The happy snapper's go-to for all that is wonderful and technical in the world of photography.

  • Burj Al Arab and The Madinat Jumeirah: F Stop f/5.6; Exposure Time 1/500sec
  • The Madinat Dubai: f/5.6; 1/350sec; Metering Mode: Pattern
  • Dubai May 2010: f/5.6; 1/750sec; Metering Mode: Pattern
  • Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi UAE: f/4.5; 1/15sec; ISO-200; Metering Mode: Pattern; Flash Used
  • Sideview Mounted Police: f/2.8; 1/90sec; Metering Mode: Pattern
  • Agios Nektarios: F Stop f/4.2; Exposure Time 1/40sec; ISO-400; Metering Mode: Spot; No Flash
  • Jumeira Beach Al Qasr, Dubai: F Stop f/20; Exposure Time 2/200sec; ISO-1600; Metering Mode: Pattern; Flash Used
  • Piha Lion Rock: F Stop f/4; Exposure Time 1/750sec; Metering Mode: Pattern
  • Nafplio, Greece in Aperture Priority: F Stop f/11; Exposure 1/200sec; ISO-100; Fill Flash Used



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Juxtaposed: at or within a short distance in space or time.

I hold a deep-seated desire to sightsee and move about…even in the little village I call home – Dubai. No sitting about a pool for hours on end; no flopping on a beach till sundown. My obsession is to surprise myself with new views and newer perspectives. As you can guess the camera comes along with me and likes more than anything else to capture the beauty of buildings I visit.

It struck me to introduce my travel companion, flown over from Paris, to stroll with me along the Arabian Gulf; not so much sandy seaside, but more the highly stylised, elegant architecture of classical Arabia…and modern Dubai. Juxtaposed.

Behold the Burj al Arab dressed in its luminous whites and the Madinat Jumierah, a nod to Arabia of old.



The Madinat

The Madinat Dubai: f/5.6; 1/350sec; Metering Mode: Pattern

The Madinat Dubai: f/5.6; 1/350sec; Metering Mode: Pattern

Ahh, just taking a leisurely stroll through a pretty neighbourhood in my adoptive hometown…

Welcome to The Madinat Jumeirah. Yeas this place is BAM! It yells “I’m the Supermodel of Resorts! Take your best shot of me!!”…which I attempted. The place is located along one kilometre of private beachfront half an hour from Dubai’s airport and a mere bus ride away from my tiny apartment.

Designed to recreate life as it used to be for residents of a traditional Arabian town, 5.4 kilometers of waterways snake about holiday villas, hotels, restaurants, wind towers, and a bustling souk (marketplace). The best bit being that all of it is accessible through a ride on an abra, those traditional boats made of wood, part and parcel of Dubai’s creekscape and a part of the city’s heritage. Tally ho!


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Ah, the Tower of the Arabs – the Burj Al Arab.

Hands up who is responsible for this, this…7-star Dubai icon? Oh its you, Mr. Smartypants Architect Tom Wright.

Tom Wright conceived his vision of the Burj in October 1993 and completed it in 1999. The story goes something like this: while sitting on the terrace of the long-closed down Chicago Beach hotel (which stood adjacent to the site of the Burj al Arab) Tom Wright put pen to parchment (that is, a serviette) and illustrated the first sketch of the hotel. An icon was born for Dubai; a building that has become synonymous with the place, as Sydney has its opera house and Paris the Eiffel Tower. Even the Dubai sky loves to dance about this beautiful building.

Here’s a tip for taking the shot: Consider the Sky

Most landscapes will either have a dominant foreground or sky – ensure you have one or the other lest your image ends up boring.

If  you have a bland sky, don’t let it dominate your shot. Add context by framing your photo with some tree branches, flags or another building. However if the sky is filled with drama – enchanting cloud formations and swirls of light – let it dominate by placing the horizon lower.

Interior Blow-Out

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Dear Hotel Interior Design Team,

If I were a betting woman, I would wager my measly monthly salary that the Yas Island Hotel, Abu Dhabi’s Pure White Quartz and Cararra marble tiles are the slickest, sexy-stylish and definitely most photogenic of all the futuristic floor & wall coverings my lens has ever shot. Calming, sophisticated and complementary to who ever tramples past. These hotel patrons positively float along! So glacial!! I cannot wait to visit again.

Kind regards,

alicehartleyphotography x




Viewpoint: Mounted Police

Sideview Mounted Police: f/2.8; 1/90sec; Metering Mode: Pattern

Sideview Mounted Police: f/2.8; 1/90sec; Metering Mode: Pattern

Sydney Mounted Police have been located in Redfern, Sydney, Australia since 1907, however the Mounties were formed in 1825, on a different site. The Sydney Mounties are even older than the Canadian Mounties. 30 well-trained police horses are stabled, cared for and worked, by adoring Policemen and women,  and a pretty pair of steeds patrolled Sydney’s inner city on this fine day when I snapped our model peering out of his window.

Finding a new point of view is often the key to making fresh pictures. You’ve got a lot to gain by taking on the viewpoint of what your subject is looking at; follow the trajectory of their eyes, for a change of perspective.

Moreover, images taken from the back take on a singular quality, becoming symbolic somehow. Instead of being a record of ‘things’ or events, they seem to speak more broadly; timelessly.


Noisy Veneration of Holy Relics

Hagios Nektarios: F Stop f/4.2; Exposure Time 1/40sec; ISO-400; Metering Mode: Spot; No Flash

Hagios Nektarios: F Stop f/4.2; Exposure Time 1/40sec; ISO-400; Metering Mode: Spot; No Flash

Here is a golden tale to lift your spirits: The holy Father Nektarios was born 1846 in Thrace, Asia Minor. St Nektarios surrendered his spirit to the Lord on November 9, 1920 at the age of 74. As soon as the Saint gave up his Spirit, a nurse came to prepare him for transfer to the Saronic Island Aegina for burial. As the nurse removed the Saint’s sweater, she inadvertently placed it on the next bed, on which a paralytic lay. Lo! strange wonder!, the paralytic immediately began to regain his strength and arose from his bed healthy, and glorifying God.

Some time after his repose, strangely a beautiful fragrance was emitted by his Holy body, filling the room. Many came to venerate his Holy relics prior to his burial. With amazement, people noted a fragrant fluid that drenched his hair and beard. Even after 5 months, when the nuns of the convent opened the Saint’s grave to build a marble tomb, they found the Saint intact in every respect and emitted a wonderful and heavenly fragrance. Years later, the Holy Relics were still fragrant.

This image was taken inside of the Holy Nave of Saint Nektarios, at the altar which bears a golden glow as the setting sun beams light into the church. Of course flash is not allowed to touch the Saint’s Holy relics  – bones and hair – encased on the altar.

How to approach this? Increase the ISO. Noise and grain in a shot are the tell-tale signs of a boosted ISO, however my eyes misty as they were, resting on the relics, captured the moment for my memory as just that: a noisy veneration to a wonderful Saint.


Jumeira Beach Al Qasr, Dubai: F Stop f/20; Exposure Time 2/200sec; ISO-1600; Metering Mode: Pattern; Flash Used

Jumeira Beach Al Qasr, Dubai: F Stop f/20; Exposure Time 2/200sec; ISO-1600; Metering Mode: Pattern; Flash Used

It goes against the grain, doesn’t it? You know: a grainy shot. Noisy, in other words.

But what to do? The sun is all but set on the private beach of Jumeira’s Al Qasr; darkness’s blanket spreads out, however some light rays are still beaming down, and the scene is just so lovely with day trippers exhausting the final moments of pleasure shoreside…this needs to be captured. But how?

Fiddle with your ISO.

ISO controls the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor. It affects not only which exposure settings you can use, but also plays a major role in determining the final image quality. The more sensitive a sensor is to light, the less of light the camera will need to record an image. When there 
isn’t enough light to shoot without using too slow a shutter speed, boosting the ISO sensitivity of the sensor will mean less light is required, so you’ll be able to use a faster shutter speed or smaller aperture and still get a well-exposed image.

However…as you raise the ISO the image quality degrades, due to the occurrence of image noise: specular grains. It is especially visible in the shadows and areas of uniform tone like in this image. The higher you set the ISO the coarser these grains appear.

Your cameras’ ISO range begins at ISO 100: perfect for shooting static subjects outdoors in reasonably bright light.

Each doubling of the ISO represents one extra stop of sensitivity. Going from ISO 100 to 200 will enable you to use a shutter speed one stop faster, or an aperture one stop smaller, while maintaining the same exposure.

When to use higher ISO:

1. Shooting hand-held at dusk or on overcast days when it isn’t bright enough to use a shutter speed higher than 1/60th second, with your standard lens. Slower speeds risks camera shake and blurred image.

2. When you need to use a small aperture (big number) to create as wide a depth of field as possible (say to capture this entire scene), and doing so would give you a shutter speed that’s too slow to hand-hold.