September 30, 2006

Up Close And Personal (for Meg) - #30

In response to a request from Ms. Meg from NZ - here is a close up of the falcon's headress.

From what I know, the headress is used to simulate night time. A hunting bird will be calm when dark as they can not hunt or even fly at night, so if as a human you wish to calm a bird of prey, make it night...

September 29, 2006

Beware Falling Standards - #29

This is a shot of one the 48 or so towers being constructed in Dubai Marina.

I kind of like the well meant sign even if the spelling is a little wonky...

September 28, 2006

Musan-dad and daughter - #28

Yet again I cheat a little...

This shot is taken in Musandam in Oman. I love this shot of the most friendly family.

Lots of people turned up at once and I was longing to take some shots but was a bit shy! However I overcame this and went to ask if I could take some photos of them, yet alas I speak no Arabic and they didn't speak much English but the message was easily communicated...

The were very happy to have their picture taken and they took some of me too.

A love the happy and natural karma in this image...

September 27, 2006

Do you half a car? - #27

"Do you have a car?" "Yes, I half a car"

"No, I mean do you have a car?" "Ah, No. Sorry. I only have half a car"

The Creek in Dubai is a bustling sea inlet the splits the oldest parts of town in two. It is the traditional hub of the city and has provided its life blood up until 30 or so years ago.

It's still wonderfully vibrant with dhows and abras. They import all sorts. Here we see a bit of a car... why this was deemed to be an item worthy of importation is a bit beyond me...

Deira, Dubai, UAE. Half a car. By Bluey.

September 26, 2006

BLOOOP x 1,000 a/k/a Marina Fountain - #26

They say a photo paints a thousand words... and this one would be "BLOOOP" x 1,000.

Taken at some really cool fountains at Dubai Marina. This area is called "New Dubai" as it is shooting up so fast.

5 years ago it didn't exist, 2 years ago 48 (yes, forty eight) tower blocks (sorry luxury apartments) were initiated and sold in seconds... it is not too far away from completion now...

I'll post some more of this fascinating area soon.

For now I leave you with BLOOOP - a true once only ever occurrence.

September 25, 2006

Iftar Sunset & Skyline - #25

A view of Dubai snapped during Ramadan on the way home from work, the sun was setting which is very important in Ramadan for practising muslims.

Once the sun goes down (approx 6:16pm in Dubai on 24th Sept 06) then the fast can be broken and Iftar can begin.

Here is a very interesting blog all about personal experiences of Ramadan

The skyline of Dubai is ever changing... the building on the far right of this picture is the Burj Dubai (as per my previous post).

An interesting factoid for you - look at the bottom right of the shot - 18% of the the WORLDS fixed cranes are in Dubai NOW.

September 24, 2006

The Smallest Tallest Building In The World - #24

This is a shot of a scale model of the Burj Dubai and the suurounding developments.

This is currently in progress and the building has reached 70 floors so far (200m). This is currenty claimed to be 1/4 of the final size.

Hope you enjoy this little helicopter view... some really images of the worlds tallest building coming soon...

September 23, 2006

Starlight, Brunchlight - #23

I love instant gratification / satisfaction - so in a follow up to yesterdays brunch post...

My friend
100% DXB Baby!

(And Ramadan Kareem to all)

September 22, 2006

Love And Reflection - #22

As the saying goes T.F.I. Friday... Fridays in Dubai are wonderful. It is the only day that the entire city rest (like Sunday in the West but even more restful). The horrendous traffic calms to a mere trickle.

This shot was taken last Friday at actually a very civilised and quiet lunch on a Friday at Amwaj and the Shangri-La Hotel. Very nice indeed, amazing fish and lovely rose wine for about 240dhs (about US$70 / 35 UK pounds) per person.

If you look very closely you will also see my wife and I... A self-portrait and a brunch photo for the price of one photo - BARGAIN!

For some expats Friday inevitably means Brunch. To a civilised person brunch sounds like a gentle prospect. Some food at a time and size that is between breakfast and lunch. How nice.

Where as in Dubai this generally means eating you body weight in food and drinking a LOT in 5 star hotels for one set price. It is a wonderful and deadly combination.

If you are not a western expat Friday is usually a quiet day for religion, contemplation or shopping.

September 21, 2006

The Steve McQueen Of Dubai - #21

"May I take your photo?", to which he said "Sure".

I was so pleased that he didn't make any move to pose or smile, just kept on doing his own thing and looking at me as if I were a bit mad. I mean why would I want to take his picture?

Simple - becuase if you were any cooler you would be the Steve McQueen of Dubai!

The shot was taken in Deira near the Spice Souk and the abra stations.

The backround sign here is an area map, they exist randomly throughout old Dubai (as do versions of famous cool people...)

September 20, 2006

One of my favourite places - #20

Another view of Dubai, a glorious view - the beach at Jebal Ali.

This is a glorious beach between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A great place to spend a day or even camp over night with friends.

The government have made beach shelters and put up these shower units along the whole beach (except for some reason these showers are dry, they never work!). There is a huge airport just about to be developed, in fact the biggest in the world, that I think will be the end of this beach. They have started zoning it off and it is a great great shame...

The temperature is dropping steadily and very soon it'll be cool enough for the first camping trip of the year and I can't wait...

September 19, 2006

Abracadabra! Proof! - #19

In a photo, I recently mentioned the Abras of Dubai. An Abra is according to Wiki "a traditional boat made from wood used to transfer people in the Dubai creek". In reality, it's a very cheap way to cross a body of water... 2 stops, one very cheap rate...

HOW MUCH? you cry.... 50 fils (approx 15 cents) per journey... worth every cent dear chap!

How many modes of transport these days are worth every cent?

As an addendum:

The word - abracadabra

What we know for sure is that it was first recorded in a Latin medical poem, De medicina praecepta, by the Roman physician Quintus Serenus Sammonicus in the second century AD. It’s believed to have come into English via French and Latin from a Greek word abrasadabra (the change from s to c seems to have been through a confused transliteration of the Greek). Serenus Sammonicus said that to get well a sick person should wear an amulet around the neck, a piece of parchment inscribed with a triangular formula derived from the word, which acts like a funnel to drive the sickness out of the body:


However, it seems likely that abracadabra is older and that it derives from one of the Semitic languages, though nobody can say for sure, because there is no written record before Serenus Sammonicus. For what it’s worth, here are some theories:

It’s from the Aramaic phrase avra kehdabra, meaning “I will create as I speak”.
The source is three Hebrew words, ab (father), ben (son), and ruach acadosch (holy spirit).
It’s from the Chaldean abbada ke dabra, meaning “perish like the word”.
It originated with a Gnostic sect in Alexandria called the Basilidians and was probably based on Abrasax, the name of their supreme deity (Abraxas in Latin sources).

So now we know...

September 18, 2006

One of the most (in)famous UAE images.... #18

OK - This is of course a screen shot, not technically a photograph.

I wasn't sure about posting this, but I feel that I have to get this out of the way for 2 reasons...

The first reason is the fact, like the proverbial elephant in the corner, that can not and should not be ignored that people in the UAE can not access a free uncensored internet. The stated reason a website can be banned (which means being blocked by a proxy server) in the UAE is one that advocates "any criminal or unlawful topics/messages/ideas that contradict with the UAE social, cultural, political, economical, or religious values". Please note the scope of this statement.

Currently sites blocked include skype myspace youtube and for us photographers flickr. This means that all you guys that post on flickr - I can't see your images... The banned sites are pretty extensive...

This blog could get banned for commenting on this (though I doubt it) other blogs have been banned. I hope not as I love where I live and love showing images of the country I now call home to the world... It is OK to disagree sometimes...

The second reason to post this image is that for a lot of people in the UAE this image is so commonplace, yet for the international viewers this will be a brand new insight into Dubai and an image I wanted to show you.

Couple of links for your further reading:

Internet Censorship
Amnesty International / Irrepressible

Tomorrow the usual photo service will be as normal. Thanks to everyone who has visited, over 1,000 hits in 17 days...

P.S. Any UAE bloggers that wish to leave comments listing known banned sites, please do so (excluding the obvious p0rn sites please!)

September 17, 2006

Dunelight - #17

As it is Sunday which means it is the start of the working week here and the rest of the world is still chilling on their Sunday - I thought I'd post a simple picture of, in my humble opinion, simple peaceful natural beauty. (not the photo per se, that could be so much better especially with the purple artifact, but whatever I love the scene...)

There's no need to be all complicated now, is there?

Enjoy your time people, simple...

September 16, 2006

Something fishy is going on - #16

It's Saturday morning and I am just back from somewhere I should have visited a long time ago.

Dubai Fish Market in Deira. What an amazing place this is! It is a covered, but open air, market about the size of a football pitch I guess. One very large section is fish and the other is fruit and veg.

The fish are stunning - so fresh. Gills glistening and eyes clear. Lots of variety from the local Royal Hammour (like cod) to Red Snappers, Mackerel, Tuna, King Fish, shark, prawns, Omani lobsters, squid and so much more.

The stall holders are all characters too, be prepared to be cajoled and gently pressured to buy their catch at every turn.

The price is stunning as well. Huge 3 to 4KG fresh fish for about US$8.00 enough to feed 4 people. Take the fish to the huge back room where they descale and gut it or even fillet it for you.

Along with the great veg section this is fantastic Dubai Saturday morning.

Menu for tonight is oven roasted fish stuffed with corriander and chilli accompanied with fresh and crunchy bok choy in butter and soy sauce with quick fried julienned courgette...

September 15, 2006

Musandam Or Bust! Panorama Me Baby! - #15

I love trying new photo techniques and this is one of my favourite results.

This is 9 shots blended to form a panorama. There are panaorama "stitching" programs available or photoshop can be used just as well... I will admit some help was given to me on putting this together, however the shots are all mine of course.

This is where I cheat a little, this is about 3 hours from Dubai in an Omani enclave called Musandam. It is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. Rugged and wild, it has been called the Norway of Arabia as it has cliffs plunging straight into the see a la ffyords. We saw dolphins and sharks, swam with tropical fish and had an amazing time... more shots of this stunning place will appear...

This panorama is at the top of the scariest steepest single track road you can imagine! But worth it - what a view. This was taken on a rare cloudy rainy day and it adds to the drama I think.

September 14, 2006

They're Here... All Your Tubes Are Belong To Us. - #14

I happened to wander into a demolition site, somewhere I guess I shouldn't have been. Somewhere in DUbai that no longer exisits, it used to be a shopping Oasis...

I came across these three guys huddled together looking as if they were discussing world domination and were trying to work out where they had gone wrong...

This planet was too hot, not the plesant green and blue ball like the pictures they had seen.

Was invasion really the best plan anymore? They decided that invasion was best left to others...

September 13, 2006

Tea for three? - #13

What can be more simple and pleasurable in life than kicking back for a few minutes, having a cup of hot deep black joe or hot sweet tea, breaking bread and chewing the fat with your buddies.

It really doesn't matter where...

Anywhere, anytime.

September 12, 2006

One Hump Or Two, My Dear? - #12

Dubai? Desert? NATURE?? Nah...

Well, not quite true... there are so many indigenous and extrageneous critters here. Drift to the outskirts of the city and you will find some nomadic pachyderms for ones optical pleasure.

September 11, 2006

70 Degrees C Baby - #11

If you can't stand the heat... I have made reference several times to how hot Dubai can be.

This is a shot taken of my dashboard thermometer. This has not been altered or doctored in anyway at all. Of course this is not the ambient air temperature, but a surface temp in the car...

Really, truly, Dubai can feel very much like being in an oven. June through to mid Sept are extremely hot. 50 degress C has been recorded, even though it is not always reported in the press as at this temperature all workers must stop outdoor work by law. And of course that wouldn't be very good now, would it...

September 10, 2006

An Arabian Off Road Triptych Pt3 - #10

The long road home...

This shot is of the road just as you exit the off-road section of the round trip after Ray pools. The road is great, very long and undulating. It heads straight through the moonscape of the valley. It's similar to how I imagine some of the USA's valleys.

The short trip back to the metropolis of Dubai is underway and in one morning we feel as if we've been to the moon and back.

Even in the 45 degrees Dubai can be a lot of fun.

September 09, 2006

An Arabian Off Road Triptych Pt2 - #9

These boots were not made for paddling...

After an hour or so of off-road challenges we carry on to the final destination of the morning's trip - the desert oasis and pools at Ray / Shuwayhah near Hatta and the Omani border.

The pools are located in a beautiful palm tree lined, shingle bottomed wadi. The crystal clear cool water bubbles up through the pebbles and gather in cool and refreshing pools, right in the middle of a vast barren, sun parched plain. It really is quite magical to see this fresh water bubbling up into the 45 degree C heat...

Nothing else to do but to cool your appendages.. gone paddling in a real oasis.

A couple of other shots of the wadi just incase my shoes don't do it justice... a longer shot of the wadi and one of a group of Emirati lads having a laugh and some time off chilling out at the pools.

September 08, 2006

An Arabian Off Road Triptych Pt1 - #8

Part one of a triptych of off-road images from Dubai... taken this morning, Sept 8th 2006. Location near Madam / Hatta approx 1 hour from Dubai city.

On the way to Ray pools, near Hatta pools. Impromptu off-road excursion over shale, apparently volcanic rock, dry wadi areas, steep gullies and tough ascents.

3 cars. 1 hot sun.

September 07, 2006

Creek Bird and Dubai looking quite fine - #7

Dubai can be a really pleasant place during the cooler months, Oct through to April / May approx are great. The city has a large amount of lush green parks, public beaches and beach parks and just out side of the city there are beautiful beaches such as Jebel Ali.

This shot is taken at another really nice area of Dubai - The Creek - this is a sea inlet that runs through the centre of old town Dubai. The waterway is traditionally import and caries a lot of sea traffic in the form of dhows and local very cheap water taxis called abras.

This shot was taken from a nice waterfront restaurant called The Boardwalk just as the sun was setting on a Friday (Friday & Saturday are the weekend in Dubai not Sat / Sun).

Lastly - credit where it is due - this shot was actually taken by my good wife, however it is such a great shot I had to include it!

September 06, 2006

Get In The Back Of The Van! - #6

One of Dubai's finest boys in green. Very obliging policeman taken one sunny morning in Deira (Dubai Old Town... well I say old, nothing much is older than 30 - 40 years old here).

I am quite policeman-phobic at the best of times, doubly so in Dubai.

However this one was extremely nice...

September 05, 2006

We're On A Road To Nowhere - #5

This is a shot of Dubai's main thoroughfare - the Sheikh Zayed Road.

The SZR has been claimed to be the worlds most dangerous road (however in reality the most dangerous road appears to be in Bolivia) although the UAE has been officially named as having the world's third highest traffic fatality statistics, behind only Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Please excuse the dodgy photo composition and framing as this was taken this morning by myself as I was driving by myself on allegedly the worlds most dangerous road...

Having said that - it is usually a parking lot in rush hours so to be able drive at more than 20 km/h is a pleasure...!

September 04, 2006

The House Of Atreides - #4

Dubai has always been a trading town through the centuries. Nowadays the main trading commodities are the export of oil and the import of tourists and "affordable" labour...

In previous times the main trade was pearls, gold and spices.

This shot was taken at the "famous" Spice Souq in Deira. Deira is the oldest part of Dubai. A souq is basically a market. In Dubai there are various souqs including spice, gold and fabrics.

September 03, 2006

A Window To Another Place? - #3

While out for some errands today, I saw this... Dubai's largest (I believe) but certainly most prominent Mosque. I really is a beautiful building. Sandstone and marble in equal portions, dimensions and use. A stunning area. An educational building as the Sheikh Maktoum Center For Cultural Understanding. Daily Tours for non-Muslims. A cross cultural effort to be applauded.

A building with a pure meaning and purpose.

I have some more formal shots of the building that I will post in the future.

However in the spirit of Dubai I choose to present the above shot. A mosque reflected in a shop window.

September 02, 2006

A Poor Porta Portal - #2

I joined the daily photo a little late to participate in the Daily Photo world theme day for the 1st Of Sept - Doors. However as a late addition I'd like to make this contribution of a doorway.

This is an extremely old and sunbeaten portacabin in a disused area of Dubai, between Trade Center and Sheikh Maktoum's Palace. I loved the distressed look of the materials and the deep depths of the interior.

September 01, 2006

Desert Hunter - #1

Dubai Daily Photo is born...

A daily blog of photos taken in and around Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The photos that will be posted here will all be:

1) Taken by myself
2) Taken in Dubai or within a few hours drive from Dubai

The first shot here is one I wanted to start with in order to show a side of Dubai that not everyone thinks of when they consider Dubai. It is not all skyscrapers, glitz, dust, heat, etc... Dubai can be traditional, natural and beautiful, however you do have to make some effort to find it...

I hope to show as many sides of Dubai, its people, buildings, landscape, vistas and more as we go on from here.

Hope you like them and hope you keep coming back form more.

Thanks to Eric and all the daily photo people around the world for such a great project.