Timelapse & Wingsuit Aerial Photography in Dubai: Behind the Scenes

After seeing such spectacular and unusual photography coming out of Dubai, I set it as a high priority of places I wanted to visit someday. I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to go there, but eventually I saved enough for a plane ticket and the rest of the plan started falling together. I knew I wanted to do timelapse photography over there, so I started practicing at home many months before hand. This is my first attempt at making a behind-the-scenes video, so please forgive my hand-held iPhone progress updates:

I’ve been doing more photography around LA and New York recently, trying to improve my cityscapes. I will be discussing more of my humble photography efforts along with camera settings, etc. here if you would like to subscribe to my postings:

I think Dubai is the closest anyone can get to visiting another planet these days, which makes for spectacular photography opportunities. There is so much strange architecture everywhere and colliding cultures to go along with it. On entry into the country I was warned repeatedly to not photograph any of the locals; as you can see there are no street portraits in this collection. As a stranger halfway around the world from home, I tried to be cautious and keep a low profile with my camera. Here are some of the best from the trip:

burj khalifa, dubai

1 second exposure, f/7.1, ISO 400, 5D Mark II. Looking up the Burj Khalifa, it is massive. Used photo filter adjustment layer in Photoshop to adjust color tones.

wingsuit dubai

Chasing fellow wingsuit friend Oscar Lozada over the Dubai coastline. One of my favorite images I have ever captured. I had a Contour+ action camera set to automatically take photos from my helmet every second, essentially just tried to fly to good positions relative to Oscar and hope for the best. Clouds like this are rare in Dubai and Oscar had to leave after this flight so I this was the best chance for a great photo. When I downloaded them from the camera after the flight, most were blurry or disappointing but this one somehow came out perfect! Used Topaz Adjust to improve colors & saturation.

marina dubai

Metered 3 shot HDR. Around 20 second exposures, F/14, ISO 250, 5D Mark II. Long exposure from a bridge in Dubai Marina. Compiled in Photomatix and retouched in Photoshop.

traffic in dubai

Captured on an iPhone 4S during a taxi ride heading south from the airport. Post-processing done in the Camera+ app. Applied clarity filter and color tones.

burj khalifa fountains

1 second exposure, f/7.1, ISO 500, 5D Mark II. Attached the 5D to a tripod, focused, set the self-timer to 10 seconds and set the tripod up above me on a pillar while carefully holding the base of the tripod. After a couple tries was able to get this one.

istanbul turkey

iPhone 4S with Camera+ app. Captured in Istanbul, Turkey while waiting for a connecting flight to Dubai. I encourage you to avoid Turkish Airlines, they lost one of my bags on the return flight containing critical equipment. Took weeks to recover with almost no communication or updates from the company.

south dubai

1/80 second exposure, f/1.2, ISO 640, 5D Mark II. Wandered into a construction early one morning to attempt a timelapse hoping to capture the sunrise. The fog never cleared so the timelapse was disappointing. But a couple photos turned out good.

film crew in dubai

iPhone 4S with Camera+ app. Happened upon the production of Flo Rida’s latest music video, you can see it here on Youtube: Wild Ones

plane over dubai

Captured via wingsuit and Contour+ action camera mounted on my helmet. Levels adjusted and photo filter adjustment layer applied in photoshop. Chasing the pilot back to the airport in front of the sunset and Burj Jebel Ali, a spectacular view I will never forget.

I also made a video that basically just summarizes the key footage of the trip which is less “behind the scenes” oriented but includes a lot of the same footage:

Thanks again for reading and stay tuned!

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3 Comments

  1. BG says:

    Awesome stuff!

  2. sohail says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Outstanding.

  3. Alex says:

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful pics. Good Work!!

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