We don’t appreciate it as much as we ought to, but Dubai’s skyline is one of the most interesting visages in the history of human civilization, and I’m not exaggerating. The novelty of it all does wear off the longer you live in the city, so it’s always a good idea take a step back and rediscover the modern day marvels that Dubai has built with a fresh pair of eyes.
Once that bit is sorted and you finally want to capture the city’s architecture again, you’ll need some tips on how to do it right. You don’t want to take photos thinking you’ve got great ones only to discover that you’re left with visual duds.
Go to an open space where there are no distractions.
You can take any photo from anywhere, but if you want to highlight the amazing skyline, the rest of the image should be distraction-free. Those lines, shapes and silhouettes are the only things you want people to focus on, not random poles and road signs spread across the frame. There are a few places right within in the city where you can get these shots, all you need to do is do a bit of aimless driving and you’ll stumble upon some great spots that will serve as perfect vantage points to view these structures.
Watch the clock
Sunrise and sunset hours offer the most magical natural lighting that you could ever ask for in landscape photography, so be sure to make a note of when exactly these hours are going to be on any particular shooting day. The blue hour (which is actually really just a few minutes immediately after the sunset) is an even more beautiful time to take some snaps because this is when the building lights come on, adding a bit more depth and cosmopolitan flair to your photos.
Mind the light
Everyone’s been in that situation where you see the perfect drop and decide to take a photo posing against it, only to run into some really troubling exposure problems due to backlighting – either you’re too dark or the background is too bright, it’s like you can’t have both! This is because camera phones and even SLR cameras are not equipped to handle the broad dynamic range of such high-contrast scenes.
The only way to achieve a properly exposed foreground – that’s you – and background is to balance the amount of light that hits both planes. You can do this by adding flash or other lighting equipment such as reflectors into the equation. Don’t discount lamp posts at night, no matter how weak they seem. They can provide some decent lighting in the absence of any other and salvage a shot that would not have been possible.
If you’re after a silhouette, there’s no need to balance the lighting. The only thing you have to do is make it look deliberate, so it would help tremendously if you pose with your back turned to the camera. If you face the lens, it just looks like you posed for a photo and the person taking the picture exposed for the wrong element. You can also experiment facing 90 degrees from the camera for silhouetted profile, if you have the nose for it.