Assignment 4 – A sense of place

This will be my submission for assignment four in People and Place, ‘ A sense of Place’. I have thought hard about the criteria and brief for this assignment which states the following: Imagine that you are on an assignment for an intelligent, thoughtful travel publication that is demanding a considered, in-depth treatment. Aim to produce sufficient images on a specific location to fill, say, six pages. This would mean about six final images as chosen, but at least twice this number of good publishable images from which to make the final selection. Aim to show the character of the place and of the people who live there with as much visual variety as possible.

I live mostly in Dubai but I travel quite a lot. My first thoughts on this project was to shoot at a location ‘other’ than the one I live in, but taking my camera away with me at times can be difficult due to the job I do. So the only way I was going to get this assignment done was to submit the required images from Dubai.

I was a little confused at first about the difference of a ‘thoughtful publication’ and a ‘tourism promotion’! After some research and I understood these images were not required to be full glossy type images that would appear on a front cover, but I think to be more on the ground and in the streets types of shots. Street photography maybe, but certainly images that are going to show character and as its mentioned in the brief, to show and give a feel of the people also. Dubai is full of tourists so I need to be careful I don’t over emphasise the tourist side but show more of what Dubai has to offer.

The current weather here has been rather poor, with very high winds bringing with it low visibility. I have waited for over a week to try and allow the weather to change, but this time of year here the changing of the high to low temperatures are causing warm and cold air around the ocean to bring with it 30MPH winds. The other issue here is that the winds bring with it sand from the desert so visibility does get very low. So I cannot delay any further as I am already behind, so I will have to concentrate on maybe closer up shots, interiors and maybe some night images if the wind drops enough later in the day.

Without going into too much detail some brief history can be found here: https://www.dubai.com/v/history/

The cultural differences here are huge. Many types of nationalities reside in Dubai, I think well over 200 types. At first I thought of maybe having these numerous cultures part of the theme for my images, but it was proving too difficult and I knew I would have road blocks trying to get into certain areas such as mosques, and having to be careful of taking images of local woman (and men at times) which can be highly frowned upon if not done very carefully. Its getting better here over the last 10 years or so, and Dubai has become very westernised, but one still has to be careful when it comes to pointing a camera at people and in certain locations without causing issues.

Having finally decided of the type of approach I would take, which was to remove myself from taking any glossy images and/or of locals in part of respect, below is a contact sheet of my final selection of images:

Contact sheet:

The images above are my final selection of 12 images, and not in any order. Below is my selection of the 6 images I short listed but decided not to submit , with a short explanation why.

Short listed images:

[219], [220], [221]

-EDIT- Based on tutors feedback, this image of the fisherman was deemed too far away. It was suggested to get in closer. As I was unable to capture the same image again, I have cropped the image to bring the figures into the frame.

[219] – The first image of the fisherman I thought was a good indication of life in Dubai. The buildings in the background also add the the sense of place in the image. But I had selected another image with a similar feel which I thought was a better option.

[220] – I liked this image of the dhows and the view of the people in the boat making the water crossing on the Dubai Creek. But I felt their was too many distractions with the ropes crossing in front of the image and the figures in the boat too small.

[221] – This image of the Dubai landscape I thought of using as the opening shot, making some suggestion in the write up of Dubai waking up early morning and moving on from their with a story. However I felt the lack of people in the image and the fact the buildings are situated quiet far away made me decide not to submit. Although as an overall picture of the Dubai landscape I thought it worked well.

[222], [223], [224]

[222] – I thought this image showed the feel of Dubai, and how busy the creek area gets in the day. Although the wooden barrier and post was too much of a distraction, and I wanted to get a closer feel of the people which is in my final selection.

[223] – Very similar to image [222], this was another option but the faces were too dark. Yes I can bring these dark shadows out in spot production but as the other image I wanted to get a closer feel of the people and faces.

[224] – This came in close to the final selection of 6, and the comments would have been that Dubai is a haven for sporting events. These are the world champion cycling team from Italy and were here for a major race. This was during a training day shortly before the main event. I decided not to use this on my final selection as the background was a little boring, although it is desert it could be in any location and I wanted to remain in the city of Dubai.

Final selection:

[225]

Dubai was basically desert not such a long time ago when compared to other cities around the world. This area now has a metropolis of buildings, golf courses, residence buildings, office blocks and even a metro line. Its hard to believe that just 15 years ago, this was all desert. I was living here then and used to drive passed this area and I was still 15 mins drive away before I reached any buildings within the downtown area of Dubai. Its hard to image how much the city of Dubai has progressed in such a relatively short space of time, and this can be seen almost at every turn. The image was taken also taking into account one of the recent exercises which was a single small figure, as can be seen with the two golfers on the green to the right of the images on the lower third. An interesting fact is two of the tallest buildings that can be seen in the centre image are the worlds tallest office block, and residence block in the world.

[226]

Dubai is a major tourist attraction. It does have oil, but the supplies will soon be reduced within the next 100 years (predicted). The government and rulers of Dubai had a wonderful vision to attract tourist thus bringing in income from another source. The tourist industry now is one of the largest in Dubai with millions of visitors per year, and Dubai Intl airport is now the busiest airport in the world for major destinations in and out of the city. One of the largest attractions in Dubai is indoor shopping centres. Due to the heat in the summer which can go above 50 degree cent, most of the shopping areas are indoors and air conditioned. This shopping mall is called Dubai Mall, and has the largest indoor aquarium in the world. This is a 10 million-litre tank at the Dubai Aquarium with more than 33,000 aquatic animals and the largest collection of sand tiger sharks in the world. It also has 140 species of sea life and has several ways to experience underwater life, starting with a stroll through a 48-metre walk-through tunnel. It’s a complete fish-eye view, with sand tiger sharks and stingrays swimming overhead. The Dubai Mall I believe is currently the largest shopping mall in the middle east and the third largest in the world.

-EDIT- This image of the aquarium was originally further away from the people and aquarium. this image has been edited based on tutor feedback to bring the whole image and people in the frame closer. This is the original image below.

[227]

Dubai is situated on the Persian gulf, and this opens up many options for building and waterways close to the sea. This is an area called Madinat, and has many shops and food outlets, cleverly covered with palm trees and hotels to give a pleasing feel. The water is brought in from the sea and the landscaping is idyllic. People can walk around the waterways, take an Abra ride, shop, eat and take in the sights of an old type arabic souk (market). In the background we can see the only 7 star hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab hotel, along with its own helipad 750 above the ground. Another use of a small figures can be seen on the left and right of the image.

Tutor feedback notes additional comment – This image is intended to show how diverse Dubai really is. We can see a combination of waterways, green landscaping, shops and eating areas and the worlds only 7 star hotel in the background the Burj Al Arab Hotel…all from what was only a short while ago barren desert.

[228]

Keeping with the water theme, both residents and visitors can enjoy the waterways and open sea for all types of water events from boating, both private and for hire, skiing, jet ski rental, cruising and dining etc. Many residents own expensive boats and yachts which are based in the marina and the water is a major part of Dubai residents and visitors for recreation and spare time. The weekend here is Friday and Saturday so the seas are full of craft during the weekends. These added man made waterways have been a magnet for architects and the construction of buildings and high-rises. Dubai is a open book for designers of such buildings like the ‘twisty’ building which is Cayan Tower (“The building’s twisted shape reduces wind forces on the tower and channels the wind in such a way that its forces are unable to organise themselves,” quote Ref: National Newspaper) and other high rises and office blocks.

[229]

So what about the people? Population of Dubai is currently around 2.67 million. From this around 80% are of Indian or Pakistani origin. From this around 92% are expatriates. The country is built on manual labour to the most part. You will see these workers on the building construction, road construction, serving in shops, petrol stations etc and these are what we could call the worker bees of the city (I mean that in a nice way). Temperatures in the summer can be very hot and Dubai has a temperature limit that allows workers to stop outside activities when it gets to a certain temperature limit, this is to protect the safety of the workers. During the off days again usually a Friday and Saturday, the workers will congregate around many parts of Dubai, one of them being Dubai Creek which is in the old town of Dubai and were many of these workers reside. The main source of income for Dubai started around the creek in the 1830’s as a pearl fishing village and remained so until the 1930’s after the recession. The workers will remove the overalls and be happy to take time to see the sights, drink arabic coffee or sweet tea and wear a nice shirt or local dress while enjoying time with friends. The creek is still used as a major import/export area and a busy hub as can be seen with the Abras or water taxis bringing passengers and tourists between the two sides of the creek.

[230]

I had mentioned in one of the biggest forms of income in Dubai is tourism. Nothing can be seen as an example than in the shopping malls and beach locations. Land is at its prime, and this area is not far away from my first image of the gold course, which 15 years ago was all desert as i mentioned. I remember coming to this area and camping on the beach. Not such a long time ago they were two hotels on this beach, one behind were I’m standing and another about a kilometre ahead of the camera view does the beach. Now we can see a small beach area with towering high-rise buildings which are mainly all accommodation blocks and apartments overlooking the beach. Many of the beaches have now been taken over with construction of hotels and large high rise buildings making beach areas limited. This area is known as JLT Jumeriah Lake Towers and is about 4km of beach front, shops, apartment blocks and hotels. This image was taken on a week working day, so come weekend it would be hard to find any spare area of beach, especially in the winter when the temperatures are bearable. This is one of the most popular spots for beach goers and visitors who like to take in the sun, sand and water and all Dubai has to offer.

Conclusion:

The final brief of this assignment is to write down what we thought of our assignment from the following questions:

What did you set out to achieve, including a description of how you see the essential character of the place?

I wanted to stay away from the glossy type photos of a magazine as what was also mentioned in the brief, and try and show another side of Dubai from more of a person that lives here and also the residents of Dubai, and what it may feel like to I’ve here and not as a visitor. My images were not to be heavily post processed at the risk of them looking slightly boring and plane, but the intention is to show Dubai from a ground level view and not glossy and glitzy.

How well you think you succeeded, including opportunities that were not available to you because of lack of time or access?

I have tried to show a good cross section of Dubai from the people who live and work here, to the offers Dubai has fro both visitors and those who may live and work here. I have included both old and new parts of the city giving viewers an overall feel of the city. I would have liked to maybe include some other recreational aspects of what Dubai has to offer such as camel racing, horse racing and what the desert has to offer, but this would mean more travel and I wanted to remain in the city, and again not include the glossy aspects of Dubai. I would have liked to include locals in some of my images but this can be a sensitive issue here at times, so out of respect I refrained from doing this.

How you might have approached the assignment if you had simply been taking photographs with no-end result in mind (meaning an article to be published)?

Given the choice I think I would have gone for the more glossy type of images. I feel that my submitted images are not types you would see in any high gloss magazine, but this was the brief we needed to stick to. Dubai has a lot to offer both in terms of locations in the city and out in the open spaces such as desert and even further out in the mountains. I would have submitted some images which would include night, and maybe a slow shutter image to show movement either in a night shot or other daytime shot with moving clouds or similar.

Finally I found the subject matter of images hard to conclude as I am more used to taking images that would be seen on postcards, or images of the many interesting buildings that Dubai has to offer. I think I have met the criteria of the brief and shown a good selection of images that show the people and place of Dubai that wouldn’t be first apparent in many of the other publications or personal images of visitors who would focus more on the tourist attractions of the city.

No heavy post production was made to the images, which I think adds to the real life feeling and removes focus from how the image looks, to more of what the image is about.

This concludes Assignment 4 – A sense of place.

Onto Assignment 5 People and Place on Assignment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ref:

http://www.dubai-info.org/en/facts/history

https://www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/madinat-jumeirah/facilities/souk-madinat-jumeirah/

https://www.emirates.com/english/destinations_offers/discoverdubai/aboutdubai/dubaihistory.aspx

http://blog.raynatours.com/5-interesting-facts-dubai-creek/

http://www.visitdubai.com/en/pois/dubai-aquarium-and-underwater-zoo

https://www.dubai.com/v/history/

http://www.thenational.ae/business/industry-insights/property/dubais-twisting-cayan-tower-named-among-worlds-best-new-skyscrapers

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Assignment 3 – Buildings in use

Its been a while since my last assignment submission, mainly due to work issues and getting all the material put together for this assignment.

The OCA brief seems simple on first read which states ‘ Choose five or six buildings and for each produce between two and four images that describe effectively and attractively the way in which these spaces are used’. Further to this the brief requires the student to do the following ‘ You can choose to include people in the images, or not. For each building, it is important that you conduct some research beforehand, either archival or personal (or both), so that you have:

• a good understanding of how and why it was designed in the way it is

• an opinion on its effectiveness as a usable space.

Try to encompass variety in your choice of buildings, including in size and purpose. Write a short statement in your learning log demonstrating your understanding of the function of each building, the way in which it was designed to achieve that, and how well you believe it succeeds. In addition, describe briefly how you initially set about showing the important features of each building photographically, and what you learned during the course of shooting the assignment.

After whats seemed like an eternity thinking of what buildings I could use for this assignment, it became apparent that this may not be as simple as first thought. Of all the choices of buildings I could use, how am I going to break this down to five buildings and within that, submit only 4 or 5 pictures to demonstrate what the brief requires?

So after thinking of which buildings to use where I can complete the full brief, I set out to break down my final choices. My section of images will have a brief description on why I think it works for the required criteria, accompanied with brief metadata and any relevant technical details on how the image was captured.

I’m based in Dubai, and capturing a set of images with an average outside daily summer temperature of between 35-42 degrees is difficult. As not all of the images would be taken indoors I not only had the heat to deal with, but the risk of burnt out highlights as the sun rises very quickly here, so timing would play a big role in catching the right light.

The final set of five buildings (locations) Ive chosen are:

  • Masdar City (Abu Dhabi)
  • Mall of the Emirates (Dubai)
  • Arcadia Preparatory School (Dubai)
  • The Last Exit Food Truck Stop (situated between Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
  • Madinat Souk (Dubai)

All images were taken on a Sony A7MK II, with a 16-35mm Zeiss ZA OSS lens. Some artificial lighting was used were needed. Software for post processing was Lightroom CC. All references for each location are presented at the end of this blog. Relevant metadata can be found under each image.

(click on any image to enlarge)

Set 1 – MASDAR CITY – ABU DHABI, UAE.

Mazda City is based in Abu Dhabi, which is approx a 1 and a half hour drive from Dubai. All I knew of the area before deciding on this location was it was detailed as one of the most sustainable eco friendly cities in the world, and had many areas of invention and pioneering attributes which were worth exploring. What I may find to photograph before my visit wasn’t sure, but thought the journey would prove worth while.

On the website the first statement reads “Seizing The Next Decade. Our goal over the next 10 years is to strengthen the role of clean energy in the global energy mix”. Master is part of the Mubadula Group of companies, and the city was built in Abu Dhabi in 2006.Masdar is working to advance the clean energy industry in Abu Dhabi and around the world, and it is a catalyst for the economic diversification of the emirate.

Masdar is focussing on clean energy deployment, sustainable real estate and independent research. Within Masdar City are graduate university were students can reside during term, offices, shops, an underground driverless car transport system, as well as one of the largest solar panel projects in the world.

[190]

1/640sec, F9, ISO 800

The first image above show modern buildings of varying shapes and sizes. Metal and concert structures almost touch each other in maze of curves and straight lines. I feel that the closeness of each building has a purpose, and that is to shield the residents and work people from the intense summer heat that can touch 50 degrees centigrade in this part of the world. The image shows how the buildings create shadows and shade for those that dare to venture outdoors in the summer months. Each building is designed in its own unique way to reflect the heat while giving a pleasing futuristic look without appearing boring. At the top of the building one can see the massive solar panels which trap and collect energy in this modern futuristic city.

Converted to B&W to enhance the lines and curves of the buildings so as to now allow colour to be a distraction, with leading lines of the sink drain bringing the eye to the figure crossing the street which helps give depth and a measure of size the the buildings.

[191]

1/1250sec, F9, ISO 800

Situated in the background of this image is the Institute of Science and Technology. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research. Once again the building is contracted in a way to reflect heat with specially constructed spiked tiles. The central rest area is protected again by other sand coloured buildings which are part of the residence of the students, with overhangs to give shade. Just out of view to the right of the image is a coffee shop from a famous worldwide brand, as well as a small supermarket and restaurants near by. The trees and rocks give a feeling of being in the country or park, when in fact just behind the buildings is open desert. Rich desert colours are often used on many of the buildings.

[192]

1/30sec, F6.3, ISO 800

Within Masdar City is a prototype ‘Rapid Transport System’, also known as the Personal Rapid Transit ‘PRT’, which is a system of driverless cars, or ‘Pods’, which can transport 6-8 people at a time around a the city. At the moment the system only travels 800 meters from the central location within one of the main buildings to the car park. The system in place at the moment is fully operational, and I took ride in the pods. You simply sit in the car and press a play button on a centre console. The doors will close and take you to the destination without an tracks or electric wires connected to the car. If another car is on the track they will wait for each other to make space. The system was due to be increased in size to many more pods, but the current project has been put on hold. The pods are electric and while they sit waiting for passengers they are charging the batteries in the dock.

The image taken above is within the main building, is was fairly dark so I waited for passengers to leave the station so not to act as a distraction. I placed my camera on a bench and took a set of shots to allow a slow exposure and reduce blur. The leading lines of the floor and square tiling on the ceiling bring the view towards the pods sat waiting for the next passengers.

[193]

1/3200sec, F9, ISO 800

This image is taken on the drive towards Masdar City, and is just on the entrance to one of the major car parking areas. One can see the many shapes of the various buildings and the attempt at the greenery on the approach with hedges and gardens which surround the city. I thought of including a shy in the image but thought it best to show how the area looks without any over post processing.

Set 2 – LAST EXIT – ABU DHABI/DUBAI BOARDER, UAE.

On my back from Abu Dhabi after taking images of Masdar City, I came across a new outlet which at first looked like a normal petrol station or some abandoned rest stop. I pulled in and drove back into the desert away from the main highway, to find this new rest stop come food outlet which I had heard nothing about. The new project turned out to be a new food truck park, complete with the american type food trailers known as ‘Airstreams’ and indoor eating centre. it opened only this summer 2016, and had multitude of caravan type food outlets. One of the comments on a review states ” This is not bland – or cheap – fast food. Last Exit is a gourmet pit stop with something to please every palate – from falafel and Mexican cuisine to seafood and burgers.”

The stop has an obvious car and motor vehicle theme, as can be seen when you first drive into the car park with old cars stacked on top of each other, and an old VW Beatle sat on top of the main building. You can drive through or take time to look around and eat indoors or outside in the winter months.

[194]

1/3200sec, F8, ISO 800

This first image is an example of how the building interacts with people from the car park area to walking inside the food court. I noticed after a short while that all the items used are either recycled, or looked to be recycled. Look at how the bike stands are made from old barrels cut open to allow the bikes to fit. The corrugated materials used to make the main building give an industrial feel to the whole area.

The image was taken to show the separate items used for the visitors, and how everything is laid out in a spacious way while encouraging recycling. Image is closely cropped to remove the featureless sky.

[195]

1/250sec, F6.3, ISO 800

1/250sec, F6.3, ISO 800

Once inside the truck stop food area, you are met with a multitude of car parts, metal dealing made of aluminium, door handles made from petrol pump fillers and tables made from recycled industrial cable wire barrels. This building has done a great job of supplying the customers with a place to eat using all the recycled materials available, while giving it a bright feel with colours and bright open windows. Notice how the light shades are made from recycled wheels and spokes.

[196]

1/125sec, F4.5, ISO 800

1/125sec, F4.5, ISO 800

Along the corridor which connects two of the food eating areas, is made to feel like some sort of garage. The stools are made from old wood and the foot pegs are made from cycling pedals. Old tool boxes are situated as counter tops with stainless steel road signs on the roof which point in the directions of each location. Pipes are used to hold up the wooden shelf areas and buckets are the light shades. This adds to the whole feel of being a motor theme.

[197]

1/10sec, F4.5, ISO 800

1/10sec, F4.5, ISO 800

This image of the males rest rooms was a little hard to capture, not just because of the low light, but because it had an attendant cleaning the floors and helping guests with towels etc, plus I had to wait for the area to become clear. I felt a bit strange standing outside a male toilet waiting to take a few pictures like some stalker. I asked the attendant if I could take a few pictures as I liked the theme of how they had designed the room. You can see the wheels and car tires used for the wash basins, and the car number plates use for the lamp shades. The pipes are real with water coming from underground and to make the water come out the taps (which are petrol pump handles) you stand on the accelerator pedal on the floor. The urinals (I spared you the picture on this one) just out of view on the left of frame are made from old buckets. Personally I thought this was the best example of how a room or building could be made unique and still function perfectly, that Ive ever seen. Very clever.

All three above images indoors were taken into Lightroom and given a grungy feel and deep colours with high clarity to enhance the items used in each room, and to bring out the vivid colours. They looked good in B&W but I felt the colours helped better and added separation to each item, as there were so many to see in such a small area.

SET 3 – MALL OF THE EMIRATES, DUBAI, UAE

For my next building I decided to use a shopping area, or mall, as this is a little different to some of the normal malls that are available to the public in the UK. Different as in the area is designed to give a feel of being outdoors while being inside due to the high temperatures we experience here in Dubai. But while talking of high temperatures it also boosts a Ski slope. Yes….a Ski slope! The only Ski slope in the middle east.

Mall of the Emirates was opened November 2005. The multi-level shopping mall currently features more than 630 retail outlets, 7900 parking spaces, over 100 restaurants & Cafes, 80 luxury stores and 250 flagship stores, and as mentioned has the only Ski slope in the middle east.

[198]

1/400sec f6.3, ISO 800

I decided to take my first image of the mall from the outside, as this massive structure overhangs the car park and entrances to part of the mall. This is Ski Dubai which is situated at one end of the mall. It has a black slope for the most experienced of skiers so height and length is required while space is at a premium with over 25,000sq meters of space. Signs are posted around the parking area to located certain areas for foot traffic, as well as electronic parking meters showing what number of spaces are available in each parking lane.

This image shows how buildings can be placed around each other to accommodate people and traffic, while space is at its most premium. Parking is still available underneath the Ski structure making use of every available space.

[199]

1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

As mentioned in the opening text, Mall of the Emirates consists of more than 100 restaurants and cafes. Making use of space again in this example, we can see how natural light is able to cover the whole area which in this area is on the top floor of the mall. The visitors are able to enter down the escalator to be met with a combination of shops and eating outlets. The building has air conditioning ducts around the sides of the shops (long black grills) which keep the area cool. Just out of view in the far left corner is the worlds largest Apple store.

The image was converted to B&W to enhance the ones and steel window light structure. The escalator rails help bring the viewer into the image and act as leading lines.

[200]

1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

This next image shows the central part of Mall of the Emirates. The building is designed in four different levels, each with interlacing stairs, lifts and escalators to transport visitors easily between each floor. Expensive marble is used on the flooring which reflects light back up from the natural skylight reducing the need for bright lights and thus saving power and the planet.

As per the previous picture, this image is converted to B&W white show the lines and sun rays from the above skylight. The lines of each level help take the viewer into the photograph.

[201]

1/100sec, F8, ISO 800

This area is near one of the main entrances to the mall. The shoppers and visitors are welcomed with a bright area, again from the massive natural skylight above, and fountain features and greenery which is detailed to give the feeling of being outdoors. Each restaurant table around the horse feature fountain has short hedges and flower arrangements to enhance the outdoor feel. The building is designed to bring the shoppers to an open area from each level. Escalators just behind the image view help to transport shoppers to each level.

This image worked best in colour due to the flooring. The image is taken from a viewpoint of creating circles within circles, from the tiling floor, fountain and the balconies.

SET 4 – SOUQ MADINAT, DUBAI, UAE

For my last set of images for buildings in use, I decided to take a trip down to Souq Madinat, which is situated next to the famous Burj Al Arab hotel. Its owned by the Jumeirah group of hotels and consists of 24 restaurants, a waterway which takes passengers from restaurant to restaurant, or restaurant to hotel and other locations within the souq area, as well as  a number of high end hotels. The Madinat souq is also home to a Turtle sanctuary and a 442 seat Theatre which is available for live shows and movies. Visitors who are not staying in the hotels can take an Abra ride around the waterways. All parking is based underground.

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1/1000sec, F14, ISO 800

1/1000sec, F14, ISO 800

One of the main entrance points of the Souq Madinat is used for pick up and drop off for visitors. Surrounding the entrance we can see the theme of the soul which is in the form of the old arabic wind tunnels, along with the sand coloured walls giving an authentic feel to the building on arrival. Palm trees greet the disembarking passengers adding to the arabic theme.

[203]

1/100sec, F5.6, ISO 800

1/100sec, F5.6, ISO 800

Once inside the souq you are transformed into a different world, as if you have been taken back in time to the early days of Arabia. The ceiling and decor are all copies of an ancient world of the Arabian markets or ‘souq’. A total of 75 shops and stalls are scattered around the interior, with more shopping areas located outside in allyways. Large high wooden beams make up the structure of the building with cold concrete pathways giving a feeling of yesteryear. Along the central walkway above is antique style lighting.

Image was shot to show the structure of the building, with a portrait frame to help highlight the high ceilings and wonderful wooden beams. Some areas of the image were lightened to bring out the shadows.

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1/2000sec, F11, ISO 800

1/2000sec, F11, ISO 800

Once outside the souq we have buildings designed in the old fashioned stone, with wind towers (or wind catchers) high above the ground. These wind towers are still used today and help reduce the temperature of buildings which have no electricity or available air conditioning. On first impression you may think you have been transported back in time, but clues that you are in the modern world are highlighted by the modern food chain sign on the door, along with the popular coffee shop chain and the menu on the right lower corner of the image. Wooden stairways are situated around to help visitors to each level.

Image was taken low to enhance height of the buildings and converted to B&W to give an old fashioned feel, with subtle composition to show the food chains. The positioning was made to bring the highlight of the sun through the palm trees.

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1/1000sec, F11, ISO 800

1/1000sec, F11, ISO 800

The final image of this set show the Abra and the waterways which surround the Souq Madinat. These Abra boats can take passengers to various restaurants, bars and hotel rooms. Visitors who are not staying in the hotels can still take a paid trip around the buildings and souq areas. The buildings are located facing each other, so we have restaurants on one side with hotel rooms on the opposite of the waterway. The water is brought in through channels from the nearby sea. The construction area also has a certain number of bridges (as can be seen in the distance) which also connect hotels to the shops and souq. All the areas outside are scattered generously with Palm trees and other flowers and landscaping.

This image was taken showing the various elements of the building and its surroundings. from the buildings on the right which encompasses the restaurants and tables to the waterways with the passing Abra, to the hotel locations on the left side, while leading the eye into the frame to the Burj Al Arab hotel in the distance.

Conclusion.

Comparison with assessment criteria.

DEMONSTRATION OF TECHNICAL AND VISUAL SKILLS.

For this third assignment I decided to include images with and without people. I have chosen to use a number of different camera angles to enhance the image when ever needed. Lighting was mainly natural as I feel most of the images didn’t require any artificial lighting given the subject matter. I have a camera with built in OSS so I was able to up the ISO and then reduce any noise in Lightroom CC.

QUALITY OF OUTCOME.

I found the final choice of buildings hard, and also the type of images required didn’t allow me to be so creative in the image. Therefore no post processing to any high degree was used like I may have used in past assignments. I feel I have covered a cross section of building that show clearly how they interact with people, even though we as the end user may not notice this in our daily lives.

DEMONSTRATION OF CREATIVITY.

I have used leading lines in certain images to take the eye into the frame and this was chosen carefully. At times I was carful and patient to wait for a person to move into a certain spot within the frame, thus helping give the image weight and to show a feeling of size. With other images I choose not to include any person or people so to concentrate on the image itself. I have used a full cross section of buildings from shopping malls, industrial and schools. Where needed I have used B&W if I thought this was relevant to the image, so colour would not be a distraction, allowing the viewer to concentrate and appreciate the lines and contours within the frame.

CONTEXT.

Research was done on each building well before the images were shot, so I had a feel of what I wanted to capture in my head. It turned out that looking back at the final selection I pretty much took images of what I had in mind prior to the visits. I had read a number of other student sites and submissions and did my best to not copy or emulate others images, as I wish my images to be personal to me with my own creativity and thought. The assignment was harder than at first thought, as I felt I couldn’t be so creative with the images and that I stood a risk of the images becoming boring. I tried to chose different viewpoints to keep the images interesting with write-ups on each which would give interesting information to complement each photograph.

References and research :

Set 1 – Masdar City:

Set 2 – Last Exit

Set 3 – Mall of the Emirates

Set 4 – Souq Madinat

Assignment 3 Buildings in Use – Thoughts and preparation

After reading the initial criteria for this assignment, at first I thought this would be an easy choice of what buildings I was able to pick for the assignment. After some reflection I found that the buildings I wanted to use would prove difficult, due to the high number of people and security cameras around which made me feel intimidated. One such building was going to be the Dubai Metro, but then I thought that the number of security guards and cameras around every inch may prove an issue. Even if I was to take images I didn’t want onlookers giving me the evil eye, or constantly being approached by officials asking what it was I was taking pictures of, and why.

So that idea was passed by and I was then back to thinking of which buildings would be different to what a lot of other submissions have already been covered. Some examples would be the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, but entry and cost was an issue, others were hospitals but that has been covered with other students, and another possible one was hotels. The next issue would be getting information on each building to make it interesting enough as a read and to gel well into the final choice of images. For instance and shopping mall is well…a shopping mall, and can be a little basic in the history other than it was built on such a date in order for people to shop, so if I go down this route the interaction of the people should I choose to include them or not needs to capture the interest of the reader along with the building history.

After scouting different areas I decided it would be better to include people where possible. This would make the images easier to capture without the need to do a slow shutter on a tripod in order to blend out any people, and also I think people in the image would give it a bit more of a focal point and add to the overall depth and size of some of the locations, as its easy to compare a building or object for size when a person is placed in the image.

The final areas I decided to use where situated both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which is a good two hours drive from Dubai in traffic. I had an idea of two areas in Abu Dhabi, and needed to try and gain access to both during the one visit. As it turned out I only managed one building but found something better back in Dubai, by chance.

From the technical side I knew which camera and equipment I was going to use. My Sony A7 MK2 with a wide angle 16-24mm Zeiss lens. Natural light would be the main source for each image, but I would use some artificial lighting if needed to balance any shadow areas. This light maybe in the form of fill flash or LED lighting. A reflector is a possibility but being on my own and taking images of such large areas this may not be suited.

So at the early stages of planning I had ideas for a number of building but after thoughts I was down to maybe two or three that I knew would be a good choice. How can you be based in a city like Dubai to then wonder how you are going to take images of just five buildings and finding it a struggle? Part of this dilemma came down to including the people in such a sensitive country. This had to be planned carefully if I was to include people, and if not it would be hard to take images where people are not present.

So with my final selections of buildings in my head its now time to set out and get the images, along with how each of these interact with people as per the brief along with the history of each location.

Exercise 2 – Thinking about location

For this second exercise we are to act as a location scout, and find locations that we could use as a backdrop for a portrait shot.

The locations and backgrounds would really depend, I personal think, on the subject. You may not place a businessman dressed in a suit in the same place as sportsperson or a workman dressed in heavy boots and holding heavy tools. So I have looked at this exercise as to locations I would use as backgrounds for a ‘general portrait’ were they could be used for males, females, couples for a casual setting and a relaxed ambience feel.

(click any image to enlarge)

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This photo was taken in advance of posting this blog after reading through the notes and exercises. I felt this would be a good location for maybe a wedding scene, or a person looking out towards the castle on the other side of Lake Maggiore in Italy.The frame is composed with he overhanging tree to help fill in the dead space, and the green rails to help the eye scan the picture right to left.

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I wanted to find a rustic type of background but didn’t find one I really liked, without using pictures taken a few years ago. So I used this wall area in a hotel grounds. I felt the trees over the top help to give the background a little bit more colour and added texture.

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I liked this background which could be used for a pleasant female portrait, showing a soft colours. I could see a girl laying or walking past while holding a flower or one of the firs in the image.

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This would be great for someone either walking towards, or away from the camera. The path helps to train the eye into the image which would work well leading into the subject. This was an overcast day so different set ups could work in the summer time also. This was in Germany in December time.

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Simular to the images I had taken for exercise one, I found this would work well with a person sitting on the rock while looking outwards to the surrounding golf course. The tricking bit with this image would be the exposure between the shadow area under the trees and bright skyline.

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Another image taken in Italy on Lake Maggiore. This image would work well again with a person(s) such as a couple walking into or again away from camera. I think towards would be a lot better. Placement would be key here with the subjects so not to distract too much and make the viewer concentrate on the shadows or posts. Another option would be to have a subject looking out over the lake while resting on the green barrier fence.

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The notes mention to revisit one of the background selections and take a picture of a subject. Since some of my images where taken while on business I decided to take Elaine back to the hotel wall and use the grain and texture of the rock formation as a background, while wearing a contrasting red top. I could turn this to B&W but I didn’t think it had the same effect.

Conclusion:

This exercise was harder than first thought when I set out to complete it. I found myself looking at areas which at first impressions were suitable but after taking the picture just didn’t seem to work. With a little more time I could have spent longer looking for that perfect background but couldn’t find what I wanted. One idea I had was an old factory or building with graffiti written on the walls, but I never came across anything at the time frame of shooting.