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The big picture


Photo above: Jebel Hafeet, 1,249m above Al Ain
Camera model: Nikon D800
Aperture: f2.8
ISO: 320
Shutter speed: 15 seconds

Brian Ferry, from Pennsylvania in the United States, is passionate about photography. Here he shares his favourite pics of the capital he calls home

hey say a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you struggle to describe Abu Dhabi to visitors, then just show them these pages.

But a phone camera doesn’t do Abu Dhabi justice, so invest in a decent lens and get snapping.

Brian Ferry, a budding photographer from near Philadelphia, US, says, “If you want to improve, start by reading the manual that comes with your camera, then take lots of pictures – it’s the only way to learn. Gradually, you’ll find your own style. Don’t be afraid to ask other photographers questions, and learn to accept criticism.

“Photography is still an art, and while it has many technical aspects, it is still your interpretation of the world around you. This art is all about capturing light, so learn as much as you can about lighting. Composition – the arrangement of each part of the picture – is also important. No amount of gear or Photoshop skills can replace it.”

“Jebel Hafeet (first photo) is a favourite location of mine. I find it relaxing visiting on a clear night. It has beautiful scenery.”


Photo above: Saadiyat Island, under the E12 bridge facing Abu Dhabi
Camera model: Nikon D4s
Aperture: f16 ISO: 2000
Shutter speed: 8 seconds

“The symmetry and sharp contrast between the rocks and bridge drew me to this location, despite being attacked by swarms of mosquitos.”


Photo above: Sunset in Yas Marina, Yas Island
Camera model: Nikon D4s
Aperture: f22
ISO: 50
Shutter speed: 1/6 second

“This picture reminds me how lively Abu Dhabi can be. Beautiful boats, good restaurants and a Formula 1 track make for great sunset pictures.”

Brian’s top tips 

Composition tip: 

A good place to start is mastering the rule of thirds – so you have equal parts of sky, sea and sand for example – and leading lines, which are elements of a picture that guide the eye upwards or inwards. It’s also helpful to know your equipment well enough to visualise how the scene will look before you take a picture.

ISO tip: 

ISO determines your camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO number (around 100, say), the less sensitive your camera is to light, while a higher ISO number (over 1600 for example) increases its sensitivity which means you have the potential to shoot in low light without using a flash. But this also adds digital noise or ‘grain’ to the pictures, softening crisp edges. It’s best to use a longer shutter speed and tripod when available.

Aperture tip: 

Aperture is the amount of light that passes through a lens onto the film, and it’s one of the determining factors for depth of field, so get to know it well. Higher aperture numbers – f16 for example – equal more depth of field, but also allow less light in, so watch your exposures. This means increasing your ISO and decreasing your shutter speed. A good rule of thumb is ‘sunny 16’ – so f16 is fine for a landscape on a sunny day.

Shutter speed tip: 

Shutter speed measures the time the shutter is open, in seconds or fractions of a second (one second, 1/2s or 1/500s for example). This effects how long the sensor is exposed to light. The speed depends on the image. Faster shutter speeds (above 1/500s) will appear to freeze the image – ideal for a running footballer for example – while slower speeds (10 to 30s, say) will help show action and movement – ideal for the stars. Beware of taking handheld shots with slow shutter speeds, as this will cause motion blur.

A Nikon D4s, D800 or D810 costs from AED 11,999 at Sharaf DG.
Various locations including Mushrif Mall, Al Mushrif. Contact: 800 344 357 www.sharafdg.com 



Photo above: From a rooftop of an unfinished high-rise along the Corniche
Camera model: Nikon D800
Aperture: f6.3
ISO: 1000
Shutter speed: 1 second

“My friends and I were caught by security trying to access the rooftop of a building under construction and escorted to the site supervisor. But once we explained we wanted to take photos they took us to the roof anyway.”

Sarah Riches

Think your photos are better? If you want to show them off email [email protected] with the subject ‘photography page’

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