of lust as pink petals unfurl against sheaths of green splendor in the grass.

My eyes froze on this stunning rose in my flower bed in a spectacular Summer afternoon at home. The luscious pink petals parting like the lips of an inviting Lolita, making the stem and bud beneath it rise, responding to the lust of life, to push up, seeming to bend its tip around the lower petals of the budding rose.

Is it only me? Or, does sensuality not drip from every moment of this stunning life and world around us?

© 2010 IMRAN

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Golden(Star)Gate To A Nearby Distant World - IMRAN™

Just a few meters/yards in distance - and a few moments in time (the distance between two events) - away from the Golden Gate (Sun Hanging On A Wire) photo, of a universe seemingly divided, was this surreal Godly vision. (Human operated camera at 1/2500th second f/25 at ISO1600).

A setting sun, exopsing rising new horizons, railings glowing red hot but with a soothing welcoming tone. A bird soaring on a heavenly rich red Gold colored sky, from what you see to shining sea, a red hot molten lava color but so cool to soak in the view of, a pacific ocean of calmness emanating from the Pacific Ocean waters, glowing through clear airborne fluids and fogginess of moist inviting and approaching night.

O'. what a wonderful world.

© 2010 IMRAN

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Plum Sky, Fire Fly

Plum Sky, Fire Fly - IMRAN™, originally uploaded by ImranAnwar.

What I found interesting about this handheld photo, of Red, White and Blue fireworks captured to the side of my home (as opposed to the ones behind the house overlooking the Great South Bay) was the hot flare brightness contrasting with the plum colored smoke filled cloudy almost foggy sky.

© 2010 IMRAN

Saturday, October 02, 2010

My Boat, Bay, Sun, NY Boat Basin

Thank you all. My 25th Explore! September 16, 2010.

I've been traveling with limited access so I am sorry not to have responded to several hundred comments, dozens of emails, and have also not had a chance to comment on friends' photos

I love boating. I love yachting. I've taken both my Sea Ray SunDancers (23' and 40') to NYC from Long Island, several times over the years. Motorboating around Manhattan, especially at sunset, when the sun reflects on Manhattan's stunning skyline, is best seen from the New Jersey side. Nothing more spectacular than to see My Boat, Bay, Sun and the NY Boat Basin.

Well, technically speaking, this is not a Bay. But, the width of the Hudon River, between Manhattan, NY and New Jersey, is wider than some Bays I have boated in.

The NY Boat Basin at 79th Street, is a delightful and unexpected vision in one of the world's busiest cities. Joggers and bikers zip by you as you walk along the waterfront. The marina has a few decent sized boats, but not the mega-yachts you would expect to see line the slips.

The area is not far from where the Miracle On The Hudson flight crash-landed safely in the river.

This image of the setting sun, reflecting on the water, tinging everything with liquid Gold light, was captured near the end of Summer 2010.

The arch of the structure I took this photo from (where I also photographed the dazzling Daisy) makes a delightful curved silhouette almost as if it was done by a computer.

© 2010 IMRAN

loc: 40.786872N, -73.9841W

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Balance Of Power Balance On Flower


SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, tweaking, of ANY kind. Only framed in Photoshop & saved 14MB RAW image as 4MB JPG.

As the world grapples with terror and fear, death and destruction, threats of preemptive attacks and death raining from the sky trying to eradicate those who blow themselves up in crowds of innocent people, it makes one wonder what kind of planet we have turned this into.

As a nation united on 9/11/2001 now stood a nation disunited in the United States of America on 9/11/2010... As the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was flooded, by water and downpours of tears mourning the death the life giving liquid caused, as so-called Islamists murdered thousands more Muslims in suicide attacks while the corrupt leaders fought over who should have the right to rape and pillage the country.... As the....

As this non-stop flow of horror stories of so called humanity in my own two homelands made the news, my hopes were raised by this simple shot taken in the flower beds of my next door neighbor. A beautiful bright yellow butterfly, in a perfect balance of power, balanced on a yellow flower, in perfect matching colors and in perfect harmony, giving me hope... Yes, we CAN all get along.

© 2010 IMRAN

PS Stopped at the side of the road en route to Boston and typed these lines quickly to post for your enjoyment. I will check for typos and grammar later. Thank you for your appreciation.





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Friday, September 10, 2010

Build Bridges Of Faith, At Golden Gates

As I had walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, California, at sunset, the falling sun seemed to slide down the support cables.

The scene, as I took this un-cropped photograph, and the image when I look at it today, remind me of the ball dropping at New Year's in Times Square, New York with Christians' Christmas festivities all around at that time.

I am writing these lines at 3AM on September 10, 2010. It is nearly 9 years since that same great city, New York, was attacked, and the world was torn asunder by evil doers killing in the name of religion. While bigoted American right wing politicians use false logic and other fallacies as an excuse to attack Islam, Muslims around the world, in the meantime, are being killed by the same AlQaeda in even greater numbers than American Christians, Muslims and Jews killed on 9/11. But, that is ignored by the bigots.

I am also writing this one day before another hate monger, a so-called pastor in Florida, who looks more like an illiterate inbred retired porn star than a man of God, is planning to fan the flames of bigotry and hatred, by burning the Muslims' Holy Book, the Quran. He is more like an agent of Lucifer and secret brother of Osama Bin Laden than a real Christian or a true American.

I salute the many Christian and Jewish religious leaders who have spoken clearly and boldly against this bigot. President Obama and leaders around the world, US military leaders, and media personalities have been clear in expressing their feelings. I salute even more the everyday Americans, including far more Christians and Jews than even American Muslims, who have been heard on radio and TV, seen on blog posts and in new media outlets, condemning this hate monger. And, that makes me believe again, that a new day may be dawning soon, even as the sun sets and darkness seems to loom.

Today and tomorrow also marks the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid celebration for Muslims around the world. It is also the Jewish New Year. And the imagery of the photo becomes even more poignant.

The brightness of the sun verging on bright, but risking falling into darkness, hanging on the thread of hope for peace, but split like the photo frame, into left and right, upper and lower portions, further split by the railing - like the barriers of intolerance, bigotry, hatred and ignorance that divide the world.

How ironic that this philosophical imagery battle is played out on, what else, but a bridge, which is more of what the world needs. A golden light gate opening.

A bridge between people. A bridge between nations. A bridge between faiths. A bridge between yesterday and tomorrow, appearing today.

May this Today, be a Happy Eid and Rosh Hashanah and may the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas season allow the barriers to break down, for the light of love and peace to spread, for hands and hearts to reach out, across the barrier and over the bridge, in interfaith and internation brotherhood... for love, for peace, forever.

© 2008-2010 IMRAN

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Warm Thanksgiving Feeling(s) Chilling On Chilly Easy Labor Day

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Waking up wrapped in cotton sheets, I am seeing the shimmering silky satin sheetlike sheen spread over the Great South Bay waters - at the back of the place I'm blessed to call home.

The unexpectedly cool weather is a reminder of heartwarming coming Thanksgiving, and for Thanks Giving to God. For every day of life, every moment of joy, for the amazing parents and adventure of life, for what has been and all that & those who are yet to come.

As the year hurtles towards a close, as life rushes towards an eventual end, all I can think, as tears of gratitude fill my eyes, and words of shukrana (شکرانہ) ring in my ears, for years, decades, of blessings it would take me centuries to count.

Thank you God, for letting me appreciate and unwrap every moment like a precious gift and every day like Eid (عید) & Christmas Day.


iPhone4 Video Clip

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Daily Times Pakistan Runs Islam Bashing Palestine Smashing Zionist AIPAC Ads

I am a big proponent of peace in the Middle East. I have also always questioned the Pakistan policy of being anti-Israel when so-called enemies of Israel and thaikedaars of Islam, the Arabs, quietly go about doing business with Israel. I am always amazed by the Pakistani public, which cannot stop making speeches about Jihad against India to liberate Kashmir, completely ignore the traditional Palestinian support of India. Plenty of people used to have posters of Yasser Arafat on their walls, though he considered India's late assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi his "sister".

When all is said and done, Pakistan and Israel have more in common than not. They both won freedom from the British Empire. They were both created in the 1947-48 timeframe, as nations carved out of the land of another nation's land for a religious minority. They are surrounded by much bigger enemies from the other religion. Though they are both created for the people of a particular religion, they both haze sizable minorities.

They also have both been traditionally moderate liberal societies where their respective fundamentalists have assassinated leaders considered too modern or moderate. Both are also US allies, but of course the Jewish influence of US politics is a subject books can be written about while in Pakistan's case any such influence could be listed on the back of a folder paper napkin.

Both nations' cultures and societies have tended to be entrepreneurial and generally kids are encouraged to study (though Pakistan's vast illiteracy rates versus Israel's high literacy rate are a sad comparison). Engineers and Doctors are among the most popular professions, not to mention Lawyers.

Both also share the shameful treatment of their religious minorities. In the case of a Pakistan, though, it is a small evil minority of terrorists willing to kill themselves to blow up fellow Muslims in mosques. In the case of Israel it is a far greater state sponsored display of terrorism when kids throwing rocks in OCCUPIED PALESTINE are shot dead, when in their zeal to kill a Palestinian leader the Israeli Air Force drops 1000 lb. bombs into a residential neighborhood, killing innocent civilians and not the actual target.

What gives Israel this seeming Green Light to commit mini-genocides, theft of occupied land, state to state terrorism and official piracy on the high seas, is the shameful weakness of the USA. In America it is considered political suicide to question policy (a political topic) on Israel (a country) because the often-Jewish-owned or controlled media organizations here (easy to check the ownership of the top newspaper and magazine chains here) and the Zionist lobby will brand that person an anti-Semite!

From Marlon Brando to Oliver Stone, as I wrote even in 1996, even the gods of Hollywood have bowed to the Israeli lobby. None is more insidious, or more an intellectual-terrorist, than AIPAC, in its meticulous targeting of anyone who dares raise a voice against Israel.

So, while I am praying for peace in the Middle East between Palestine (Occupied) and Israel (and also between Pakistan and India on a liberated Kashmir), until AIPAC stops its shameless and insidious control of dissent and debate on Israeli policy of the USA, I have to consider organizations like it and other Zionist fascist genocidal groups in Israel as enemies of peace, Palestinians, Pakistanis and people everywhere, just as AlQaeda is.

AlQaeda tries to destroy America and the world openly. Organizations like AIPAC will gladly burn America and the world on the altar of their domination and control agenda. (Please note, considering AIPAC and the Zionist lobby to be evil is NOT anti-Semitism - which is the typical attack-response we expect and get when anyone questions these insidious entities.)

So, while I would love to see Pakistan and Israel also normalize relations, and leverage the hardworking and smart people they both are blessed with, I find it abhorrent that a newspaper like the Daily Times (which I believe is owned by a PPP Governor in Pakistan) does not seem to care that it's web site shamelessly displays blatant Zionist Lobby advertising.

Yes, I know, it's an online ad from Google. But, site owners have control on what they want advertised or not. Even my personal site has Google ads where I recall setting it not to display alcohol, etc. ads. I do not have a huge staff to even monitor this as the Daily Times owners do.

What a shame that for a few pennies this supposedly Pakistani Muslim newspaper and its owners (in dangerously high positions of power in Pakistan) are showing their complete lack of character. What the Daily Times does is like some paper called The Jewish Daily Times running an ad for a German pro-Nazi group. Jews don't all hate all Germans, but I am sure they don't go running Nazi Party ads for a few cents or paisas, as the Daily Times is doing.

But, then, what would you expect from a newspaper owner family that shamelessly steals intellectual property from newspapers and content creators - despite being repeatedly asked to stop.

Here is a screen capture of the friend of Sehyooni AIPAC Daily Times Lahore Pakistan on, ironically, Friday.

Pakistan Lahore Daily Times Friend Of Israel

Friday, September 03, 2010

Fog Horns Way Into (Long Island) Sound Vision

Dark Fog Horns Way Into Lighthouse (Long Island) Sound Vision - IMRAN™ — Read The Action Movie Storyline!

My 23rd Photo In Explore! September 3, 2010.

A Long Island Sound Vision To Remember.

It was Wednesday. News was pouring in that Hurricane (or Tropical Storm for some people) Earl was racing up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. It was headed towards Massachusetts by Friday, with a glancing blow expected on Long Island.

Ahead of the storm's impending arrival, I knew the air would start getting moisture laden. Since there was no heavy cloud cover, it meant there was a good chance of catching the setting sun's light through the hazy prism precursor of nature's looming fury.

I had to drive back from Boston to New York. Even though the ferry ticket for car & driver ($50) and a bite to eat ($20) would add to the cost, it was a calculated gamble I had to take.

I timed my Boston departure to ensure I would get on the New London, CT Cross Sound Ferry to Orient Point, NY departing at 6PM.

This would ensure I would be making the nearly 17 miles long angled crossing of the Long Island Sound (Atlantic Ocean water between Long Island's North Shore and the states of Connecticut) as the sun would be signing out in anticipation of the hurricane's outer edges.

I-395 was a pleasure to drive on as traffic was clear enough for me to arrive at the terminal by 5:30 PM. I boarded the ferry, posted a few tweets and FaceBook Wall updates and got ready for the ride.

The haze was getting heavier and the late afternoon sun made the sky behind the New London skyline appear to glow a dull orange tinged gray.

But, I smiled. From my experience photographing sunsets yachting in Miami, Florida, I realized it also meant the Sun would likely become more and more gold-red as it set. A photographer's dream.

I snapped photos ( 12-14MB RAW Nikon D300 images, presented here at less than 4MB framed) from the top deck of the ferry. The wind was gusting, in my face, slapping my cheeks, bringing tears of joy only a mariner knows and loves standing against, yet being one with, nature's power.

Despite the whipping wind the water inside the Sound to the West was eerily calm as you can see in this photo. It was protected from the wind's effects by the body of Long Island.

As the Ferry approached the North East tip of Long Island, and Orient Point Ferry Terminal came into view, I realized that the best shot of this marker with the Sun over and behind it would be from the lower deck. As the boat's droning engines hummed, the vibrations of powerful motors lifting the bow (nose) cone reverberated under my feet. The vessel carrying it's cargo of nearly 100 cars and several hundred people arced into the space between Block Island and Long Island, where, in an irony of names, the waters of Block Island Sound and Long Island Sound collided in total silence.

Nikon strapped around my neck and behind my shoulder, like an assault weapon that shoots beauty and joy instead of bullets, I did my best (wannabe) action movie star impersonation.

I confidently moved on the rolling deck towards the staircase. Hooking my arms around the railings on either side of the stairway down, I took a leap of faith, childish joy and adrenaline rush.

Sliding down, like sailors we see going down submarine stairways in movies and TV shows, I ensured that the Nikon lens was hugging me tight in front and not likely to hit the metal frames.

Landing on my feet like a Shock and Awe soldier, in one fluid motion I was already stepping towards the side of the boat, with a "Shoot & Ahhh!" moment facing me.

My left hand was starting to zoom out the lens while the right hand was powering up my shooting weapon, as a well trained Marine(r), while the "actor/director" in me wrapped that (silent) movie scene of my non-Hollywood action star career in one take.

I crouched, semi-kneeled, camera up to my face.... The viewfinder framing perfect moments of beauty going by at nearly 20 mph...

At this close distance and relatively high speed, wind gusts and the turning boat's rolling motion were all conspiring for the perfect capture to elude me.

I knew, I had faith, I could do it. I knew it was the start of a new month, a new phase, a new chapter, a new mission.... like my own action movie, it was, The Hunt For Red September.

The moments are in caught in a warm hued freeze frame. I click. I frame. I shoot. I dot not ask questions. Time slides by. Water rushes by. One moment merges into the next. That moment, yes, that one, there it went. It would never return in this space-time continuum. I have to capture it for all eternity.

I twist to my right, still zooming, framing, aiming and keeping the camera level, as the structure seems to be sliding to the right and the sun behind it trying to escape the camera frame. I shoot again.

I knew, this is it. My mind raced, my soul stood still. I clicked. I shot again and captured this Sound Vision in a miracle of life, light and line of sight. (This is the full frame, no cropping, luckily even the horizon is fairly level so no straightening done either).

The Hunt For Red September.... Mission Accomplished.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jet Bƒlew, Ready To Land In Air, ƒLowering Landing Gear

It was an extremely bright afternoon in early Summer 2010, It was taken on the same day as the very popular Pink Flood picture of a different bush.

The previous day I had noticed these flowers (name, anyone?) at the front of my neighbor's home to the East of my house. I made it a point to step out and take a few shots on this day.

Even though this is just a 5MB JPG from a 14MB RAW image, shot at 1/500 seconds, ISO 200 at 450 mm equivalent zoom. No cropping, no color boosting. In taking the picture I had accidentally set exposure to −1eV so I had to brighten it to fix that mistake. Sorry, can't claim SOOC on this one.

I am still stunned by the texture details the Nikon D300 captured on the flowers. It is pretty amazing for a handheld shot at that zoom level (even though I say so myself :) ).

The pink specks, the almost paper/fabric faux-flower like edges, the serrations on the leaves and the gold and white stamens on white and pink petals.

The bee appears frozen in time, stopped in mid-air. As it gets ready to lower it's "landing gear", almost like landing on a flower in the air, you can see the sharp upward hooks of its feet.

It contrasts perfectly with the crisp flowers in the foreground and the softly luscious bokeh of pink and green the Nikon and Nikkor lenses do such a great job of capturing on command.

I hope you enjoy the textures and details of this as much as I do.

© 2010 IMRAN

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grass Bokeh Chloride, Fluoride Toned Bee Rides, Purple Butterfly Bush New York Summer Morning - IMRAN™

The grass in my backyard provided the ideal nearly uniform green backdrop.

The interesting thing was the way a growing patch of drying grass (the sprinkler guy needs to adjust the way they distribute water) makes the background look like a fake gradient fill in Photoshop! It is not. It's, sadly, a patch of dry grass I need to manually water soon but looks great in this photo!

Against this really natural gradient of a somewhat chloride tinged backdrop, a fluoride tinged yellow bee, made more bright by the rising sun's rays from the left, savored the glowing purple flowers on the butterfly bush on my back deck.

This shot was taken with a NIkon D300 on a (by my standards) early morning of this Long Island, New York, summer of 2010.

I actually had to reduce the saturation on this photo or you would have thought the original photo was a fake colored image.

This 2' tall bush I planted has now grown to 10-12' and hosts a flood of butterflies in the summer months.

Enjoy the rest of summer.

© 2010 IMRAN

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sun Day Fire Sail. Fiery Red Sky Silhouettes Sailboat Masts

SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, tweaking, or color processing of ANY kind. Only framed & titled in Photoshop..

The stunning sky on fire was ringing in the end of the day with the ring of the massive fiery sun cradled by tiny dark tree branches. It silhouetted my neighbor's home and the trees around our property. The masts of sailboats in the marina stood silent, in awe of the patterns in the fire-lit sky, but ready to sail.

As the tired sun melted into the puffy pillows of billowy clouds underneath, it reminded me of Sunday Sales or SunDay Fire Sales on bedding, mattresses and furnishings. Hence the title, Sun, Day, Fire, Sail.

The Nikon D300 captured this unedited, unprocessed, JPG at 1/1250 second f/18.0 ISO 200 and exposure bias of -1.33 for the pure darkness of the silhouettes but still managing to capture the tree branch crossing in front of the sun. A part of the branches seems to crown the sun even as it bows out for the night.

© 2010 IMRAN

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bird House, Home By The Sea

I took this photo YWM. Yachting While Mesmerized.

I idled the twin 8.1 liter Mercruisers of the Sea Ray Sundancer 360. Their roaring energy turned into a rippling purr of silent power, awaiting my further commands.

The Nikon D300 shutter snapped to attention, as if clicking heels at the snap of my finger.

I was in command of my life, my camera, my ship, my ship of life. The world lay before me, and the waves danced at my feet. I'd been everywhere, and I was going anywhere I chose.

This 11MB JPG is from the 35MB TIFF Nikon D300 image from that moment. The painting-like photograph was captured at a stunning sunset on my last day of yachting in Miami, Florida, before many challenging times came into my life.

As the sun sets on many aspects of a life in turmoil, and I lose, one after the other, many homes, possessions, properties, rewards of my life's work, I shed not a tear, which would be lost in the oceans on which I am yet to sail to brighter tomorrows.

Good or bad, I have no regrets about any choices I have made in life. Nor would I trade any of the experiences, or people, I have been blessed by having in my life, for anyone else's life and experiences.

As the winter sun set to my right, over Coral Gables in Florida, the silky textures it painted on the sky set this Stiltsville home in dramatic contrasts of dark and light.

The condemned golden wood, the inviting pink railing. The pelican, like a sentinel, a "SUNtinel", keeping watch over the sun signing out from the hot non-tin roof, another stretching time it could stretch its wings to catch the breeze and warmth for life, while sitting on a dead piling.

The deepening blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Biscayne Bay Channel had a mild chop, but it too was dying down with the setting sun. Over the silent din of the chop, the reflection of the bird possessed house, unlike the possessed creatures of Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds, still made itself known to the spinning, yet not aimless, electrons of the camera sensor.

Just like the memories and reflections of this magical life shine bright in my soul, deep into the darkest nights, long after the life giving sun is gone and the passing birds of shared nests have disappeared into the tide of time ebbing, receding into history.

But the best is still ahead. The best of love. The best of Life. The best of Times. The best News' weeks. The best, of everything, I am yet to Discover.

Goodnight, Night.

Come Tomorrow, for I humbly but confidently await you. Come Sailmate, future Soulmate, adrift alone on the ocean of life tonight, flying solo on some other horizon today.

My eyes peel the horizons, of the seven seas and seasonal skies, for your sight. My fingers yearn for your future touch.

Come take my hand as I take you, on board, for the incredible journey that lies ahead, for us.

The ship under my command, I will now captain as our love boat, where your wish, my love, is my command!

© 2010 IMRAN

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Lily Gene IS My Love

A Tribute to Living Lovers & Michael Jackson, RIP

Bille Jean, the song by the late pop idol Michael Jackson, has to be one of the most popular, interesting, memorable and enjoyable songs of all times. It also resonates with me in ways that I cannot go into detail here, at least not without ensuring the end of any future political career, in Pakistan or America. LOL.

Liliy, gene king, (sorry, couldn't resist the reference to Bille Jean King, the Tennis star), almost as much as roses, are also always among the most enjoyable, popular, colorful and delightful flowers around.

I do not know the name of this exact variety that my wonderful next door neighbors, Mrs. & Mr. M, recently planted, in the area in front of our homes. But, even as I took this photo, I had NO idea how stunned even I would be, when I saw it as a desktop picture on my 27" iMac.

What was stunning in impact was the explosively subtle range of colors along the length of even one single petal. (Go ahead, click on the photo for larger view, or see below how to get it as a screensaver/desktop picture from me).

Maybe it's me. Maybe I am too romantic, too passionate, too filled with lust for love, and love for lust...

Or, maybe it IS in the air, all around, if only we would open our eyes and see, our loves, our beloved lovers, lying waiting in front of us.....

The luscious pink petal's furled edges welcoming the eye and caressing looks deep into its folds, of delectable vanilla milky smooth skin, with stamens rising up on dimpled skin to welcome loving carriers of life, to enter, and meld in eternity, softly entwined in the embrace of tendrils, on a soft dark and light bokeh bed.

Lily gene, IS my love(r), but was not in MY (flower)bed ;) ... and I hope it's "child" grows in the sun, in coming years... while coming generations of secret lovers smile openly secretly at what the words of the song mean to them.

Long live love, long live lovers, long live children created in love. Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.

© 2010 IMRAN

In Explore! August 6, 2010. My 20th Explore. SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, tweaking, of ANY kind. Only framed in Photoshop & saved ~15MB RAW image as an under 5MB JPG.

I invite friends to connect at . Please message me and I will gladly email a 1.1MB version for your pleasure to use as a PC or Mac (or Linux of course LOL) desktop screen.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Fire(f)Light: Light Colored Fireworks, Like Airborne Sea Anemones, Take Flight

As the light colored fireworks' light took flight, the set of fireworks on the right had the shades and shape of some creatures in nature.

I'm not sure if I am remembering my (forced) study of Biology in school at Karachi, and at Aitchison College, Lahore, but my first thought was of giant airborne sea anemones softly lighting the sky with their light tentacles of light.

It's another set from the 4th of July 2010 photos taken at my beach at home. Besides the soft anemones' shades, this set of fireworks had subtle traffic light red, yellow and green colors too.

I especially liked how the "stems" of the set on the left also had a brushed light effect. (Click to the see the larger view for that amazingly fine detail). The ones just starting to explode on the left and just dying after exploding on the right have almost nebula like shapes and colors one sees in NASA photos of outer space from Hubble.

© 2010 IMRAN

PS I had 7-hours of a 3-flights Sunday trip, an all-nighter to finish up some work, then all day of meetings on Monday and 3-flights for 7 hours back on Tuesday night. So I did not get a chance to post anything since Friday. Hope you all have a great week ahead, and I always appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kiss Silent Lover's Tear Drop, Sunrise Rose Drops Dew Drop

SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, tweaking, of ANY kind. Only framed in Photoshop & saved 13MB RAW image as 3.5MB JPG.

As a night owl, I love the night, which, as Patti Smith's rendition of a song originally by Bruce Springsteen reminds us, belongs to lovers.

I consider anything before 10 AM to be an early morning event. It's something I have no control over, since I was a child. No matter what country or time zone I am in, within a day or two I will fall into the opposite of what normal human beings consider the sleep-wake cycle! Maybe because at heart, I am an eternal lover, seeking the eternal embrace of love and lovers deep in the nights lovers love, before the eternal night takes us apart physically but melds us together, soul to soul, in eternity, and in books and romance novels, forever.

It was June 21, 2010, the longest day of sunlight hours for the year. So, this 1015AM morning photograph of the rose, shining in the NY summer morning sunlight, is an "early morning" shot for me. Sunrise Rose Drops Dew Drop seemed appropriate.

I stepped out, blinking, in the bright sunlight. It was warm, so most of the dew had already disappeared.

But, as if the rose, soft, pink, beautiful, coming into its bloom, was yet spent, from crying, waiting for me to return to it in the early morning hours, after a long night awake, far away from it.

It's sorrow now absorbed, the last lone tear drop dew drop dropping from it's soft pink skin, like a single pearl gift to remind me, that, though surrounded, sometimes protected, sometimes stung, by thorns, it would never cease to wait for me to come, to touch, to caress it's petal lips, still moist from the night's passionate waiting, and for me to tell it...

"I am here, and I will always find you beautiful, adore you as you bud, madly love you as you bloom, cherish you as you mature, and savor every bit of you with every one of my senses for the time we have together or apart...."

And, in response, the last tear, the long night, forgotten, its petals open more, more pink, more luscious, more engorged with the beauty of life, the juices of increasing lust, the passion of blooming love, inviting to be plucked yet kept close to my heart, on my lapel.

Don't give up, my love, don't stop waiting. I will be there. I will come. I will take you and make you mine, as you know you are and have always yearned to be.

I'm here, my beloved, my rose. Open for me, my beautiful love, your pink petal folds. Let me pluck you, then hold you, embrace you. Let me drown in your aroma, feel the glide of your texture. Let me soak in your moisture, your essence, your presence, into my soul....

No more lone, lonely, teardrops.

© 2010 IMRAN

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Daze, End At Day's End

In Explore, July 28, 2010! SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, sharpening, tweaking, of ANY kind. (Only frame and titles added in Photoshop). Just a 5MB JPG from the Nikon D300 at 1/640 seconds 450 mm eq zoom −1.3eV handheld shot.

Photographed at literally the same spot as the previous fireworks shot.

Taken on a winter day of 30-50 miles per hour winds, that brought with them wind chills on top of the cold weather moving through. But what the wind brought in coldness, it took away in pollution from the air.

I braved the wind to walk out onto the beach at my home in East Patchogue and catch the most amazing sunset colors --- made more spectacular by the clarity of the air.

That is Robert Moses Causeway Bridge, literally 17.23 MILES (27+ km) from where I stood and took the picture on my beach.

On a clear day you can see forever.
On clear nights you can see eternity.
On a windy blustery day, you can see
From nearby beach to far distant sea
How magic of sunsets, cold, wintry,
Flows with time, light, like a river.
Bold dreams, clear visions, no haze
From start of daze to end of days.

Words, photo & poem
© 2009-2010 IMRAN

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fly Eye-Popping Popping Cherries Fireworks Fireballs

Fly Eye-Popping Popping Cherries Fireworks Fireballs - IMRAN™

SOOC Image Straight Out Of Camera!! NO editing, sharpening, tweaking, of ANY kind. Only framed in Photoshop & saved 14MB RAW image as 6MB JPG.

After the stunning nearly 3D quality Eye-Popping Popping Cherries, I felt it best to present something so different and so similar at the same time.

Around the same time those cherries were popping in bright cherry red and budding orange tones before ripening, almost exactly the same colors of eye popping fireballs were filling the skies on my beach at home, as the stunning Fourth of July Fireworks lit up Fire Island and the Great South Way, visible to mariners on the Atlantic Ocean as well.

The sharp and beautifully balanced cherry and orange colors of these fireballs in the sky are a perfect contrast to the Cherries photo.

NO editing done to this picture. 10 seconds f/8 expsoure on tripod at 450mm zoom equiv. with ISO 100.


© 2010 IMRAN

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Almost 3D? Aye, I Eye Eye-Popping Popping Cherries

I love popping cherries. The fresh luster of new life, budding with promises of fresh tastes and dripping with juicy delights.

George Washington would be proud. I cannot tell a lie. I did NOT cut the cherry tree.

Instead, I planted this hybrid cherry tree a few years ago. It has 4 different kinds growing on the same plant. I planted it next to my deck (too close to it, I suspect, if it grows too large). It was bought at Home Depot in my area.

Yes, I get lucky, with my camera and even with plants :-) . The flower beds where I planted it still have pebbles and rocks the lazy builder had not bothered to remove 16 years ago, when the house was built. So, after shoveling hard, I found it nearly impossible to get to the required or recommended depth for this planter. I did the best I could.

The next few years, the plant grew, from about 2 feet to about 5 feet tall, without any contribution from me except ensuring the sprinkler system did not fail. This year was the first that it delighted me with eye-popping cherries, which I enjoyed eating right off the plant (as did some birds, you can tell!) and sharing with neighbors.

To take this photo I stepped on my deck furniture and stood precariously on the deck railing looking down and sideways at the plant. I wanted to get a view of the red and orange fruit with the rich green grass in the background below it.

What was stunning about this photo (25% crop of a 14MB RAW image) was how shiny bright the cherry was. Even at the relatively lower detailed cropped version here, you can see my white shirt reflecting ON the fruit! Even the green (post bloom Spirea) bush growing under the tree is actually reflected on the red cherry if you look at it in large size! Look hard at the reflections on the cherry and you almost feel that dizzying 3D sensation.

Yes, I Love Eye-Popping Popping Cherries.

© 2010 IMRAN

PS I am playing with 3D photos too but not posting here. If you have those cheesy 3D red/blue shades, take a 3D look at my living room.







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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Frozen Stick(y) (R)ice

I have to admit, except for occasionally liking Pakistani rice-based desserts called Kheer or Firni, usually served at weddings (with almonds or pistachios garnish), or at street corner carts there, I am not a big fan of rice or rice pudding. So, I don't even know much about Frozen Sticky Rice as a food item.

But, back in early 2004, when I was driving, at the height of winter, from my NY home to my nearly tropical oceanfront 37th floor, Singer Island, Florida, condo, I literally pulled over to the side of the road when I saw this scene.

Somewhere between New York and Washington, DC, this frozen lake with dead tree stumps sticking out of it, were glistening in the nippy winter air. At that time my 2MP Minolta Dimage X was pretty cutting edge.

Though Minolta is now defunct (and their camera business bought by Sony), that camera had one of the most intricate prism and lens systems built-in, enabling actual physical rather than digital zooming, but with no protruding lens. The entire mechanism was inside the camera body and the prism turned light so the zooming lens was moving vertically inside the camera body. Somehow, that camera (and an iPod 30GB of that time) were either lost on a Southwest flight, or are sitting in some old pants pockets somewhere in my home and I can't find them since!

In any case, though not comparable to the typical 6-13 MP images I post, this delectable rice-colored image seemed like quite a lovely trip down frozen memories lane.

Frozen Stick(y) (R)ice seemed a perfect title for this photograph taken along either I-95 or the maybe the Parkway. (Map location shown is a wild guess).

© 2004-2010 IMRAN

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Four Horse(No)Men Of Paradise

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are characters in Biblical stories, towards the end of the New Testament compilation period. Wikipedia explains how it is an anthology of stories written at different times by different authors around 2 centuries after Christ's time. The Four Horsemen represent things like pestilence and death, so it is ironic one of most stunning photos of the world's most beautiful seascape I took was just a few miles from the above spot.

While those stories' four horsemen are not characters I'm looking forward to meeting, these four horses with no men were photographed with a pocket Nikon S1 during a beautiful trip to Harbour Island, before Christmas 2007. This was taken lounging on the beach outside the really world class hotel there, Coral Sands, at Dunmore Town, on the island of Eleuthera. This truly is one of the loveliest beaches in the world, in the heavenly islands of the Bahamas, right here on earth, in the Caribbean.

One of the horses had literally rolled himself in the soft pink talcum powder soft sands (not exaggerating, that is how soft the sand is) with the backdrop of the powder blue sky, shiny wet turquoise waters gently rolling in from the East - while the setting sun to the West, over my shoulder, cast a reddish glow on them, and drew pictures on the sand almost looking like the Batman symbol.

Structurally it was interesting how the photo got split into accurate thirds, halves, and even how accurately (though quite by chance) the horses are framed exactly within the space of the wet/dry sand line and the edge line of the white surf with turquoise sea.

Definitely a place to lounge away romantic days and gentle loving moonlit nights, and one I hope to return to one day, for more horseplay and other plays :-)

© 2007-2010 IMRAN

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