Posts Tagged ‘shaikh zayed’

A Traditional Dance

June 15th, 2010

These shots were taken on a day trip to Al Ain at the late Sheikh Zayed’s Palace, which is now a museum and open to the public.

I’d been wandering around the old oasis in the centre of town for a while, and every so often I would dimly hear traditional Emirati music and song. My first thought was that there must be a wedding some place nearby.

Once I had my fill of the oasis, I chose to visit the Palace before I made my way home. When I arrived and walked into the courtyard I realised that the music and song had been coming from here.

This was a rare privilege for me – it’s not every day you get to enjoy one of these beautiful traditional Emirati dances. To my chagrin, I only caught the last minutes of the very last performance before the traditional singers, musicians and dancers disbanded for the day.

It was a treat to watch as the musicians danced in time to the beat of the drums, jumping and twirling as they went, and the wall of singers on either side of the musicians swung their canes in unison to and fro as they sang, swaying.

It was a challenge to shoot as the light was fading fast. I ended up shooting at the widest aperture my lens would allow (3.5 at 24mm and 5.6 at 135mm), increasing ISO (to 640 from 200 as the light faded) and slowing the shutter speed as much as I could without losing (too much) sharpness (to 1/60sec). The low shutter speed also allowed me to get some movement blur as the musicians danced and beat their drums, and the singers swung their canes. These pictures are some of the shots I took in those few short minutes.

More coming soon!

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