Category Archives: United Arab Emirates

Close your Eyes and Jump

A few of the major tourist attractions in Dubai are the shopping malls, among them the Dubai Mall. It happens to be the largest shopping mall in the world and it is located right next to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. After walking around in the Dubai Mall for about half a day, I came to a corner with a huge fountain that resembled a waterfall. Installed on the waterfall were actual size metal sculptures of men flying down the waterfall. The entire installation spanned from the mall’s basement to the roof, I think about 4 or 5 floors total.
I walked around a lot on all the different levels, looking for a good angle to take a photo and trying many different compositions. Since it was 9 in the morning, not many people were around and the sun was shining through the glass roof at a perfect angle. In total, I spent half an hour here and took 42 photos.

Close your Eyes and Jump

And it wasn’t easy to choose the best one among them, but I ultimately picked the 15th photo I took. The fact that the scene was almost black and white in reality and that the top left corner could be made entirely black greatly simplified the post processing. I am so happy with the result that I got it printed on canvas and put it up on my wall. Now I look at it every morning when I wake up.

P.S.: The title came from a song that was playing as part of a mix I was listening to while processing the photo: Chuckie feat. Maiday – Skydive

The world’s largest carpet

Traveling through the United Arab Emirates, you get used to the omnipresent world records rather quickly. Everything seems to be the largest this, the most expensive that and the fastest what-have-you. So to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that impressed when the tour guide told me that the carpet I was about to walk on was the largest in the world.
As usual, the exact details vary depending on who you ask but it took 1,200 carpet knotters about 2 years to complete the carpet. It has a total of 2.2 billion knots, weighs about 50 tons and measures 6,000m² – almost an entire soccer field. It is so large that it had to be manufactured in 8 separate pieces in Iran and shipped to Abu Dhabi together with some knotters who finally joined the pieces together inside the mosque. It provides space for up to 7,000 worshipers and the carpet’s pattern matches the patterns of the ceiling, especially the chandeliers.

World's Largest Carpet

Speaking of the chandeliers again, here is one more photo that illustrates the immense size of these lamps. You can see how small the people at the bottom of the picture appear compared to the chandeliers hanging above them. And from the side, the upper parts also become more visible with their thousands of small pieces of glass and Svarovski crystals.
Despite all the fascination I have with these chandeliers, I think they only look so good inside the mosque. I can’t imagine having an obviously smaller version of one of those inside my living room, it would just look out of place.

Visitors under the Chandeliers

As usual, you can find these and some other photos from inside Sheikh Zayed Mosque in the Abu Dhabi Gallery. I also took a lot of photos outside, but who knows when I’ll post those.

Fixing the Symmetry

The little irregularities in the last photo kept bothering me, so I decided to try and fix them with some digital trickery in the GIMP. While I was at it, I also enhanced the contrast slightly to brighten up the bottom a bit and make the pattern on the wall more prominent. Here’s the result:

Symmetrical Visitor

You probably have to directly compare it to the previous version to actually notice the changes in the bottom right. And only if you pay very close attention you can see parts of the cheating in the final image. While I don’t normally do this kind of manipulation on my photos, it is very common among photographers and I find myself playing with it more often these days.

Lone Visitor under the Chandelier

Whenever I promise that I’ll soon do something, soon somehow turns into a longer than anticipated time frame. It’s been more than 3 (very busy) weeks since the last post but now I can finally present a first picture demonstrating the size of the chandeliers inside Sheikh Zayed Mosque. If I’m not mistaken, this should be the central chandelier, and the guy in the picture is walking toward the main door.

Lone Visitor

He was walking away from me, so I didn’t have much time to take the photo. And even though I tried to frame it as symmetrical as possible, something went wrong in the bottom right corner. It is really a bit weird because all the rest of the picture appears very symmetrical. But that’s the part about shooting ultra wide angle (10mm again) – even the slightest movement of the camera can result in large distortions that are impossible to correct in post processing. Especially when taking indoor architecture photos that rely on perspective and have very dominant parallax effects.

Apart from that, the photo does a good job in showing the size of the building and the chandelier. Compared to the man in the bottom, the chandelier is gigantic – easily a few times taller than a person – and the entire room is even larger.