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)
[beforeafter] HDR[/beforeafter]
About the Author

Elia Locardi is an internationally acclaimed professional travel photographer, videographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, writer, public speaker, and highly skilled educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world.


As featured by Professional Photographer MagazineCNet Australia,, Wacom USA, and Fstoppers, Elia has built an engaged social media following of nearly 3 million people across FacebookGoogle+TwitterInstagramYouTube, and Snapchat. Due to the years of dedication and genuine openness with his audience, he has become one of the most followed photographers in the world.


Location independent since March of 2012, he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle, perpetually traveling from country to country, continuously circling the globe. Since he began traveling full-time in 2009, he has visited more than 55 countries, flown over one million miles, and collaborated with major companies, brands, countries, and tourism agencies all over the world.


Using a combination of traditional in-camera techniques, targeted times of day, and advanced post-processing methods, Elia has developed a widely recognized and highly unique style of photography that has become well known around the world. With each photograph, his goal is to share his vision so others can see the world as he does, full of color, texture, beauty, depth and emotion. Many of his photos have been used in some of the most widely circulated publications in the world including National Geographic.


Throughout the journey, he shares the Art of Photography on many different websites including his popular blog, blamethemonkey.com, teaches post-processing workshops worldwide, speaks at major international photography conventions, and is proud to be one of the founders and leaders of Dream Photo Tours.

  • 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!

    • 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.

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  • 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.


    • 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. 😉

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