Coffee doesn't ask silly questions. Coffee understands.
Where Am I? Hiroshima, Japan
11 February, 2011

Sunset Over The Burj Al Arab

Jedi mind tricks

If you google Dubai, pictures of The Burj Al Arab pop up first and It’s no wonder why. Look at that thing! It’s shaped like a freakin sailboat! — And did I forget to mention that it’s a 7 star hotel? And why is that fact pertinent to this picture?

Well, since 7 star hotels are a wee bit out of my budget, this is about as close as I could get to it… ;) Seriously, I tried to get into the (much closer & adjacent) Jumeirah Beach Hotel but they wouldn’t let me stalk around with my camera. Awe shucks guys… Really?

Anyway, it’s important to note at this point that I did NOT use the words, “Awe shucks.” Instead, like I usually do, I tried to charm (lie) my way in. When that didn’t work, I of course thanked the security guard, said goodbye, disappeared around the nearest corner, and tried to sneak in another way. After some (self proclaimed) secret ninja stealth recon work, and after trying Jedi mind tricks on the 5th security guard (who was immune for some reason), I decided to walk over to the public beach instead.

I stayed on the beach for sunset, getting some pretty cool shots as the sun tucked behind the clouds. I sort of toyed with the idea of getting a reflection shot within the surf but I didn’t want to chance my gear.

After the sun went down, I quickly recognized the potential and decided to man up. I took off my shoes, rolled up my pant legs, and setup my tripod in the surf. I used a high f-stop (f/11) to increase the exposure times and soften the water and waves. When I reviewed the exposure brackets, I was immediately thankful that my Jedi powers had failed. If they would have worked on the security guard, I wouldn’t have found this beautiful spot.

Sometimes one door must close for another to open. ;)

Technical Mumbo Jumbo:

- Nikon D700 – Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 @ 24mm f/11 Iso: 100 / 5 Exposure Brackets (-2,-1,0,1,2).
- HDR Photography Processing & Tone Mapping using Photomatix Pro
- Post Processing & Color Correction using Photoshop
- Enhanced detail with Nik Software Sharpener Pro
- A double espresso was also involved

Daily Banana – Sunset Over The Burj Al Arab

(move the slider to compare before and after)


About the Author

Armed with his camera, tripod, and no doubt a giant cup of coffee, photographer and writer, Elia Locardi traverses the globe full-time looking for interesting photographic opportunities and the stories that go along with capturing them. With each photograph, his goal is to share his vision with others so they can experience these places the way he does, full of color and emotion, depth and texture. He hopes to inspire people to travel for themselves, visit these beautiful locations, and to fall in love with the beauty of the world.
Visit Elia Locardi on Google+ to learn more.

  • Zakk Forchilli

    Hey man. I love your blog. It’s everything I’ve been looking for.
    This photo blows my mind. Most HDR’s I’ve seen before and after don’t compare.
    This is truly majestic and i love your work.

    Now quickly, how did you manage to create that slider to view before / after?
    Email me if you could.. Thanks!

    • blamethemonkey

      Hey Zakk,

      Thanks for taking the time to check out the site! The compliments are much appreciated.

      As for the before and after, I’m lucky enough to have a web goddess in the family. This is good because my web skills are remedial at best. So, as far as I know, there are a bunch of trained chimps inside my computer making all the technical mumbo jumbo work. ;) — It’s a heck of a deal for me since all I have to pay them with are bananas.

  • Pingback: Best HDR Before and After

  • Jim Cutler

    Elia, you are so very good. I’ve learned from your work, how good HDR can look when you don’t overdo it. I think that’s what makes your work even stronger. I know you put a lot of hours into processing but it doesn’t look overdone. Really superb every day. (Composition is superb too but I want to make a point about the sweat not showing!) Thanks.


    • Elia Locardi

      Jim, thanks for the compliment! I’m glad to hear you find my processing style appealing. As I like to say, it’s all a work in progress. ;)