Getting the Shot: Burj Al-Arab

Sep 18, 2016Photography, United Arab Emirates0 comments


The iconic, sail-shaped Burj al-Arab hotel can be seen for miles, but it can be difficult to photograph without obstruction. The hotel is located on an island off the coast of Dubai, but entrance to the 7-star hotel is restricted. The areas surrounding the hotel are owned by high-end hotels who reserve their beach access guests only. The closest public access beach is 0.4 miles (0.7 km) to the northeast and the view is obstructed by a fence and buildings.

The Shot

Burj Al-Arab

Location is the key to this shot. One of the best places to photograph the Burj al-Arab is from the private beach behind the Medinat Jumeirah Hotel. Staying at the hotel can be expensive. And if you’re thinking about walking in off the street and accessing the beach, think again; the hotel has plenty of security guards making sure that non-guests never make it past the lobby.

Instead make a reservation to dine at Shimmers Restaurant on the beach behind the Medinat Jumeirah Hotel. The staff will escort you down to the beach on golf carts and drop you off near the pools. You’ll get great beach views of the Burj al-Arab without having to stay at the hotel. Plan for a late afternoon or early evening meal for the best light.


This image required very little post processing. A bit of color correction was applied throughout to add vibrancy. Finally a bit of sharpening brought out the texture in the waves and the architectural details in the hotel.

If I were to ever shoot this location again, I try to smuggle in a tripod for a slightly longer exposure. While I wouldn’t want the water to be silky smooth, a longer shutter would add a sense of movement to the waves – especially the white foam on the beach.

Burj al-Arab


Sony a7r

Sony A7r
FE 24-70mm F4



Focal Length

31.0 mm

Shutter Speed

1/80 sec



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This