I specialize in aerial photography and spend a lot of time flying with helicopters. One thing I miss about shooting from a moving aircraft however is the stability of a firm ground. You can't shoot long exposures from a helicopter and that eliminates and possibility of HDR photography and manual exposure blending which I like a lot. HDR photos require multiple bracketed exposures which must be perfectly aligned. Longest exposure can last up to a minute and that's why you need to shoot with a sturdy tripod, planted on a stationary platform.
My wish was to shoot a panorama of Abu Dhabi, captured from an extremely high vantage point which no one saw before. I wanted it to be appear high enough to pass as an aerial shot. This is why I always wanted to shoot from the roof of the Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower in Abu Dhabi while it was still under construction. Once the building reached the 98th floor, it was high enough for what I had in mind.
It took a long time to secure the permit to access the construction site of such a prestigious building and when I set the date to shoot the town, another rare thing happened; low rolling fog. Any UAE based photographer will be able to tell you that there is nothing as beautiful as the fog over the city in the early morning hours. What an incredible stroke of luck it was to be shooting from the tallest roof in town on a foggy morning which occurs once, perhaps twice a year!
In my excitement to photograph this scene, I ignored to look at the shaky platform I was standing on; a wooden scaffolding board, placed on the outside of the building, some 330 meters above the ground!
I used Manfrotto Magic Arms to fix the camera onto the scaffolding handrail as the ledge I was standing on was only 30 cm wide and there was no space whatsoever to spread the tripod.
I quickly snapped 7 bracketed exposures which allowed me to capture every tonal nuance of this spectacular sight.
I won several competitions with this picture but none of these recognitions compare with the thrill which goes into producing a single frame such as this one; knowing that I stood in the right place, at the right time and I was ready to seize the opportunity. I live for this joy.