Urbanizacija
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I took this photograph inside one of the houses of an abandoned village in Wadi Bani Habib, situated in Jebel Al Akhdar mountain in Oman.
According to the locals, this village, was built approximately 80 years ago. Its inhabitants farmed their Pomegranate, Apricot and Apple orchards and lived off their goats and dates.
At 2000+ meters above the sea level, without any roads, infrastructure or electricity, life was anything but easy. Donkeys offered the only mode of transportation to the wealthy cities below so it's easy to imagine how the villagers of Wadi Bani Habib felt isolated and battered by daily hardship.
Back in the 60s, Oman started prospering from the income generated by its fossil fuel reserves. The ancient farming, bedouin lifestyle, the only one known in this part of the world for millennia finally got its easier alternative. Many Omanis began seeking their fortune and a promise of a better life in its coast side, modern cities. Last inhabitant of Wadi Bani Habib, now but a ghost village, left this humble home for good over 40 years ago...

As of recent, Oman's ministry of tourism recognized the importance of its rich heritage found in these abandoned settlements but turning them into (barely) protected tourist attractions.

From the website of the World Health Organization:
http://www.who.int/gho/urban_health/situation_trends/urban_population_growth_text/en/

Urban population growth

Situation:

Urbanization, the demographic transition from rural to urban, is associated with shifts from an agriculture-based economy to mass industry, technology, and service. For the first time ever, the majority of the world's population lives in a city, and this proportion continues to grow. One hundred years ago, 2 out of every 10 people lived in an urban area. By 1990, less than 40% of the global population lived in a city, but as of 2010, more than half of all people live in an urban area. By 2030, 6 out of every 10 people will live in a city, and by 2050, this proportion will increase to 7 out of 10 people. Currently, around half of all urban dwellers live in cities with between 100 000 - 500 000 people, and fewer than 10% of urban dwellers live in megacities (defined by UN HABITAT as a city with a population of more than 10 million).

Behind The Scenes: I was instantly mesmerized by the inviting cozyness of this abandoned house. It was frozen in time, waiting for me. It had a charming, never foreboding, Hobbiton-like look and feel. I was amused by its miniature proportions and doorways barely reaching my shoulder height, built out of the rocks picked from Jebel al Akhdar, finished with mud and date palm trunk roofing. You could still hear laughing voices of its residents as they gathered around a meal at the end of the day, cooked from the harvest which grew right outside their doors. What a simple, yet rewarding life it must have been for them!

It's pretty easy to see what motivated me to take this shot: warm, wildly intense textures, cinematic light and mysterious contrast, traditional architecture and remnants of its main entrance door lit by a beam of light piercing through the decaying roof. I felt like I was inside a fully lit, period movie set, waiting for its first take.
Why can't all subjects look as photogenic as this one?

Photographed with Canon 5d Mk3 and Canon 24-105mm f4.0L lens. I used the camera's built-in bracketing function and quickly snapped 3 exposures (-3EV, 0EV, +3EV) to deal with the extreme dynamic range of light in this house. To stabilize my camera right above the ground, I used Really Right Stuff TFA-01 and RRS BH-30 ballhead. I am truly in love with this tripod. It's a perfect travel photographer's companion. Folded, the TFA-01 is just a bit bigger than a pencil and it weighs close to nothing. I carry it clipped to the belt, on inside the camera bag, barely aware it's even there. You shouldn't be fooled by its miniature scale; TFA-01 is able to support 50 kilos worth of camera gear without making a squeak!!
Post processing: I imported the RAW stills into Lightroom 4.1 and exported the pre-processed frames as 16-bit TIFF files into Photoshop CC where I finished the frame with Dynamic Blending. Primary and secondary colour grading was performed wit NIK Software suite of plugins.
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