A Weekend Hang-Out with Anastasia

It had been long since I had organized a photo shoot to challenge myself and try out new stuffs. So, I texted Anastasia, who is a friend and also a blogger, if she was interested to try out something cool and of course her answer was “Yessss”. There was not much of a mood board nor was the kind of shots planned out but I wanted it to be casual and urban themed and I told her to bring with her what she felt in her wardrobe was cool and good looking. 

I had some locations in mind I wanted to try shooting at and that which most did not know existed in Abu Dhabi city. I picked her up at about 3:30pm and wanted to shoot at three different spots before sunset which was at 6:02pm. I had hoped to get three to four different looks and so we moved to out first spot.


Al Gurm

Al Gurm is a spot that very few people has heard of. It is a great location for photographers, especially wedding photographer for your pre/post wedding shoot as the place has a small forest with naturally arched trees that make a tunnel that stretches for atleast a kilometer and beautiful tall grasses (seen in the photos above) on the other side. Al Gurm totally makes you feel that you’re in some foreign country.

How do you get there? When heading to Mussafah from Abu Dhabi via the Mussafah Road, after you cross Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), you would see a board that “Parking” which leads you to a large parking lot. Park your car and head towards a fenced basketball/tennis court and you can see the start of the forest. About 10 mins walk to the other side there is an area with the tall grasses.

We had to be on schedule to reach the next spot before we lost the light.


Graveyard of Ships

This spot caught my attention on a friend’s instagram feed from a photowalk they had organized a couple of weeks back. I call it the “Graveyard of Ships”. The place is full of wrecked and old ships (Dhows) some still intact and some broken which was more to my interest to my photographic eye. 

This location is in Al Mina near Port Zayed and right opposite to Warehouse 421. No one really knows if entry is restricted as there was no boards or anything that says so. There was this little gap between two fences and we squeezed our way in to get these rad editorial shots that you can see above in the 20 mins we spent there.

We had 15 mins till sun set….


Mina Plant Market

Just behind the Graveyard of Ships, is the Mina Plant Market or as some would call the “Iranian Market” where you can buy any kind of plant ranging from a small basil plant to a big mango tree. So we decided to drive around to see if they would let us shoot in any of the shops. It was a Saturday evening and almost all shops were really crowded with customers but to our luck we spotted a shop towards to the end of the lane that wasn’t busy. Skeptical if they would allow us, I went up to the shop keeper and asked if it was ok take a few shots in his shop and to my surprise he replied in Hindi, “Of course, why not. Go ahead”. 

It was almost sun down and so I had to use the flash to get enough light to shoot Anastasia. The shop keeper was so interested in what was going on that he offered to hold my off camera flash at different positions I had asked him to.

It was dark by the time we left Mina and I wanted to try shooting at this one last spot on the Corniche that had become famous lately, before calling it a day.


Al Bahar, Corniche

The hanging fluorescent bulbs had caught my interest since the time I had seen it there. I decided to use no flash, so that I could get the bulbs and the reflections on Anastasia’s glasses. So, I pumped up my ISO (Canon 5D Mark IV can handle high ISO without any noticeable noise) and got her to pose on a bench. 

I was totally satisfied at the output from the shoot. We had managed to shoot at 4 locations in about three hours. Anastasia did a great job and was fun to work with her in terms of her energy and versatility.


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