Posts Tagged ‘united’

Etihad Towers 360

March 3rd, 2012

Serendipity. Sometimes it hits you.

The day I took this shot, I was waiting for a few friends outside their new apartment in the stunning new Etihad Towers buildings in Abu Dhabi. While they showed up, I decided to try ou my new 8mm Sigma fisheye lens.

This is the result. One of the first shots I took with the fisheye.

Needless to say, I’m loving this lens.

More to come soon!

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Qasr Sunset

June 5th, 2011

Sunset over the beautiful Qasr Al Sarab resort deep in the desert of Liwa, home of the rolling, flowing hundred-meter dunes and situated in the Southern UAE at the of the Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter).

I spent the weekend there earlier this year to attend a wedding.

It’s an absolutely fantastic place. The setting is one of those few places which are larger than life, reminiscent of the old Hollywood master epics from the sixties. Like something you could have found in Lawrence of Arabia, or Cleopatra, or something…

More coming soon!

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Sunset in the Desert

April 3rd, 2011

These photographs were made in Liwa at sunset, from the top of the massive dune featured previously on my blog here.

There’s nothing quite like a sunset in the desert. The view from the top of that dune onto the changing sands below… Well, the peace it instills in you adds years to your life.

More coming soon.

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Dune Walk

March 9th, 2011

This photo was made in Liwa, UAE, as I was making my way up this massive (perhaps hundred-meter) dune some way behind these people. I think what hit me was the sense of family that they evoked, seeing them walking together hand in hand.

More coming soon!

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Alone

November 29th, 2010

This is a shot from my archives. It was a test shot I made with my then-new 50mm prime lens. For some reason, I keep coming back to it.

So here it is.

What caught my eye was the way the light hit the cup. The scene is at one of the restaurants at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

On another note, check out the following:

More coming soon!

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The Fort & Palace

August 22nd, 2010

Some time back, I offered up my two cents on the HDR debate, featuring shots from the Al Jahili Fort and the late Sheikh Zayed’s Palace in Al Ain.

Today, I wish to share with you two more shots from those two places (minus debate, this time).

Above is a shot of the main tower of the fort. Below is one of one of the wings of the Palace.

More coming soon!

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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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Hatta Rock Pools

June 5th, 2010

The UAE holds quite a few natural wonders for an adventurous spirit to explore. One of them is that of the rock pools in Hatta, an enclave of Dubai.

The remote Hajar mountains make for a lovely setting to enjoy a walk, a picnic and possibly even a swim in the cool waters of the pools.

Here are a few pictures of my last venture out there, early in January of this year.

I was impressed at the number of people out visiting the area despite it being a weekday. Also at the variety of nationalities. French, English, Emirati and other Arab nationals were all out enjoying the day in the sun.

More pictures soon!

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The HDR Debate

April 10th, 2010

Before I disappeared, a debate seemed to be raging online regarding the value of HDR imaging and techniques (or lack thereof, depending on which side of the debate you stand on).

It started with Dave Cross’s post called “The Debate Over HDR” and was soon followed by a response to one of the comments on that post by Scott Kelby (here’s the link to Kelby’s post). The various views and commentary were very interesting to me and led me to re-examine the reasons why I now enjoy HDR imagery.

The debate may have died down since the above-mentioned posts were published, but I thought I would share my two cents with you anyway.

Some time ago I really disliked the idea of HDR. I felt, like some commentators, that HDR was perhaps a way of rendering an otherwise uninteresting image interesting. In some cases I still say it may serve that way. However on the whole, as I’ve come to learn to use the effect and it’s uses and limitations, I’ve come around to changing my views. My friend Dan and his work gave the first push that got me on the way to converting. He was a big proponent of HDR way before I ever was.

I now sometimes do shoot something with the express purpose of creating an HDR image. And I occasionally even feel that some images work better in HDR; Sometimes, there’s no way to light a scene the way I would like to capture the image I have in my mind, and HDR is often of help to me there. In those cases particularly, it may give me a certain flexibility that could only be rivalled by an army of assistants and an inconceivable (for me) collection of speedlights and gels. That last is perhaps not a very practical option. Especially considering I’m mostly a shooter out on his own, with (maybe) one speedlight (and at most two) and no assistants.

That said, HDR and other tools at the disposal of the modern photographer are methods of expressing a certain vision of the world around us. So, is HDR less challenging? Yes, almost certainly. But does that make HDR less worthy? In this photographer’s eye – not always. Scott Kelby put it very nicely “HDR is an effect like any other effect”.

My two cents now spent, I propose to share with you images of two different subjects. Each subject has both an HDR image (created from 7 different exposures) and a “standard” variant. The aim being to showcase the large difference between the two styles as I’ve experienced them (and the different visions of a same subject that can thus be expressed).

The first two images below are of a tower of the Hili Fort in Al Ain. I prefer the subtler tones and shades of the “standard” photograph, but enjoy the striking quality the tone mapping has given the clouds in the HDR image, as well as the detail brought out in the walls of the tower. Those friends of mine I’ve asked have come back fairly equally divided as to their preference on this one.

The second set of images below is of one of the towers at the late Sheikh Zayed’s Palace, also in Al Ain.

In the “standard” photograph, to achieve the effect you see here I exposed for the sky and lit the foreground with an SB900 speedlight. Some of the light bounced onto the wall of the palace and its tower, giving it some detail instead of making it some sharp shadow against the twilight sky.

I very much enjoy both images, but my favourite is by far the “standard” image. That’s partly due to the colour of the sky, but it may also be a measure of pride – I used the limited gear I had at my disposal to get precisely the image I was aiming for.

The challenge of it, and the satisfaction of having achieved marks the “standard” image as special to me. By comparison, the HDR variant was not as big a challenge as it’s a significantly more forgiving and much more flexible process.

Your thoughts and comments welcome, as always.

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An Experiment in HDR

December 24th, 2009

Abu Dhabi is undergoing a transformation.

Its urban landscape is changing. And it’s not just limited to the skyline: The urban planning authorities have in their wisdom decided to expand certain roads, divert others and build new ones.

A pedestrian walkway was built across one of the city’s expanded arteries. I took my camera and tripod up there one evening after work with the aim of experimenting a little with HDR, a technique I’m not very familiar with as yet despite the odd dabbling, here and there.

The difficulty in getting a good HDR image in processing afterwards was due to the movement of the vehicles in the frame. I understand that creation of an HDR image from movement should be ideally created from tone mapping a single shot. Still, this is all a learning process, no?

Here are some of the results:

ExperimentInHDR-1

ExperimentInHDR-2

Each of the images below was created from 7 exposures. Overkill, perhaps? Almost certainly. 5 exposures May have been more than adequate.

Each picture was taken with a Nikon D700, with a Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens set at f11, ISO 200, 24mm. The shortest exposure was 1/3 sec. The longest was 20 seconds for the first image, and 30 seconds for the second.

For the second image, I converted the colour HDR image into black and white after processing was complete and liked it much better that way.

Speaking of HDR, and photography in general, I have recently come across an excellent Dubai-based photography website and blog which I am enjoying very much. It’s called Momentary Awe. Check it out here.

More pictures coming soon. Until then, Merry Christmas to one and all! :D

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