A South African expatriate, living in Dubai for the past five years has been mesmerizing Instagram users with some stunning pictures of the UAE’s unique landscape and wildlife.
During his recent pursuit just before the UAE banned the use of drones in the country, Dubai-based amateur photographer, Dan Newton, managed to capture some stunning photos of a stingray-shaped lake that he spotted near the cycling track of Al Qudra Lakes with his DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone.
“When I first went there it was being developed by the Municipality and at that time, there was no real shape. After that, Christmas and New Year happened and I was identified as a close contact for Covid-19. So, I had to isolate. Soon after my isolation period got over, I grabbed a drone and my camera and went back to see what they’ve done and much to my surprise, it had the lovely shape of a stringray,” says the nature lover.
Newton who has a passion for wildlife and landscape photography, further opines, “A lot of these lakes like the Love Lake, Crescent Moon and Expo Lake are being developed so that people go out exploring. It’s an experience and it’s a good initiative to get people back into the desert and to reconnect with nature.”
The South African National who works as a safety advisor in an Oil and Gas company says he doesn’t always use a drone for wildlife photography as it may scare the animals.
“I may park on the edge of a complex sand dune and fly the drone to see if it’s safe for me to drive through it and if it’s worth the risk,” explains Newton.
Newton points out, it takes a long process to become a good photographer and it usually requires relentless effort, passion, motivation, hard work and adventurous spirit.
He says, “I try to stay on the outskirts of the city and out in the deserts. I am self-taught, I purchased a camera several years ago before buying a drone and taught myself how to use it by watching YouTube videos joined a lot of camera clubs and did general networking. I have done a few workshops.”
Exploring and avidly hunting for photography inspirations, Newton says, “To complement my photography, I did a lot of off-roading like landscapes and wildlife. I use the drone for scouting areas, locations to see how accessible they are and to see if it’s worth driving out to go see.”
Naturally inspired to love nature and wildlife, Newton’s picture of this kingfisher fittingly portrays the bright plumage that it is known for. The bird usually lives near bodies of water and catches their prey by diving.
Responding to UAE’s ban on flying drones in the country for recreation, he says, “I fully support the decision to ground all drone activity. I think it’s a necessity. I think the misuse of drones have gotten out of hand. A recalibration is definitely needed and putting the safety of the public first is the priority.”
“There is only a slight bit of disappointment that I can’t take the drone out, but I fully understand why. I do see a lot of illegal videos on social media, and it would be good to see a reinforcement of rules. I think it’s the right thing to do,” he explains.
Newton’s camera also captured the new cultural quarter of Sharjah – House of Wisdom that serves as an iconic cultural centre.
“There is only a slight bit of disappointment that I can’t take the drone out, but I fully understand why. I do see a lot of illegal videos on social media, and it would be good to see a reinforcement of rules. I think it’s the right thing to do,” he underlines.
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