Dubai New Year’s Eve 2008

For last New Year’s festivities we had made a brilliant plan : photograph the fireworks above Burj Al Arab (what else could one do on such an evening? hmm…). Direct consequences : 1) since in U.A.E. there is a zero tolerance policy towards drink and driving, no alcoholic drinks could be had before the photography stint (i.e. up to midnight) what made for quite a boring dinner. 2) We had to leave for the photography location quite early to make sure we actually would reach the place in time for the fireworks (Dubai is quite famous for its jams during New Year evenings, several friends reported seeing previous firework displays from the cosiness of their cars). So off we went at 10:30pm. Location was reached 11:15pm, so far so good… (we did some driving around to find a good photography spot, but since i didn’t know the magnitude of the fireworks (on the internet the fireworks were marketed as the biggest in the world) i preferred to stay some distance away and try to include the Burj Al Arab together with a local mosque). 11:45pm – i positioned myself on top of our 4×4, and started preparing the Fotoman 617 : Load film, compose, level the camera with the bubble levels, calculate exposure at f16 (i decided not to go for higher apertures since i wanted to limit exposure times –  i otherwise would risk that some firework explosions would start overlapping) resulting in an exposure time of about 30 sec, focus (easy = hyperfocal distance), cock shutter, … and wait. 12:01am Happy new year! no time for kisses, since there it started – a magnificent display of colorfull fireworks. Sadly about 10 minutes later (and only 8 exposures further) it was all over. Pheww… i thought i had some nice pictures (did i? due to the quite unstable rooftop of the car i had to keep extremely still to avoid camera movement during the long exposures (i was literally holding my breath during the exposure) and due to the mosque dimming its lights halfway through the session i had to adjust my exposure to the dreaded longer exposure times to try to keep some detail in the mosque – so the results were not sure, but this is what i like about large format photography) – finally able to relax we took our time wrapping up – bad decision… we ended up in one of the worst traffic jams of Dubai’s history and we took about 3.5 hrs. (!!) to reach back home (only about 20km from our photography location) to the first glass of champagne of the new year. Oh well. I suppose one has to suffer for his art…
Results of the session can be seen below – extreme sharpness of the slides (can really not be appreciated from this low-res internet display) is still blowing me away. 

Picture Data : Both pictures Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, Fuji Provia 100, f16 @ 30 sec, tripod, no filters.
May i as well use this occasion to wish all readers a new year filled with happiness, good health and of course magnificent photographs.