Traveling to Dubai, what do I need to know?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by pasisti, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. pasisti

    pasisti Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 16, 2013
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hi all

    I'm going to spend my winter holidays in Dubai, mostly working but I have a couple of days off and also during daytime I should be mostly free. Guess what I'm planning to do with that free-time? That's right! Go nuts with my camera :)

    I have a couple of questions related to my gear but also to the locale and the customs. Any help is appreciated!

    1) I don't have any weather-sealed equipment. Will the sand be a problem? I'm planning to take a tour to the deserts so this has me a little worried. Let's take the assumption that it's not going to rain.

    2) Should I bring a back-up body? Thinking about the question number one..

    3) What can / should I take photographs of in the streets? How are the laws on public photography and how would people react to someone taking their picture?

    4) Any suggestions for locales? I would love to get some cityscape photos (it's Dubai after all) but more than that I'm looking forward to taking a tour to the desert! The perfect scenario would be two trips, one early in the morning so that I could see the sun rise and other in the evening so I could see the sun set. But where should I go? I'm a student so money is pretty limited but somewhere between 50 and 80 euros for a trip is manageable if it gives me (at least the possibility to take) truly awesome photos :) I have googled a little, but if some-one has first-hand knowledge of good and mediocre tours it would be of great help! I will be free in the evenings only on 1.1.-3.1.

    5) I don't have the EVF, but I'm pondering its purchase. Would it give me advantages on this trip?

    6) Any other suggestions that come to mind?

    My gear for the trip:
    - Olympus E-P5
    - P 14/2.5
    - O 25/1.8
    - O 45/1.8
    - O 40-150/4-5.6
    - Flash and other accessories

    The back-up body would be Olympus E-PL3. Should I take my stand also? It's pretty slim and light so it shouldn't be a problem to carry around, I'm just wondering whether I will need it at all. Maybe if I'm at the desert after sunset?
  2. 少林chris

    少林chris Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2013
    Los Angeles / Copenhagen
    Real Name:
    Just in case your into street shooting, remember you are not allowed to photograph females.
    Also worry less about gear - photograph more. Have fun!
  3. SeanKelleher

    SeanKelleher Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 24, 2014
    Real Name:
    Sean Kelleher
    From memory, much of Dubai is not exactly pedestrian friendly.

    Mind you, got a lift from a random hotel bus because the (Pakistani) driver wanted to know what a European was doing walking around Dubai dressed like someone from his village in Pakistan.
  4. pasisti

    pasisti Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 16, 2013
    Helsinki, Finland
    Good point about street photography! Is it at all possible, then?

    My worries about the gear are more towards the "will the occasional flying sand ruin my camera?" :) Here in Finland we don't really have any of that so I haven't experienced it before. Should I "use protection" in the desert? Like a plastic bag?
  5. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Real Name:
    Avoid alcoholic beverages?
  6. biza48

    biza48 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 31, 2014
    I have visited Dubai many times, if you take normal care and normal politeness you should be fine. Photographing in the street is no problema, it depnds more on your attitude than on anybody else's... if you look like a furtive paparazzi, then you will be noted, so just look and act normal. What has worked for me was pointing the camera where I wanted apicture to be made, then if a men or woman says no, you don't take the picture and move on. What works great is finding na interesting background, and waiting for people to cross the scene and turning it more interesting. You need to invest some time in this, so that after staying in a place say for 1 hour, studying it, you will be less noticed.

    Sand can, and does, get everywhere. I have shot in the Empty Quarter for a few times. Shoot at dawn or atsunset, the winds will have died down a bit. Avoid changing lenses.
  7. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    From the UK Foreign Office site (