When I visited Tehran for the first time in September 2002, I read up all I could about the city in my Lonely Planet guidebook. The introductory paragraphs were not encouraging. They read:
“Sadly, there’s no longer the slightest whiff of the Orient about the Iranian capital. Pollution, chronic overcrowding and a lack of responsible planning have conspired to turn Tehran into a metropolis you’re best getting into and out of as soon as possible. The heavy smog, which hovers ominously over the city, blocks out the views of the mountains for much of the time. At certain times of the year, especially in summer, it descends with unbearable effect and drives people out of Tehran in coughing, wheezing droves, whiles the radio warns those with heart conditions not to leave their houses. In summer one breath is all it takes to absorb the full horror of Tehran’s toxin-laden air. Nearly 40% of all transport is in small cars, mainly Paykans, which pump more than 50 million tonnes of carbonated gases, including 1.3 million tonnes of carbon monoxide, into the air every year. In Tehran alone vehicles use up 10 million tonnes of fossil fuels each year and it’s getting worse. If the pollution starts to hurt your throat, or you have asthma, it may be best to head for the hills”.
I thought that as I was visiting at the end of summer, perhaps the smog wouldn’t be too bad, but as my flight descended over the vast metropolis that is home to over 12 million people, there it was – a thick layer of brown smog hanging over the city - just as my guidebook had described it.
Once on the ground it wasn’t quite as bad as the guidebook had described (I’ve experienced worse in Malaysia – see my other ‘pollution pic’ here) but maybe that was because it was September.
PP: Adjusted levels and sharpened.
Critiques | Translate
kozerog (1288) 2005-08-18 8:41
Impressive! Good perspective and DOF. Interesting info.
Cos (1562) 2005-08-18 8:41
Presumably this shot was taken from the plane as you were landing? It's an excellent capture, very clear and illustrates the smog perfectly!
alekpet (4663) 2005-08-18 8:46
I like the picture a lot and the explanation that goes with it. Great depth despite the smog.
hmdparsi (489) 2005-08-18 9:25
I am an iranian but I am living in Shiraz,center of Fars province . I don't know you visit my town or not.The Tehran atomosphere is very bad as you write it & it's very fantastic that a tourist tell us.my town atomosphere is like the same.thank you for your notice.nice shot with good DOF.
capthaddock (28790) 2005-08-18 9:54
Hi David - wow, this is something we don't see every day, some places are better seen from a distance, the resemblance to Los Angeles is uncanny. Truly awesome.
ow808wo (0) 2005-08-18 9:55
I wish clean energy sources become a viable option soon..
bantonbuju (51781) 2005-08-18 10:17
hi dave, an awesome picture, the place looks so surrealistic, and indeed the smog seems to be terrible (but photographicaly-wise it looks not bad, doesn't it?)
best wishes, jerzy
gaby (19819) 2005-08-18 16:10
Hi David nice but sad shot - I think that I shall never go in téréhan -
Have a nice day
ishai (4097) 2005-08-18 16:53
I had no idée Tehran looked like this and with this Tehran’s toxin-laden air amazing capture
If the locals would of seen it they would clear the city in an hour
It does not look good
But the capture is very informative as the note
... point later
AmiBe (6042) 2005-08-19 1:39
impressive view of an unknown city for me.
Nice to see the place where it's situated.
I like the alignement of high buildings.
Very good POV
kevinos (7403) 2005-08-19 14:50
How sad! I would have expected minorets and shining domes. However, you picture is great and provides a good record.
Kenny10pin (19301) 2005-08-20 10:28
amazingly cramped here, I like the way you shot this the mist makes this more mystical, very good work indeed, I like it
castellano (791) 2005-08-21 17:16
Very interesting picture! It is unusual to see that kind of pollution in such a dense cloud (at least in my city). It is good to see this kind of pictures from Iran as well, 'cause normally we can only think about big empty areas in this country.
Vagabond (5848) 2005-08-24 7:56
This is a very good shot given the difficult conditions due to the pollution and aircraft windows. I like the well captured design of the City and the mountains in background. Worth a place at the "Through an aircraft window" Theme. Have a look at the Themes panel.
erdna (5711) 2005-08-24 23:14
Incredible shot! It reminds me of Los Angeles before that city started controlling pollution. Thank you for sharing this with us.
PHILIPPEV (930) 2005-11-06 15:20
i discover your "album" !! you are totally in the TE spirit ...discovering the world through the photography...thanks a lot for your views of countries so secret..north corea for example
this photo of teheran make me appreciate more and more the pure air of Brittany !!! :-)
annagrace (2467) 2005-11-10 9:05
Wow, what a sight! Reminds me of Los Angeles on a summer day. I saw a similar scene in New York City flying in from Greece which has its own form of smog. I'm not surprised you had bad smog in September, still hot from the summer months. Great note!
kombizz (0) 2006-01-09 14:19
Hi David. Still Tehran would be the same that you decribed it 2002. Lovely image of Tehran.
Clairedelune (4923) 2006-12-30 8:21
I came to this photo because of a collage George (Polonaise) had done of the photos he would have wished to have made himself. It was an homage to these photos and yours was there. But, the collage was sadely deleted... :(
I am almost sick just in looking at this photo.
Though I am a city lover, I have to say that this photo doesn't inspired me... That smog, kind of brown, that crowded city makes me want to go in a more immaculate and desert kind of place. That is to say that your photo speaks so much!
But what's more frightening than the smog for me right now, is the political lead and possibly world threat...
Evolution (91) 2007-07-14 20:07
a great capture !. you got the right DOF and were able to really capture the smog !.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2002-09-14
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Nikon E5000
- Exposure: f/5.4, 1/300 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Through an aircraft window [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-08-18 8:37
- Favorites: 2 [view]