Cityscaping in Dubai
I recently made a 2 weeks trip to Dubai and thought it would be helpful to write a little blog post about this experience. Dubai is an extremely ‘high-tech’ city. A city that reminds you of blade runner with all its sci-fi buildings. People who like to shoot cityscapes will absolutely love shooting in Dubai. There are also lots of other things to shoot like the obvious desert and the old part of Dubai which is quite good for street photography. Drive two hours and you can visit Oman or Abu Dhabi. Other cities that are great for photography. Near Abu Dhabi you can photograph the Sheikh Zayed Mosque also known as the Grand Mosque. This is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen, so definitely worth a visit. Back to Dubai:
When to go?
Dubai is super hot during summer. In the winter months it’s very pleasant with temperatures in between 20c and 30c, so best go during winter if you want to be outside a lot and go shooting. Also, during winter months you have more chance to catch the famous ‘Dubai fog’. A magical phenomena where there is very low fog and all the skyscrapers are covered in a fog carpet. It’s a dream to photograph.
Staying in Dubai:
Expect to pay around 100 euro per night (split that if you’re travelling together with someone). If you want a fancy hotel in the city centre, you might have to pay more. Best is to stay near a subway station so that you can easily travel around. You can find some amazing apartments on airbnb too if you want to have a room on a high floor with a view. These are usually not cheap too, but it’s a price you pay for an amazing photography spot. Good places for photography are Downtown Dubai, Business Bay and Dubai Marina. So try to stay some what close to there.
Dubai has a subway system that is quite good but it doesn’t get you everywhere. Cabs are quite affordable and I usually take them a lot when I have to go to a certain skyscraper to shoot at. You can also easily take buses to other cities around Dubai like Abu Dhabi and Oman. There’s a bus terminal that is easily accessible and everything is quite easy. If you want more flexibility, rent a car. Gas is EXTREMELY cheap in Dubai. Like the cheapest you have ever seen. It’s 4 to 5 times cheaper as fuel in Europe, so to me It was basically free. This is a great reason to rent a car. Keep in mind though that it’s not that ‘easy’ to drive in Dubai. If you’re a confident driver you will not have problems. It’s difficult because on the main roads are so much exits that you will take a lot of wrong turns. Even with Google Maps as navigation it’s a tough job. The problem is that they keep changing roads in Dubai, and keep buildings new ones. Google Maps can simply not keep up and a lot of times Google Maps will put you on the wrong road. So driving on the busy roads during rush hour can be quite a challenge. However, if you just drive around the city, to for example Oman or Abu Dhabi, it’s very easy.
Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi: no fee, MUST visit when going to Dubai.
The beach near Burj Al Arab hotel: nice spot to shoot the sunset of the famous Burj Al Arab hotel.
The palm island: Both sides. 1 side has a Marina skyline view, other side has a Burj Al Arab with Burj Khalifa view. Best to rent a car for this one, or take a cab.
Business Bay Arch: Famous spot where you can capture Business Bay Skyline with the Arch of the bridge.
Dubai Marina: Just go there by metro and walk around. You’ll find many interesting spots from the ground to shoot.
Sheraton Four Points Level 43: Rooftop bar with a view on Sheikh Zayed Road. No tripods permitted normally, but try calling the management up front to ask for permission.
Desert: Rent a car or take the desert Safari.
These are just some of the 'easy' options on where to shoot when you're in Dubai. Note that I shot a lot of these earlier this year when I didn't plan too much. My newer images will be posted on my Facebook soon, so make sure to follow me :) Please check all the links on the site below for all my social media channels.
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