Photographing Ain Dubai, the world’s largest Ferris wheel
Dubai, the city that is always there when you need urban and architectural wonders. The tallest building in the world, artificial palm-shaped islands, a magnificent museum dedicated to the future. And now, the biggest ferry wheel in the world: Ain Dubai, which means Dubai Eye in Arabic.
In the last 9 months since the start of this year, I have photographed this stunning masterpiece at different exceptional times including fog, fireworks and even at moonset.
In this post, I’m going to share how I created this collection and what motivates me to create something different for this amazing photography of landmarks and cityscapes – my goal is to bring storytelling and fine art to it. . I aim to capture “art cityscape photography.” “
Located on a small man-made island in the sea, Ain Dubai’s location is one of the factors that amazes you besides its massive height (it stands at 250m / 820ft. The tallest building on the island is about 15 stories tall, which gives you an idea of the size of this thing.
The first photo in this collection was taken on New Years Eve. I knew there was a fireworks display on the beach next to the island. I took a high vantage point from the 90th floor (yes, 90!) Of one of the tallest residential towers in the world to capture the spectacle with Ain Dubai.
What surprised me was the firework shell coming from another location closer to me on the right side of the wheel. It was a very welcome surprise that added a completely different depth to the photo and framed the wheel between 2 groups of fireworks.
I think the lesson learned here is that with preparation luck can complement your photos and take them to another level. But remember, luck comes only to those who are prepared!
The next day there was the same fireworks display, so I decided to go to the roof of the Ceasers Palace hotel and capture the show so that I could cover it from both sides.
Another photo that took a bit of planning for me was the one at the setting of the moon. Last year I took a photo where the moonlight reflected off the sea, creating a dramatic shadow of the wheel. But at that time the cabins on the wheel were not yet installed.
After over a year, I decided to do the planning to capture it again. I have used the amazing PhotoPills app to find out when the moon will set near the island. He showed that on September 19 at around 4:00 a.m. he would settle in the perfect spot. It would also be an almost full moon, which means a strong source of light.
All that remained was to spend a sleepless night with the moon and Dubai Skyline (which is a treat!), And the result was mind-blowing!
The second part of this project was fog shots. It is a dream for almost every photographer in the world to capture the Dubai fog. For this particular project, I had the chance to capture the fog with Ain Dubai during surreal moments.
Read also: Photographer captures Dubai skyscrapers rising above the clouds
The first was during light fog, which is closer to very low scattered clouds, but during sunset, which is very rare for fog as it usually happens at sunrise. As the sun sets from the seaside, it gives a superb golden light for the fog!
For this image, I made several mixtures of images from the same day. The sunburn dates from the moment he moved closer to the wheel to create a more artistic scene. The other two photos were taken on a morning when the fog lasted about 8 hours! I was also lucky to have a photo where the wheel is covered in fog and you can see part of the sea where some boats started to move at the start of the day.
The second photo is more classic but very dreamy, with only half of the wheel rising above the fog, emphasizing the idea of its massive size!
I opted for a very basic and minimal editing here and wanted to hit high-key mode.
The last fog photo is absolutely one of my favorites, captured in the early morning before sunrise.
It’s a long exposure shot – the wheel was spinning as they did some pre-opening tests. This gave the cabins a ‘blurry’ effect and I decided to go for the monochrome look to make it even more abstract and simple. All the colors of the wheel have been unified with the fog stripe, which is illuminated by the lights from the street and the island building.
My goal has always been to integrate fine art and storytelling into cityscape photography. I don’t aspire to just capture a technically correct photo and stop there. I want the viewer to stop and interact with the photo like they do in a museum.
I specifically wanted in this project to tell the story of this project by creating images that leave people feeling happy, surprised and amazed. These are basically the emotions that a 250 meter high Ferris wheel in the middle of the sea will give you when you see it in real life, and as an artist my role is to turn those feelings into my images.
I emphasized how amazing this structure is and what it offers for its location in the sea, from the reflection of moonlight to boat rides during the fog, these points represent the importance of the location in such a way expressive and artistic. And the shots of fireworks, for example, represent the party and the joyous mode offered by the ferry wheel.
About the Author: Ahmad Alnaji is an urban art and architectural photographer based in Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone. You can find more of Alnaji’s works on his website and Instagram. This article was also published here.