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



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Converging Lines of the Vine

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Imposter. A lightly fragrant wine with hints of citrus peel, marmalade and stone fruit. Semi-sweet in flavour with a crisp fine finish. What a great tasting imposter, that was: Flora 2008 (Matakana, Auckland NZ). Am still licking my lips…

24 hours of air travel separates the Arabian Gulf (Dubai, UAE) from the Tasman Sea (Auckland, New Zealand). I did the maths, paid the price then packed my bags. I was off to visit friends, a young couple of expats, living the greenlife in Auckland. Lucky for me they have a nose for good wine and a jeep built to explore. We were soon abandoning the city for viticulture adventures, one of which deposited us on this fertile ground of Omaha Bay.

No time like the present! Its wine o’clock. With one hand gripping a glass filled with The Imposter, the other clutching the Nikon, my eyes were drawn down the glorious lush green slope of the land, trellises and posts proudly hosting these high vigor cultivars – a future vintage perhaps?

When framing a landscape shot look to incorporate converging lines. Lines have the potential to add interest to an image. Multiple lines that converge can be a great technique to lead your viewer’s eye into a shot.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Piha Auckland NZ: F Stop f/2.8; Exposure Time 1/250sec; Metering Mode: Pattern

Population 822 – Piha, Auckland, New Zealand. Yes, I can vouch for this census number; that this slab of black iron-sand, seemingly at the ends of the earth, boasts a mere handful of residents. For on my travels there I bumped into no other soul; not even another soul’s pet dog out for a canter.

Getting driven out to Piha – on the west coast of the north island – brings out the Anxious Passenger in me. An hour from Auckland, driving through Waitakere Range Forest, the turns are numerous and lip-bitingly sharp. Oh and did I mention numerous…like HUNDREDS of them.

Piha is New Zealand’s most famous surf beach, its awesome surf rolling in over the Tasman Sea. When Uncle Toby’s Iron Man contest was held here in 1997, canoes were snapped in two and the competition has never returned. Malibu board riding was born here, introduced by two Californian lifeguards in 1956.

It can be moody, misty, wet and wind-swept. The power goes off, the phone lines come down, sometimes the road in (and out) gets blocked. Rips are strong, currents unforgiving.  And I would not have been forgiven by my excellent travel companion Katya Hodson, were I to be swept away, so no toe was dipped into the icy November waters. Photos were taken instead. Much safer!

Let there be Light: A Study on Aperture

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During the northern summer of 2010 I made a photographic pilgrimage to Greece, the first of four I would conduct over the years 2010-2011. Determined to beat the path of my forefathers, I found myself in Nafplion (Greek: Ναύπλιο) – a pretty seaport town in the Peloponnese overlooking the Argolic Gulf. The town was the first capital of modern Greece, from the start of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until 1834.

During the Greek War of Independence, a besieged Nafplion was a major Ottoman stronghold.

Count Ioannis Kapodistrias, Greek diplomat of the Russian Empire, and first head of state of newly liberated Greece, made Nafplio the official capital of Greece in 1829. He was subsequently assassinated in 1831 after which anarchy followed, until the arrival of the Prince of Bavaria, later crowned King Otto, and the establishment of the new Kingdom of Greece. Nafplion remained the capital of the kingdom until 1834, when King Otto decided to move the capital to Athens.

Well I decided to make a wee move too, while in Nafplio: a move on the camera dial labeled Aperture. Look at the images here: subtle plays on light, and all due to the manipulation of aperture. No anarchy necessary!