I found myself back home in Dubai for 10 days recently (the sunsets at our new home are amazing!) Whilst there, I experienced the lows of emergency dental treatment, the highs of hosting a house warming party, and a whole bunch of other stuff in between. These are some moments from my time there, starting off with my visit to the dentist – and where would you find a dentist amongst the glass towers of Dubai? By looking up of course!
Located on the 16th floor, I couldn’t resist asking my dentist (the wonderful Dr. Salah) if I could take a picture of the view after my treatment was over. Apologies for the dirty window 🙂
From the dentist, I jumped into a taxi to nearby Dubai Mall – a place I have visited many times, but I was keen to get a few shots that maybe were a bit different, with the help of my Tokina wide angle lens.
Gulf Photo Plus – Photoweek 2019
GPP is a local business that runs a variety of photographic related courses, workshops, exhibitions and even ‘market days’, but for one special week each year they move into overdrive, and offer a jam-packed programme of excellent events – their ‘Photoweek’. Last year I attended a class about Photoshop, and this year, I picked a workshop entitled ‘Simple & Manual Control of Your Camera’. It’s outline promised to teach me how to take shots quickly, by doing away with the camera’s auto settings; and seeing as how I take an age to set up each shot, this sounded the perfect subject.
GPP is based in an area of Dubai called the Alserkal Art District, which comprises an amazing collection of industrial warehouse structures full of galleries, unique shops and eateries – it’s such a great place to wander around, and armed with your camera, there is always something to photograph.
The workshop was lead by an exciting, infectious photographer named Asim Rafiqui, and he started by telling us to abandon the ‘auto’ features of our cameras – for me, the main areas where I use auto settings are for metering (which I’ve never really understood), and focus. I’ve always been concerned that without perfect eyesight, I wouldn’t be able to use manual focussing, so all my shots are preceded by the soft whirring of the lens as it links to my selected focal points. We were also encouraged to ‘throw away’ our zoom lenses, in favour of prime (fixed) lenses, and to resist the temptation of checking the LCD screen after every shot; be confident that you have the shot you want!
The day consisted of a combination of theory (I now know what ‘hyperfocal distance’ is, and consequently why I don’t need to rely on autofocus all the time), discussion, and getting outside to practice. By following his techniques, we learnt to ‘pre-set’ our cameras manually, enabling us to take photos quickly, accurately, yet with sharp focus – it was a really enjoyable and inspirational day.
Walking the Lake
A couple of days after my workshop, I decided to put what I had learnt into practice, and having set my camera to all the appropriate manual settings, I ventured out into the early morning sunlight to snap away at a nearby lake. The idea was to be quick and deliberate – its always great to learn something new. I was happy with the results; the stillness of the lake gave magical reflections.
We moved into our new place in Dubai just over a month ago, so we felt it was time for a bit of a house warming – a great way to meet some of our new neighbours and welcome old friends.
We had a great afternoon and evening, full of pizza, bubbles, dancing, laughter, and we drank a special toast to friendships – both old and new.
During my visit I did have to do some work, so to end with, these are a couple of shots from Dubai’s Internet City where I attended a meeting, to show that even on work days, the views were pretty special.
Gulf Photo Plus’ website
Pearl Dental Clinic website – in case you’re ever in need of dental treatment here!
Asim Rafiqui’s work can be seen here