Getting into trouble with security guards is almost second nature to me. Whether it was being reprimanded during my awkward teenage years for getting into fights at the mall or being thrown out of hotels during my early years at work for trying to enter with greasy overalls, there was always a security guard present to make things difficult. No matter what I did or how carefully I did it, they were on me like flies on shit! So it wasn’t really much of a surprise when I had yet another run in with a security guard while trying to take a quick picture at a deserted beach on Palm Island a few weeks ago.
There I was minding my own business while trying to get a decent picture of the sunset when, out of nowhere, a security guard approached and proceeded to yell at me for having trespassed onto a private beach. I turned around to see a six foot tall hulk of a man, frothing at the mouth with rage, demanding that I remove my camera equipment and leave immediately. Remembering that I was about as charming as an acne ridden teenager with a lisp, I knew that sweet talking my way out of this situation was not the best idea. Lying seemed to be a much better option! Now it is common knowledge that in every Dubai based organization, there is atleast one high ranking official that is Emirati. So I decided to take my best shot and tell him that I had received prior approval from a ‘Mr. Mohammed’. I missed. As luck would have it, I had decided to choose the one organization in the whole of Dubai that did not employ a Mohammed.
As I packed up my gear that day, staring futilely at the setting sun, I should have been pissed off but instead I walked away with a grin on my face for having felt what it was like to be a kid again.
David Nightingale, a world renowned photographer and one of my favourites, has this innate ability to make even the most mundane objects look dramatic. One of the galleries on his website is dedicated to photographs of random things that he finds washed up on the beach which range from shopping carts to discarded televisions. This inspired me to give it a go myself so I sped off to the beach one fine evening after work hoping to find something interesting. However, after scouring the beach for what seemed like an eternity, I came to the conclusion that the beaches of Dubai had nothing more exciting than a few ring pulls and a few dozen cigarette butts ( most of them probably my own ).
Then, just as I was about to lose all hope, the sunlight broke through the clouds and illuminated this old washed up plastic bucket that had missed my gaze, immediately transforming it into something truly magical. Ok, I might have exaggerated a little. The truth is, IT WASN’T EVEN A REMOTELY MAGICAL EXPERIENCE! It is absolutely depressing to waste forty five minutes of your life searching for trash on the beach to photograph especially when all you can come back home with is one crappy shot of a plastic bucket that was so boring, someone flung it into the sea to be rid of it. Kudos to David Nightingale though. I guess patience is what sets the pros apart from the rest.
While out on my balcony having a smoke, this striking mansion caught my eye from across the lake. Figuring that this was as good a time as any to see what my 70-200mm lens was capable of, I set up my tripod for the shot keeping my cigarette hidden away behind my back so that the smoke would not get in the way of my long exposure. Never once did I stop to ponder what the passing joggers would think when they looked up to see a creepy guy standing on his balcony, peeping through a zoom lens, wearing nothing but his boxers with smoke blowing out from behind his ass!! Miraculously, no one reported me to the authorities and in the end I came away with a fairly decent shot. Hurrah!!