Back To Bastakia

This is one of my favourite places in Dubai if not the planet. And when ever I am in Dubai I always find myself drawn to Bastakia, where I can lose myself for hours in the alleys and architecture of a Dubai gone by..

Bastakia (0r Bastakiya if you prefer the local spelling) is a hidden corner of Dubai and pretty much the only part of the city that harks back to a heritage that sadly has all but disappeared in terms of the rest of the urban fabric of the city. Once slated for demolition also, thankfully somebody in the government planning department  had the good sense to place a heritage order on them, and preserve at least a little history in a city that is all to keen to build ever tackier and taller shiny metal and glass towers which really have little place in a desert climate.

The Bastakia courtyard houses are the true vernacular for this part of the world. They are solid and substantial, and at the same time cool in a very literal sense. The thick walls are actually a unique form of concrete built from crushed corals, mixed with sand and stone. Finished with a sand render they provide the the perfect heat sink to Dubai’s intense sun.

The design of the houses follow a traditional plan based around a central courtyard. The wind towers are on the corner (s) of the building and are designed to pull the rising warm upwards and conversely send cooler air downward whereby it can circulate through the interiors keeping the climate within relatively cool. Its a clever yet low-tech and low energy solution to building climate control. Best of all it creates a beautiful and humanistic housing design, with an engaging and highly visual aesthetic, which for the architectural photographer amongst us is a delight.

I’ve spent many a happy hour wondering round the (increasingly) trendy Bastakia heritage houses. Many of which have now been turned into art galleries, cafes, and even a hotel.

So the next time your in Dubai, do yourself a favour, and see if you cant persuade the wife or better half to leave the Mall for a few hours, and wonder over to Bastakia for an authentic time travel experience which will reconnect you with Dubai gone by.


Rhapsody in Blue

Girls reading in Blue light under Garhoud Bridge


As my mum would say; Are you sure you can read OK in that light? 🙂

I did a night shoot recently in and around (and mainly under) the Business Bay Crossing Bridge. This a pretty cool piece of civil engineering which crosses the Dubai Creek just south west of Festival City. It definitely looks its best at night bathed in a strip of beautiful electric blue luminescence.

I was anticipating  shooting the architecture/structure of the bridge rather than people, and indeed I did plenty of that, but I think my favourite shot from the evening turned out to be this pair of very chilled ladies who were hanging out and reading waiting for their boyfriends (who were fishing just out of shot.)

Excuse the pun but I think it shows another side to life in Dubai that paints it in a rather different light.

See more here.






Cool exhibition of Furniture design at the Pavillion Downtown Dubai..

This shot I thought came out well- kind of like a book cover.

See some more here ;-



Al Ain

I took a trip to Al Ain last weekend with a few fellow photographers. Its an old city in the middle of the UAE about an hour and half drive from Dubai.

We managed to visit a few of the popular tourist sites including the fort and the museum. Here’s a few my favourite images from the shoot. You can few my entire shoot here:

Mall Fever

Been experimenting with a really cool App I downloaded over the summer.

Its called I-motion HD and it makes its very simple to do timelapse photography on ones iPhone. (yes I know this blog is turning into a bit of a iPhone advertisement but what can you do..

Heres the link for one I titled  ‘Mall Fever’ which I stuck some music too on Youtube.

Mall Fever

Anyhow as I say these little timelapse films are just really of easy and fun to do now.

Back in the day, I used to this sort of thing on my super 8 film camera. It had no auto -interval delay trigger on the shuttter realease so everything had to be done manually eg, by pressing the trigger every few seconds.  After a while I began to suffer a sort of RSI (repetetive strain injury) on my right index finger. Each film cartridge allowed a max of around 3 mins footage duration, and had to be sent off to Kodak for processing and wait a week or so.

That said there was something to be said for the excitement of the processsed film dropping through the letterbox, opening the envelope, threading the spool onto the projector, closing the curtains and firing it up to see the results for the 1st time.

If they were any good I’d splice a few spools together and maybe show them to a few friends.

Now I can do the same process, but review the results instantly, and share them with a potential audience of millions instantly! (that said at the time of writing I think Ive had about 7 hits on these clips 🙂 Lets see if this post can push that into double figures!