Today I present the Gold Souk and Fish Market near Dubai Creek. The below series is ordered chronologically as we aimlessly wandered the bazaars and neighborhoods in Dubai North. We began walking at 1150 and ended at 1815 just past sunset taking only two breaks. One for a cold Guinness at the Sherlock Holmes Bar in the Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa. Another for a traditional Turkish Coffee at the Coffee Museum. We covered 3.18mi dutifully recorded by my Apple Watch. Made on a Leica M-P (TYP 240) and processed with with Fuji Velvia 50 emulation in Lightroom.
As discussed here, I'm in Dubai shooting images for General Electric. On my off days, I continued a personal project I began last time I was here in 2013. This evening I canvased the Al Satwa neighborhood adjacent to the Dubai Downtown. By adjacent I mean this "working class" neighborhood literally runs right up to the skyline, separated only by the Sheikh Zayed Road. After walking a bit I realized how "present" telephone poles were throughout the neighborhood. The juxtaposition with the towering Burj Khalifa in the background set the stage for my concept. So I created a series of images with a topology approach. Training and centering the frame on the omnipresent downtown skyline while keeping the neighborhoods in the foreground. I shot residence after residence in this fashion, creating a beautiful correlation.
Play the audio clip below I made while in the neighborhood during the 17:39 prayer (Maghrib) then scroll the series.
12,875 km trip. Chicago, Ill USA to Dubai, UAE. Emirates Airlines, Row 48, Seat K.
Over the top of the world to a city that averages 360 days of sun a year. I made a hasty trip to the Arabian Peninsula to shoot the Dubai Airshow for General Electric. Everything came together at the last minute. So I stuffed my Goruck GR2 with clothes / essentials, my Think Tank Airport Essentials bag with gear (more on my gear list and pics later) and off I went.
My Emirates 777-300ER took the scenic route because flying over the Sinai Peninsula is "not recommended" at the moment. (Not to mention we had to avoid other "no fly over" / "hot" countries like the Ukraine, Syria and Iraq.) That route took us over the North Pole and across the "friendlier" countries of Afghanistan and Iran. We casually landed in a sandstorm.
Flip side of spending 15 hrs in the second to last row of a 777? Checking into the Grosvenor House Dubai. I got upgraded to a double bedroom, full kitchen suite overlooking the Dubai Marina. I spent no time there. As soon I landed, it was off to meet my contact, canvas the city and resume shooting a personal series I started last time I was here in 2013. More on that later.
Here are a few interesting shots from my first 48hrs of travel. Shot with my Leica M-P (TYP 240).
Day one at the Dubai Airshow, Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, UAE. I'm here shooting video and still images for General Electric. They make big engines for passenger jets, helicopters and military fighters. This is a special airshow for me. I've shot all three grand airshows, London, Paris and Dubai, twice. That's six years of globetrotting to make beautiful images of incredible, cutting edge flying machines. My primary job is to shoot GE engines on display aircraft. I travel to airshows because they are one of the few opportunities to shoot engines on clean aircraft. They also cut me loose to document these shows on a broader, editorial sense as I see it. That was today's focus. I accomplished this by placing people within the scene and working fast with my Leica.
This was the first commercial job I used my Leica M-P (TYPE 240). This camera is a full frame, 100% manual rangefinder. It's an incredible piece of German engineered machinery. Real simple, basic, heavy and straight to the point. I used VSCO emulations to replicate traditional 35mm film stocks. I'll have more thoughts about the Leica and day two after the jump...
Day two. It's hot out here. Over 100º C on the tarmac. The camera is hot to the touch. Continued working with the Leica. It's doing well. This camera is solid and suitable for commercial rigors in my opinion. The Arabian Desert is a decent proving ground for any camera equipment let alone a Leica. It's definitely producing the files I expected, rich, textured and dense. This week I followed the traditional learning curve. To achieve the look I want, I need to overexpose. Then when I emulate Fuji Velvia stock in Lightroom, the files just pop. Minor drawback, I noticed a decent amount of dust on my files. That's not surprising considering the air is dust filled. But I've shot with my Canon 5D MK3 out here in the past and never had dust on my files. Canon's are sealed tight. The Leica has some air leaks here and there. But that's ok. The richness of the files it is producing trumps some dust. My focus today was to make solid clean shots for my client, more emphasis on tech, less on the participants.
Presenting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE. We drove an hour and a half south by southwest from Dubai to make a photo of this building. I captured this audio during the afternoon prayer. Image made with a 90mm tilt shift.