Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pic(k) of the week 26: The bridge to luxury - Burj al Arab (Dubai)

Two buildings dominate the Architectural scene in Dubai; the first one being the World's tallest building "BURJ KHALIFA" and the second one the "BURJ AL ARAB", known as the Worlds only 7-star hotel. 

The latter has dominated the Jumeirah beach for more than 15 years and hasn't lost its popularity. The hotel sits on a small man-made island and is connected to the mainland with a 300 m long bridge.

I'm often asked about the "tennis court" on the top of the building...Let's break the myth. The round structure at the top of the 320 m tall (same height as the Eiffel tower) building, is actually a helicopter platform. It was changed into a one of tennis court in 2005 when Roger Federer and Andre Agassi were invited to play a few rounds. A video of the event can be found here.

Over the years, I've shot the Burj al Arab (Tower of the Arabs) from a variety of angles, but shots with the bridge in the frame are a bit harder to get.

I owe it to shooting smaller mirrorless cameras like the Fujifilm X-T1, in order to get images like the one below. Doubt it, that a bulky DSLR mounted on a full size tripod, would have been allowed at the same spot...

The bridge to luxury, Burj al Arab - Dubai

The image which I captioned, "The bridge to luxury", consists of three shots blended together through Luminosity masks in Photoshop CC. A technique I've started learning as a summer project, with the help of the guys at . 

The technique allows for a much more realistic look compared to a classic HDR development. As the sky turned purple/orange for a very brief moment during the blue hour, I shot the darker frame which then allowed me to edit the photograph as I personally witnessed it!

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T1 and the XF10-24 f4 lens
ISO 200, f11, 11mm (17mm full frame equivalent)
3 shot bracket with varying Shutter speeds from 1/10s to 5s
RAW development in Iridient Developer 
Photoshop CC 2015 for image blending through Luminosity masks
Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to add some more drama to the scene

Even though, I've seen the Burj al Arab hundreds of times, it remains a building that never bores me. A collection with some of the images shot over the last 13 years can be found here.

It is quite rare for an image to make it directly into my portfolio, but I believe this one deserves a place in the ARCHITECTURAL section. 

Remember: "We shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us" - Winston Churchill.


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