A very few times a year, the city of Dubai experiences dramatic fog at sunrise. It transforms the already dramatic city into a wonderland straight out of science fiction as the skyscrapers appear to float in the sky
When you're in a plane, it can be magical to see a faux landscape of white rolling clouds stretching out below, as far as you can see.Looking down on the clouds from a building is a completely different experience. It feels very alien—wrong almost. I was lucky enough to have that experience on my recent trip to Dubai. To be completely accurate, it was fog rather than cloud I saw from one of the city's impressive super high-rise buildings, but it nevertheless felt like being in a sky realm.
I was very fortunate. The conditions for a blanket of fog to form in Dubai only occur about 10 days in a year, mostly during the winter.
At first, I thought I'd be able to photograph the fog from my hotel room window. Unfortunately, because of the regular dust storms in Dubai, my hotel window was covered in a fine film of sand. Fine for enjoying the view in general. Less so for photography. I'd have to venture out. Such an inconvenience.
My hotel didn't have an observation deck and it took me a while to find an alternative building with a public observation area: another hotel. They said I could go up, but as I wasn't a guest I'd have to pay €50. I figured it would be worth the money. As it happened, fortune smiled on me again. In the hotel lobby, I bumped into some people I'd met on the workshop I had been attending and they arranged for me to go up to the observation deck for free.
The experience of watching the sun seemingly rise out of the mist was incredible. I felt like I was part of a science-fiction film. At moments like that, it can be hard to keep your mind on the photography, instead of drinking in the vista. It's easy to become awestruck by the magnificence in front of you. The view didn't last long, though, so I needed to keep my wits about me and work fast.
The resulting image is something very different for me. Buildings rarely appear in my work. The occasional lighthouse perhaps. And never as a cluster. This photograph is part architecture, part nature. The buildings look as if they are saluting the rising sun. No matter how tall we build our skyscrapers, the sun will always rise above them. As a landscape photographer, I find that comforting.