Sunday, November 29, 2009

A visit to Dubai

Burj Al-Arab at Night
Originally uploaded by Cajie.
I've been to Dubai on couple of occasions - but it was always for business purposes and I never really got a chance to see what Dubai has to offer in terms of photography.
This was my first visit with the family and the first thing I did at the airport was rent a car. Having our own car meant that we were free to visit whatever place we felt a fancy for. I also carried my Garmin GPS, which meant that we did not get lost while travelling.
Our trip was short. Just 4 days and 3 nights but we managed to visit quite a few of the Dubai attractions. The cool thing about Dubai is that it is a tourist friendly place - which means photography is considered normal - unlike Kuwait which has a very conservative approach to photography.
Some of the places we managed to visit are:
- The Dubai Mall (one of the largest in the world and home to one of the largest aquarium).
- The Musical water fountains at the Dubai Mall
- Wild Wadi (water theme park)
- Dhow Cruise dinner. A 2 hour trip in a boat with a buffet dinner. Highly recommended.
- Desert Safari. This is not for those who feel dizzy. The wild bumpy ride on the desert dunes made me sick. However, the dinner/entertainment at the end made it worthwhile.
- Zabeel Park. An enormous park for families to just chill out.

What we wanted to do, but missed due to limited time.
- Visit to Hatta mountains.
- The Atlantis (Dolphin bay, water theme park etc.)
- Dubai Marina
- A ride across the Dubai creek on traditional boats
- A ride on the metro.
- Mall of Emirates for skiing.

Which means, we need to visit there again. Here are some more pictures of Dubai.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Perfect Travel Lens.

Nikkor 18-200 VR
Originally uploaded by Cajie.
I purchased this lens few months back because I wanted something light while travelling.

I normally used to travel with the Nikkor 17-55 and the Nikkor 80-200. The problem with this setup is:
a) I lose the focal range from 55 to 80mm
b) The combined weight of both these pro-grade lenses is more than what I lift in the gym during my daily workout.

In this respect, the 18-200 is the perfect travel lens. You get all the range that you would need in a small and light package, and you don't have to worry about changing lenses. The VR (Vibration Reduction) technology works as expected allowing hand-held shots at low shutter speeds of upto 1/15th of a second (a bit lower if you use proper technique).

It has it's disadvantages obviously. It a pretty slow lens with max aperture ranging from f3.5 to f5.6. This means, that when the lens is extended to it's full 200mm, the max aperture is f5.6 which makes it difficult to focus - plus the fact that you need good lighting to get useful pictures.

But even with it's limitations, this is the lens I will be packing for all my future travels.

Until I upgrade to a FX format camera body.