An amateur photographer has captured images of a new stingray-shaped lake in Dubai’s Al Qudra.
South African Dan Newton is a regular visitor to the area, he tells. “I am there a few times a week. It’s a beautiful city we have, but my passion for the desert and wildlife always steers me out there.”
He came across this new lake a few months ago, while it was still being created, but only recently managed to capture photographs of the finished result. “Following a period of self-isolation due to close contact and the knowledge that drone activity was likely to be stopped temporarily in the region, I decided that my first journey out of the house would be to the desert. I wanted to take this image while I was there to see what the shape finally was,” he says.
The lake is distinctly stingray shaped, with the water forming the contours of the creature’s body and the road leading up to it mimicking a sinuous stinger. Two small land masses within the water act as eyes.
Newton says the surrounding area is still undergoing development but should eventually be as attractive to day-trippers and birdwatchers as the other man-made lakes in the area, which include Love Lake, Expo 2020 Dubai Lake and Crescent Moon Lake.
Newton captured the images using a DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone, which he generally uses for scouting areas of interest for his photography. “Of course, it is registered, and I am licensed to use it within the permitted fly areas,” he says.
Newton has called Dubai home for the past five years and has spent that time avidly capturing the UAE’s many attributes. He says people may be surprised to discover how much the country offers in terms of inspiration. “The UAE has so many amazing opportunities for photography inspiration, everything from amazing architecture, cityscapes with amazing views, the desert, mountains, wildlife, so many sporting events and a diverse culture and people. Just stay within the laws and get the right permissions and your opportunities are endless.”
He first became interested in photography during his previous job. “In my previous employment, I was fortunate enough to do a lot of international travel on offshore construction vessels, exploring some beautiful places and cultures. This triggered my first serious camera purchase and gradually over time, I have developed a passion for wildlife and landscape photography,” he explains
Photography is currently a hobby and Newton has no plans to change that for the moment, despite now selling his prints online and being recognised in a number of photography awards this year, including placing second in the Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021 awards, receiving a few honourable mentions in the Monochrome Photography Awards 2021 and receiving silver in the Tokyo International Foto Awards.
The secret to taking a great photograph? “Practice,” he says. “Find something else you’re passionate about and document that in photos. It really enhances your enjoyment. For me, that’s wildlife and conservation, which goes very well with photography.
“Enter competitions and do workshops, connect with others that can mentor and guide you; this is a great way to make new friends. You will get great feedback on your work, so be open-minded that even negative feedback is not criticism, but an opportunity to improve. Forget about the likes on social media occasionally and enter a judged competition. Peer review and feedback will elevate your work.”