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Abu Dhabi : Embracing The Elements

A collection of BENO SARADZIC's best recent Abu Dhabi pictures exhibited in March and April 2016 at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi.


This is another photograph I'm very proud of. It was captured from the construction site of the tallest skyscraper in Abu Dhabi during the foggy sunrise which enveloped most of the city, except for the row of skyscrapers along the Shaikh Khalifa road. The morning sunrise hit the fog and the buildings at just the right. . . Show More >

A collection of BENO SARADZIC's best recent Abu Dhabi pictures exhibited in March and April 2016 at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi.


This is another photograph I'm very proud of. It was captured from the construction site of the tallest skyscraper in Abu Dhabi during the foggy sunrise which enveloped most of the city, except for the row of skyscrapers along the Shaikh Khalifa road. The morning sunrise hit the fog and the buildings at just the right angle, turning this amazing vantage point into a spectacular image

'ABU DHABI SYMPHONY', taken in Rub Al Khali, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Abu Dhabi Symphony, by Beno Saradzic

Rub' al Khali or Empty Quarter is one of the largest sand deserts in the world. It stretches across Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and the UAE. But these are just words and they perhaps don't mean a lot. You can't possibly imagine the immense vastness, the suffocating solitude, the dead silence and the otherworldliness of this place unless you visit it.


In 2015, I started experimenting with a new type of imaging technique which I named 'Time Dilation'. Basically, it's a process in which multiple exposures of the same scene are captured over the course of the day and well into the night. Entire photography process may take anywhere between 3 to 8 hours at any given location. I capture the highlights of the day, both natural and artificial light. Images are then imported into a digital image editing system in which individual exposures are merged into a new image which seems to exist at various times of the days, albeit without any obvious transition points. It's a seamless fusion of time which utilizes the power of digital photography to its maximum potential.

'DEEP BLUE', nearby Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi, 2013

This is a shot one could only capture from a helicopter. I was flying towards Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi to shoot the container yard. It was a particularly beautiful, breezy winter morning. As I was getting close to the port, the wind became quite strong and the sea was getting choppy and foamy. Visibility was outstanding and the water looked like a dream. It reminded me of a slab of Azurite mineral. Anyone who's ever visited or lived in Abu Dhabi knows how amazing its waters are. I was about 400 meters above the sea level when I noticed a large flock of migratory birds, perhaps Socotra Cormorants, right below me. It was a majestic sight I just had to capture.

'ABU DHABI VERTIGO', Hamdan and Khalifa streets, Abu Dhabi, 2012

Featured in this photograph is a vertical perspective of Abu Dhabi's busiest commercial area around Hamdan and Khalifa streets. I was harnessed to the side of a helicopter which was hovering at a sharp 45 degree angle, allowing me to avoid the aircraft's landing gear and to get unobstructed, vertical vantage points of the cityscape below me. It was both a scary and thrilling experience. This photograph remains one of my personal favorites.

'YAS ISLAND FISHERMEN', Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi, 2011

I was testing an extremely powerful zoom lens and so to learn its capabilities, I needed an interesting, distant scene to shoot. From the rooftop of a residential building at Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi, I spotted two men in the distance, casting their fishing rods into the sea from the breakwater. It was late in the afternoon and the sun had turned the waters into molten gold. Although the fishermen were easily 2 kilometers away from me, I snapped a few shots and ended up with this lovely capture.

'DESERT OUTPOST', Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, 2015

Desert Outpost, by Beno SaradzicThis image is inspired by a fictional world depicted in the Star Wars movies. In fact, I took this photograph just a few kilometers away from the filming location of the latest Star Wars film in Abu Dhabi's Empty Quarter. It's one of my preferred spots for landscape photography and it's easy to see why.

'ABU DHABI SKYLINE', Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, 2015.

Abu Dhabi Skyline, by Beno Saradzic Abu Dhabi's skyline is among the most impressive ones in the world. For a cityscape photographer, The Capital's skyscrapers along the Corniche Road are an ever-giving source of creative inspiration. In this particular capture, I applied my own digital manipulation technique that I call 'Time Dilation'. This effect is achieved by combining multiple photographic exposures, captured at various times of the day and night. Individual images are then blended and 'stitched' together with a manual digital processing technique into a unique image that possesses a vastly broader dynamic range and intense visual appeal. My so called 'Time-Dilation' process manipulates the barrier of time and dimension with a surprising effect on the viewer.

'AT THE EDGE OF THE ABYSS', Abu Dhabi, 2013

This image was captured from the roof of Abu Dhabi's tallest skyscraper. I stood on the sloppy glass roof on the 98th floor. It was scary to say the least. When I took this shot in 2013, the tower was undergoing the last phase of its construction. I was the first and last photographer ever to be allowed to stand at this point. I did not anticipate the fog to happen on this morning and it transformed an already amazing vantage point into a spectacular, surreal visual. It's one of my favorite photos captured during the past 2 years

'MANGROVES OF DELMA ISLAND', Delma Island, Abu Dhabi, 2016

Delma Island in Abu Dhabi's Western Region is a jewel of the Gulf, where time seems to run at a slower pace than elsewhere. This island, born from the bowels of the Earth as a result of volcanic activity, is the most unique among the UAE's islands due to its diverse landscape and pristine beaches that beg for escape and exploration. Mangroves are the lungs of the seas and the vital shelter for the numerous species of the coastal delicate ecosystem. I was truly delighted to go around this island with my camera and shoot beautiful spots like this one.

'DOWNTOWN ABU DHABI', downtown Abu Dhabi, 2012

One of the most difficult and rewarding aspects of aerial photography, captured from a moving aircraft, is finding a compelling subject. This is particularly challenging because of the dynamic nature of this type of photography in which the scenery is constantly changing, shifting, appearing and disappearing. In this capture, my eye was drawn to the diversity of the color patterns, the textures, the high-density of mostly similar looking buildings in a very tight, grid-like urban space. My aim was to capture just an isolated area of Abu Dhabi's busy downtown district; no more, no less. I carefully selected the right focal length on my zoom lens and framed a picture that I feel communicates the complexity of the subject

'DNA', Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi, 2013

I wasn't really sure how I'd capture this location when I boarded the helicopter on route to the state-of-the-art container terminal at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port. It didn't take me long to figure it out though. As I normally do, I asked the pilot to take a few orbits around the site at different altitudes. I was looking for something interesting through the viewfinder of my camera and tried various lenses to see how they would manipulate perspectives and frame my subject. Once the helicopter hovered directly above the colorful rows of containers, their clinical precision and symmetry were instantly apparent. The alignment was striking. I knew that an oblique angle wouldn't work in this scenario, so I opted for a perpendicular angle and made sure that everything was perfectly lined up when I snapped this shot. These kinds of aerial abstracts are my favorite; they offer so much eye candy and leave space for the observer's interpretation. I saw a decoded DNA sequence in this frame. What do you see?

'THE ARC', Abu Dhabi, 2015

Featured is Abu Dhabi's busiest end of the city, captured from a helicopter. This photograph was shot in very windy conditions which lifted a lot of sand particles and as a result, an interesting, dramatic mood emerged to my delight. Spherical distortion created by the fisheye lens turned out to be the right choice for the curved road which wraps around the East end of the Capital.

'FISHERMEN'S HARBOR', Delma Island, Abu Dhabi, 2016

This remote, tiny island in Abu Dhabi's Western Region used to play a very important role during the height of the pearling industry in the Gulf. Today, very little of that period still remains; only the scant number of persistent fishermen who preserve the tradition that lies at the core of the UAE as a nation with a rich marine heritage

'RED BEACH', Undisclosed location in Abu Dhabi's Western Region, 2016

This unique and beautiful looking shoreline lies in a very hard to reach, remote location in Abu Dhabi's Western Region. It's not just any beach; between the strata of reddish sandstone lies a treasure trove of archaeological fossils which tell the tales of a vast variety of ancient species that used to roam the Earth long before we did

'EMIRATES PALACE', Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, 2013

I won first prize in the Architecture category of the 'SPACES OF LIGHT Photography Contest' in Abu Dhabi back in 2013 with this image. It features the Kempinski Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, one of the most luxurious resort hotels in the world, captured from the elevated angle during the 'blue hour', the most magical time of the day when the artificial and ambient light mix in a perfect harmony

'MYSTIFIED', Abu Dhabi, 2013

This wide panorama of Abu Dhabi's skyline took a long time and many photography sessions to execute. I returned to the same rooftop more than 10 times before the lighting and the weather conditions created the salmon hues and the misty atmosphere I had hoped to see. This capture is inspired by the concept of Planet Coruscant featured in the Star Wars.

'ETERNAL LIGHT', Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, 2013

I took this shot on the first rainy day of 2013. I was very excited when the rain stopped for an hour or so because I was expecting to see some unique cloud formations...and to my delight, the clouds turned out to be even more spectacular than I expected. An isolated human figure of top of the stairs provided a much needed visual focus and a sense of scale in this majestic location.

'GUARDIANS OF TIME', Undisclosed location in the Abu Dhabi's Western Region, 2016

I photographed these majestic formations amidst a foreboding landscape in Abu Dhabi's Western Region, at the heart of an archaeological site. The place is full of fossils from the Miocene period where numerous scientists have excavated the bones of the Stegotetrabelodon syrticus (four tusk elephant), crocodile and many other ancient creatures. It's almost impossible to imagine that such creatures once existed in this part of the world but on this ancestral ground, I could almost hear their footsteps and breathing all around me...

'INTO THE RED', Abu Dhabi, 2013

One of the photographs which can't be repeated is probably this one. Taken from the highest rooftop in Abu Dhabi (98th floor during construction, shot without glass in front of the lens) on a foggy morning. The light was simply spectacular. It was one of those rare moments when everything comes together in a moment of perfection.

'HAMDAN STREET', Hamdan Street, Abu Dhabi, 2013

As a professional 'admirer' of architecture, design and cinema, I favor aerial cityscapes over other types of photography. I love the challenge they present, the rush and the excitement of hovering above the city's rooftops. It's such a liberating experience. There's also a particular sense of achievement that comes with aerial photography: that instant when everything lines up; the light and the darkness, the geometry, the harmony of composition and the perfect timing which ties all of it together. This is why I love this picture so much. It has all of those elements combined

'THE WHITE PEARL', Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, 2013

I've witnessed many fascinating sights in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, some of which could only be appreciated from a bird's eye view. The glow of the morning sunlight and its reflection off the white marble of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one such sight. We live in such a fascinating world; even our own backyard is graced with interesting subjects. All we need to do is stop, change our point of view and look again.








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