Dubai: A City of Many Souls

This post was originally intended to be titled ‘Dubai: A Soulless City‘ and the only reason is because we were yet to find the heart or the soul of the city. That one spot or several spots that define a city such as the markets that ebbs and flows with the traffic of traders or people buying their goods, river banks where people sit, eat lunch and talk, where people gather to talk and exchange ideas, discuss politics but none has been found. You know the spot that’s in your city. Well, our search didn’t find the soul, the heart of the city but rather what has been found is that Dubai is a city of many souls all mixed together.

Silver Divers, Dubai Mall

Burj Khalifa Tower – Dubai

Many days were spent walking the ridiculously large shopping malls (thank you for the very large food court), main roads, back streets and all the tourists hot spots to find the heart and soul of Dubai. We never found what we were looking for in the main streets, in the malls or in the tourists hot spots but we did find it in the back streets, the spot that tourists rarely go. We found that people were happy and pretty much friendly. We approached many people for photographs and all but a few were more than happy for us to photograph them. Through our attempts at the local language and the locals broken english we found that many of the people we had come across were from countries that we didn’t expect and they were far and wide with countries represented such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India and even expats from Australia, United Kingdom, United States.

Street Photography
The back streets of Dubai are the best place to capture people going about their daily business but don’t go down there on your own, unless you are have a black belt in something and can defend yourself like Bruce Lee. The back streets are a mean place and I highly recommend traveling in at least pairs or a small group. We were originally advised not to bother asking Emirates if they wouldn’t mind being photographed but we still ended up doing just that and we really had no trouble at all. We were also advised that photographing women in Traditional Dress is a huge No No, it is offensive to the locals and thats one rule that we really stuck to but there were plenty of street photography opportunities.
The Bearded One

The Bearded One

We approached this guy who was more than happy to have his photograph taken, we both showed him the results on the back of the camera, He smiled, laughed all the while pointing it out to come a couple of other curious locals. He kept adjusting his head scarf to cover as much of his head as possible but still have some sort of air flow to attempt to keep him cool from the heat of Dubai. He was easy to approach but on some occasions we were waived off by the local who didn’t want to be photographed. Even from a distance photographing down an alley, we still received the ‘Evil Eye’ from some, so some quick shots and we were off.
Shadow Rider

Shadow Rider

A group of young men head off through a closed alleyway of shops to the local mosque to answer the call of prayer. Most of the group walked except for one who decided to ride his bike through the shadows.
Night Photography
Probably the biggest mistake that we both made was not taking our trusty tripods, this was mainly due to the weight restrictions of the airline and the huge cost associated with checking another item, so we decided to go without the tripods. We also considered purchasing them in Dubai however we would have the same problem coming home however we did attempt on numerous occasions to take long exposures at night.
Burj Khalifa Tower - Dubai Nights

Burj Khalifa Tower – Dubai Nights

The lights of Dubai are quiet simply amazing and there are a multitude of opportunities to photograph the night. We did attempt it using our bags as a stable base which took some time to effectively master to be able to get some decent shots off. We tried to photograph the Burj Khalifa tower at night and laid down on the grass. We were pounced on pretty quick by security, his hand gestures made it clear that laying down on the grass was a no no and that we should stop immediately. We didn’t argue with him we just simply packed up our gear and moved on.
Chanel - Dubai Mall

Chanel – Dubai Mall

General Rules
Many countries have varied cultures and you should be aware of them before travelling. The UAE has some rules that may seem absurd to westerners but they are the norm.
These are some of the rules that we encountered whilst in Dubai:
1.  Women are not allowed to travel in the front seat of taxi’s.
2.  Males are not allowed to look/ stare at women in Traditional dress.
3.  Women should dress conservatively and don’t show to much skin, below the knees and covered shoulders etc.
4.  Men, if wearing shorts must cover the knee.
5.  Do not photograph Government Buildings/ Military Installations, (you will be arrested and jailed – no questions asked)
6.  Do not openly display a large amount of affection publicly.
7.  Visiting mosques, Check the rules before going in or book through a travel guide as this will prevent aggression from the guards, yes guards !
These are just a few of the rules or what’s considered offensive and there are many more. I recommend checking what the cultural differences are before heading to the UAE. Better to be informed than be begging for forgiveness.
E Street User

E Street

Dubai is an interesting place and it is extremely hard to define. Dubai mall is the largest mall in the world and the Mall of Emirates has an indoor ski slope but whilst we were there it was announced that they will be building a Mall of the World with a Universal Studios Theme park attached. The Mall of the World will be even larger than the Dubai Mall and is expected to handle over 85000 visitors a day. For me those numbers are hard to comprehend. The majority of the building are extremely new, well designed and would make for some great architectural photography opportunities. We did go in search of the old Dubai, where the old buildings with old shops and the real people who live there all their lives as I believed that this would be the place to find the soul of Dubai, but never found it. We also learned that Dubai is only 50 years young and that maybe why finding the cities soul was so hard.
We would go back to the UAE but probably to visit Abu Dhabi instead to see if we could find the culture, the soul that makes up the United Arab Emirates.
Happy Shooting

 

POTD: The Morning Sun Peaks Over The Clouds

 

I have been busy photographing families and their friends recently which has prevented me from doing any personal projects. I would have to think that the perfect way to start the day is to see a sunrise like this and after seeing it, it was worthwhile being tired for the rest of the day. This one took some time to post process but the final results are pretty good.

 

Would love to hear your thoughts !

Don’t Panic !

I always do a Recon (check of the area) of the site well before I photograph at that site. I determine where car parking is, foot access, where the tides should be at, what’s in the foreground/ mid ground/ back ground, where the sun will rise/ set blah, blah. I actually do put some thought into it. Some time ago I had found a great little dirt track that had trees hanging over the track sort enveloping it which resulted in a massive arch over the track. The trees were full of green and from what I could determine, the sun would rise behind the trees illuminating the track and hoping that the trees would throw out some shadows as well, hoping to add drama to the overall shot. I was willing to spend an hour there at least. It was a beautiful site even in the middle of the day.I had planned on how I wanted to photograph it, I had _That Mental Picture_ in my head of the final results. I figured it would even look pretty good in Black and White.  I then placed that spot on my list of locations to photograph at dawn/ dusk in the very near future.

Well, this morning I got up at some hour that my watch didn’t recognise and drove to the site, all of my gear prepared and with a steaming hot coffee ready to go in my portable mug. When I arrived I found that the trees gone and the dirt track to be a road. The site had been bulldozed with a housing sub division well under construction. I simply couldn’t believe it. I felt as though that I had been robbed ! robbed of a secret location that I hadn’t told another photographer about because I wanted to be selfish. I stood in the early morning light, silent and dumbfounded.

I needed to regroup from this and find another location to shoot and I needed to get there before the sun broke over the horizon. I needed those golden 20 or so minutes to make getting out of bed worthwhile. Not an easy task to achieve considering that first light had already kicked the day off, so now I was not only robbed of a location by developers but also by time and it was against me. So I headed off back down the road, hit the main road and started looking, desperately looking for another location. Down one road to find its a dead end and nothing of any value, panicking I remembered that I knew of a location that was close and I could get there quickly but this spot is a hard location to photograph. I would have to work hard to make something of it. I arrived there to see recreational fisherman lowering their small boats into the water to go fishing. Not thats a problem for them but it was a problem for me because I could clearly see them from 200 metres away, so I knew that I had lost time, valuable time. Fortunately for me the tide was on its way out and had a long way to go so I could get some shots of the sunrise.

What I learnt from this mornings lessons was the following:

1. Always do a confirmatory recon (check of the area you want to shoot in)
2. Always have a back up location in case the first one is not suitable.
3. Don’t Panic

So these are the two shots, that’s right two shots that I feel as though are worthy enough not to be deleted.

Enjoy your weekend and remember, Happy shooting.

The Army Close Combatant

Work does pay off but you have to keep working to make that happen. You can’t simply take photos and hope they get published, you have to work at it. The above photo was taken in May this year and the Defence Material Organisation has recently released their latest news bulletin and that’s what I am doing now, working hard to meet the clients needs and requirements.

The above photo is work that has paid off for me, even though I was paid for job of shooting it for the client, its still great to see the photo in print and in this case online as well. Unfortunately I didn’t get credit it for it. It was never part of the agreement anyway but I did ask if it is possible. The client did say yes but it didn’t happen.  Since then I have picked up more work for the same client and they are happy with the results that I provided them.

With clients, you need to include them in your planning of the shoot, listen to what they say and how they want to achieve that. Work out how YOU will shoot the project for the client and if you have problems and can’t meet your deadlines that you have agreed to, get in touch with them and tell them straight.  Be honest with them, I have found that if you are honest with most clients and you tell them what the problem is and how you are going to fix it, they will accept a delay in the project but they will only ever accept them once. So you always need to be on your game, prioritise your work. Keep the client in mind at all times, that’s what they paid you to do.

Any way, its back to work for me.

Happy Shooting.

Digital Downloads Now Available ! ! ! !

Yep, that’s right, Digital Downloads are now available from Thief Images.

Digital Downloads are priced so you can download them and use them as screen savers, backgrounds or even have the professionally printed on canvas or print them on your favourite photo paper so you can have them framed to hang on your walls.

How to Download your favourite image.

obviously go to www.thiefimages.com

1. Select your favourite image.

2. Click on “add to cart”

3.  The Cart opens where you can select either “Prints” or “Digital Files”.

4. Click on “Digital Files”

5. Select what size digital download you would like.

6. Proceed to Checkout and the image is automatically downloaded.

And, because I am a not only a nice guy, I have priced them to make them affordable to everyone.

Why you ask, well I am the same as you, hurting in the hip pocket, paying high costs for fuel for some unknown reason, fed up with watching governments come up with new and different ways to extract money out you (tax you) so I believe that everyone should have access to art, paintings, sculptures or prints of images for a decent and fair price, not the price where you need to go and get a bank loan ! that’s why. Oh and I am a nice guy or did I say that already.

Pretty simple, check it out.

Happy Shooting

Its amazing what falls out of some things.

I must admit that the last month has been very busy but also very productive and this is why I haven’t posted much here lately. I was contacted to shoot for a client as the photographer they originally had could no longer do the shoot for them. So, literally overnight, I packed my bags, all the camera kit that I figured that I needed and headed north for what turned out to be just over a month. The shoot was planned for the first two weeks of the month which I did. The shoot went extremely well and the client was absolutely stoked on how fast the turn around was as I got them either prints or the images burnt to DVD. So I left the client happy and all the delivered.

But here’s the funny thing, I have had two family portraits fall out of the work for the original client. Both approached me on the same day, asked if I could do a shoot for them before I left, of course I said Yes, no problems, all I had to do was change my flights. Once again both clients were extremely happy with the end results and the families had a ball doing the shoots.

Since then, I have been contacted on several occasions for use of some images, one of the images that I have supplied clients with is going to be published in 3 different publications. One of the publications has an audience/readership of about 4 million people throughout Australia plus online. I asked to credited with the work which the client was more than happy to do so I will hopefully create more work and drive traffic to my website.

So being consistent is slowly paying off and work is increasing on a daily basis.

Happy Shooting

Old Holden’s Never Die !

Whilst wandering around in the central deserts of Australia, I found this old Holden car which nature had started to reclaim. Rust was slowly eating away at the panel work and all of the valuable parts had also been removed. Some one also had decided that it was a good spot to set up camp and sleep in the car. I figure they must have been desperate to sleep in it but when I got there the only thing living in the car was a dirty great big snake. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the snake. The snake left and I decided that I had walked to far not to come away with at least a couple of shots.

Happy Shooting

Thief Images