I’ve seen a lot of incredible photography in the luminosity masking group on Facebook, but there has been one photographer in particular recently who stops me dead in my tracks nearly every time he posts a new image: Karim El-Deghedy from Egypt living in Dubai. He has a keen eye for compositions and light, and a retouching style that bring out the drama and color in a scene. I felt compelled to share his work, and so I recently reached out to interview him on his inspiration, post-processing and more. Please see below for the full interview, and be sure to follow him on 500px to see more of his stunning UAE cityscapes.
[All images in this post are copyrighted by Karim El-Deghedy, and have been used here with his permission.]
How did you get started with photography? Are you full time now?
I was in a business trip to France, Nice in particular, with some friends. They were shooting some photos of a mountain using their DSLR(s) and I was using my mobile phone camera. I showed them my photos and they liked my shots. Then they advised me to buy a DSLR. And that was the beginning. I am not a full time photographer, I shoot only in my spare time.
I’ve always been blown away by the low clouds that make Dubai occasionally look like a floating city. What’s your favourite subject in the UAE?
My favourite subject in UAE is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Cityscape in general. UAE has very rich cityscape and architecture which helped me to live its atmosphere and easily find my inspiration.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everything around me. If you really look at things there is so much out there that will inspire you. Regarding scouting locations, I always like to explore new locations. Sometimes I use Google maps looking for new places, more often I get into my car, go for a drive and get lost or just take a wrong turn on purpose. I usually end up finding something interesting.
If you photograph anyone or anywhere, what would be your dream photo shoot?
Very difficult, I would love to visit Iceland, I have always been fascinated by the amazing landscape there.
Who are your favorite photographers these days?
My favorite photographers are Elia Locardi, Tim Wallace and Mike Kelly. What I like about Elia is his passion for traveling and exploration. Tim Wallace and Mike Kelly, I like their amazing use of light.
If you could spend a day shooting with any photographer, who would you pick?
I would like to go with Elia Locardi and explore new photo locations together.
There seems to be a lot of incredible work coming out of Dubai from a number of photographers, it’s certainly an amazing location, but it seems like there’s more to it. What drives the photography community there?
UAE in general adopts photographers, they provide a very encouraging environment for us. Aside from that, there are several organisations that organise workshops conducted by the best photographers around the globe. On the other hand, we have several communities on the social media where we use to organize regular photo walks.
What’s your favourite piece of camera gear?
Nikkor 16-35mm F/4. It has a fast focus and it is very sharp.
Would you mind sharing a little bit about your post-processing philosophy and technique?
I pay attention to details and I am always seeking perfection. I always try to get the image as perfect as possible in camera then I do post-processing if required. I generally use luminosity masks to create precise selection over areas that require certain adjustments. Lumenzia helps me create those precise selections in no time. I also try not to overdo things as I strongly believe that less is more.
Any other advice for people looking to get into cityscape photography?
There is nothing–at all-wrong with looking at great photography to get creative inspiration. Spend the time thinking and thinking of what type of photo you want to create and how you can do it. Then, get to work. For cityscape photography my advice is to shoot in aperture priority mode and bracket exposures to overcome scenes of strong contrast. Also getting early at photo location is a key.
Thank you Karim for taking the time to share your thoughts and your art!