Dune Bashing UAE Style

Friendly herd of camels on our way to the shoot

Friendly herd of camels on our way to the shoot

On Wednesday night Mark, Ian and a local friend and photographer named Saadia and all headed out to the UAE desert. The driver was prearranged by Saadia and the plan was to get the desert night sky, but the weather spoiled that. It has been really cloudy here and zero chance of seeing stars.

But, I now can say that have walked in the Arabian desert. How cool is that? It's red! As you know back home, it is a beige color. The red really stands out against the landscape and is really impressive. 

Our experienced driver Omar took his trusty modified Toyota 4 x 4 to the desert and started to "dune bash" as Saadia called it. At times it felt like a roller coaster, but Omar knew what he was doing so we all just sat back and enjoyed the ride and laughed a lot. 

Light painted desert tree against Arabian desert backdrop

The landscape is really barren and doesn't have a lot of trees or bushes to help make a foreground. But Ian started to walk and walk and walk until he was just a spec. He said he was in sand knee deep at times. He is still pulling sand out of his shoes. It was worth it for all of us because he found a couple trees to be our subject that night. A trick that photographers have in their bag is light painting. The concept is to paint the subject with a flashlight while the camera is taking a long exposure. As long as the person keeps moving, turns the light off and walks out of the frame before the shutter closes, then the person won't be in the picture. Many thanks to Mark for painting the tree in the image above. 

Photographer taking picture of a photographer taking a picture. Go figure.

Photographer taking picture of a photographer taking a picture. Go figure.

Time to go Big and Small

It has been a busy few days in Dubai. My sense of time is still really horrible because while I'm trying to keep track of my days here, I also try to remember the day and time it is at home. It's just 12 hours. It should be easy but it plays games with your head.

As a follow up to our landscape photo shoot, we had a post processing class where we learned some good techniques for optimizing photos in Lightroom and Photoshop. I have a lot to learn in that realm, but this type of knowledge doesn't come overnight. It's a long haul sort of commitment. Still reeling from jet lag, we decided to stay in for the night. 

Another cool night shot of Dubai

Monday night we all had tickets to go to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa. We took the metro to the Dubai Mall which has an entry to the "At the Top" Experience at the Burj. Just like "magic", the mall is designed to keep you in and not let you out. You were hard pressed to find an exit in that place. So in one fell swoop, we experienced the largest mall (with an aquarium), the tallest building and the fastest elevator in the WORLD. We spent about about an hour on the 124th and 125th floors.


The weather, due to cloud cover...sadly made the entire city look like a big blob of drab beige so there were very little picture opportunities...except for Little Lego Kimmie T., Lego Dude Mark and introducing Lego Dude Ian who is making his debut on this trip.

Mark on Top of the Burj

For scale and fun, when we were standing on the 125th floor, we took a picture through the glass of Mark standing on the 124th floor. He is in the blue plaid shirt and baseball cap, clearly trying to look inconspicuous. ;-)

Today, Tuesday, we did an outing with Zack Arias to do "street photography". Most of you know that I primarily like landscape or night photography but part of the reason I came to Gulf Photo Plus was to get out of my comfort zone and try new things and street photography was a way to do that. It was a really special experience and I will tell you all more about that tomorrow for me, but later today for you...See? Time warp.