Most Friday mornings of mine are spent in bed, hoping the children get up as late as they can, so I can have a lie-in too. The morning of Friday, 11th November, was very different. I was hoping the kids would sleep till late…but only coz I was out of the house trying to achieve something for myself.
I had seen a post by Natalie Robinson on Facebook about a Photowalk through the souks of Old Dubai. Organised by Natalie and Lianne Dawes, two well-known photographers in Dubai, the walk was about teaching a small group of like-minded women some photography basics. I got in touch with Natalie and registered for the walk, along with 12 other women.
Most of the members were supposed to meet up at Zabeel park and then catch taxis to the Bur Dubai Abra station. I chose to walk down to the Abra station as I live close-by and met the group there.
It all started off with group introductions, where each one of us talked about why we were doing the Photowalk and what we wanted to achieve out of it. Then, Natalie and Lianne talked about the area and what they expected us to get out of the walk. Their main purpose was to get us out of our comfort zones of using the “Auto” mode on our cameras and play around manual settings, while capturing the colorful and vibrant feel in the souk and around the Hindu temple.
Most of the women in the group were British expats, the most important common factor between us all being, that we were all mothers, with kids of varied ages. Mothers, who now had a little time to themselves and who wanted some time off to discover a new passion.
To start with, we were given some time to take pictures of the Abras and the activity around the creek-side. Lianne and Natalie took each of us through camera settings like Aperture, shutter speeds and ISO settings. We then moved on to the souk, walking past an Iranian mosque, to discover the narrow alleyways around the Hindu Temple and finally, ending at Bastakiya for coffee and to discuss our experiences and what each one of us had learned. Natalie and Lianne walked along with us at every step to answer our questions and help with camera settings.
I have lived in that area of Dubai for a few good years of my childhood but I had never seen the place through a camera lens! There was so much color and detail out there! And to capture them on camera while deciding manually on how to take the picture, just made each picture even more special to look at.
I clicked pictures of things that I probably would not have before, like a wall of pashmina shawls, traditional shoes, alleyways, stacks of prayer offerings for sale, etc. They made me think of perspective and focus, light and color, to feel the vibrant ambience of the place.
It was a very different experience to go back to that area with women who were so new to the place and to discover it all over again, acting like a tourist, with a camera in hand. At the end of it all, we all felt really good about moving away from the “Auto” mode, learning some basic rules of camera settings and hoped to practice more of what we learnt.
I came back home with a sense of achievement –
- of having learnt the basics about a new skill,
- of having spent an entire morning with like-minded women discussing something new and exciting,
- of being away from the kids for an entire morning and then getting the warmest welcome by them!
If you would like to get in touch with Natalie Robinson or Lianne Dawes about the Photowalk or other services, please follow them on Facebook or Instagram.