Abu Dhabi Takes Flight

I usually have some vision of an image I want to make when I head to a new place, but I always try to keep an open mind.  Some of my favorite images come from simply interpreting my surroundings.  I caught an early morning taxi to shoot the Abu Dhabi skyline and warm, orange glow of sunrise reflected in the Persian Gulf.  But when I arrived, I found myself surrounded by meowing kittens and soaring birds, and a bit too much wind for smooth water.  I knew the birds would be perfect for this image, and I could create a reflection in Photoshop.  So I captured the skyline with a single frame, and then boosted my ISO and shutter speed to capture several images of the birds to composite into the final image.  I love how it all came together.  I arrived with an idea of shooting an ultra-modern city skyline, and left with an image that captures a bit of the city’s link with the natural world.  It feels much more true to the moment than a cold urban scene.  But still, no cats.

Post processing:

  • Dodging and burning with Lumenzia to give depth to the buildings
  • Local contrast enhancement with Lumenzia to bring out more detail in the buildings
  • Cloning to remove some construction cranes
  • Replace existing water reflection with one which is much more clear


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