4 years back to this day I got to shoot one pretty exciting project in the Dubai World Central Airport. That day marked the landing of the Four Seasons Private Jet carrying its passengers to Dubai for the first time in its history. The landing was announced to be at around 6 pm time, which was not ideal as this time of the year it is already darkish at 6 pm.
Anyhow, we got to the airport at 3-30 with our cameras, a million of permits, and my colleague who was driving us even got a speeding fine on the road to the airport as it is pretty empty and the temptation to drive quickly was very strong. When we got to the airport my companion photographer realized that she only took a massive lens with her, but not her camera (oops), so she had to drive all the way back to Jumeirah to get it and make it back just on time for the plane landing.
Meanwhile, we spent a few good hours sitting in the private jet terminal and observing all those passengers arriving to Dubai in their own jets. Our videographer was from Pakistan and he spotted one of their country celebrities and got pretty excited about it, however the PR people who were with us that day told him to wind it down and act as if no celebrities are passing in front.
Though this day was 4 years ago, I remember like yesterday that it was when we were sitting in this airport that the news of Donald Trump to have won the elections came through and we all silenced for a moment trying to process it and not knowing really what to say.
The day was rather hazy and a bit humid, but you don’t choose the weather here, you just deal with what you are given. At 5-10 someone ran into the terminal shouting: “It’s coming, it’s coming an hour early! It is landing already!” and though we asked them to tell us in advance about this, so we can go out and find a spot and dial in the right settings, obviously this is the Middle East and lest you forget… so means we run, tripod in one hand, 400 mm lens in other hand and all the knowledge about how to deal with the dusk situation and shooting fast moving objects in between.
Then we got shouted by someone who was already outside that we can’t be on the tarmac, which totally makes sense, but photo assignments like this one fill your arteries with adrenaline and you just go forward without thinking of safety rules (alhamdulilah nothing happened to us). We glued to fence with a divider trying to catch the plane into our long lenses and let me tell you the 400 mm lens does not easily finds what to focus on in the open sky after the sunset (and the plane is black colour as well), but after a few hunts it got what I was aiming for.
And it all happened so fast from the moment we saw it starting to land, to the moment it stopped in front of us, the loud roaring bird, it felt like only 30 seconds have passed.
This photo I took (which needed a whole bunch of dehaze and clarity applied to it) made it to all the local newspapers who cared to cover the event of some rich people visiting Dubai by Four Seasons Privat Jet. It was pretty cool, even though there was no my name written under it.
The 52-seat, custom-designed Boeing 757 is part of the brand’s Four Seasons Private Jet Cultural Escape itinerary. The jet flies from Moscow to Dubai for a three-day stopover followed by subsequent stays at Seychelles, Serengeti and Florence. It then flies to London for the end of the 19-day program, has its own chef and other entertainments on board.
What an adventure, what an experience! There is definitely a huge appeal in shooting planes, as well as cars, and other fast-moving motorized vehicles… it is always challenging, and if you nail it, it always feels very rewarding.
Would you rather be the one in the plane or the one taking photos of it? As much as I love traveling, I wouldn’t have swapped this experience (and honestly, due to the choice of my profession, unlikely I would ever be able to afford it).
Stay safe, my friends, and let’s hope soon we all will be able to fly anywhere we want.
All photos taken with Fujifilm XT-2.