‘Nifty Fifty’ Photoblog @ Downtown Dubai


First off, I need to clarify that the ‘Nifty Fifty’ thing is nothing to do with age, I think i covered that extensively in a previous post (see here Life Ready), in this context it’s to do with a new lens that I’ve been using on my camera.

Whilst I’m a million miles away from being able to write photography blogs, I wanted to highlight that all of the scenic photos in this post were taken using this new lens. For anyone interested, it’s a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM (I’m still trying to understand what all those things mean!), but the key aspect of the lens from my novice perspective is that it is a ‘prime’ or fixed lens, it doesn’t have zoom capability, unlike the lens that came with the camera.


In many of the reviews I have read, this lens is recommended as a good starting point for beginners as it is simple to use, hopefully gives good results, and most pleasingly, it’s relatively cheap compared to almost every other lens I have seen, at around £100. As it doesn’t have zoom, it makes me think a bit more about the shot, and what I want to put into it; and even without the zoom, I’ve found that if I walk backwards or forwards, then hey presto, that has a similar effect!

So, the ‘nifty fifty’ is a common photographer’s tag that comes from the fixed 50mm focal length that the lens offers. I guess if it was a 30mm lens, it would be called a ‘dirty thirty’?

I’ve had the lens for a couple of weeks, but not really used it much, so I decided to take it out for some practice and leave the zoom at home – for this I went to ‘Downtown Dubai’, which is the part of the city that contains the iconic Burj Khlifa Tower, and the Dubai Mall. We’ve visited the mall and the area immediately outside the Burj Khalifa many times, but I’ve not explored beyond these boundaries.


It was about 9am when I got to  Burj Khalifa metro station so the sun was already quite high and warm. I walked from the metro station to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, which I followed anti-clockwise around to the Palace Hotel. From there I crossed via Souk Al Bahar to Dubai Mall for a well deserved lunch. Whilst the evenings are starting to get a little cooler, the daytime temperatures are still in the low to mid 30’s – the entire walk took me around 3 hours (with many stops to take photos), so I’m sure I was pink in the face by the time I finally hit the A/C!

These are my favourite shots:

There always seems t0 be construction work going on in this area
I wonder what this Emirati couple are thinking? The metallic frame behind them is part of the covered, air conditioned walkway from the Metro station to the Mall
I loved the effects of the sun behind the Burj Khalifa
My absolute favourite – the fountains at the Armani Hotel
The new Dubai Opera House
More construction; in the boom period of 2006-7, it was said that there were 20,000 cranes in Dubai – there can’t be many less than that now!
Hashtagging Dubai
The new Burj Plaza …
… including the Downtown Slide …
.. and great views, with casual outdoor dining and kids play areas
Wherever you are.. so is the Burj Khalifa
Alongside Souk Al Bahar
Across Burj Khalifa Lake to the stunning new Dubai Opera House

And something different to end with ….

The Dubai Aquarium, inside Dubai Mall – the aquarium glass is very reflective, but I found a spot that seemed to work pretty well


Leave a Reply