Brrrrr. At minus 5c, this must have been the coldest I’ve been for a while. I was in Dubai’s iconic fridge aka Ski Dubai, shooting nine adventure ladies, testing gear for Rip Curl in preparation of an Arctic adventure next month.
Expedition leader Julie Lewis runs Mountain High, a company specialising in unique trips around the world with one single ingredient; the joy of adventure. She has brought together an amazing group of ladies who are gearing up for dog sledding, ice caving, snow scootering and more, in temperatures that will hit minus 30c. They are up for some serious fun!
I remember the first time I visited Ski Dubai to go skiing with friends. It must have been around seven years ago, around their pre-opening phase. On registration, we were given a welcome pack with gloves, scarf and woolen hat. I kindly declined their offer. ’It can’t be that cold,’ I thought, as I gazed through the spectacularly big windows. Mistake. Big mistake! Within 10 minutes, I was back inside, this time kindly accepting my welcome pack and wrapping up in some extra layers. With 22,500 sq m of real snow, it’s a great ride and certainly the biggest and coldest spot in the UAE!
My first shoot at Ski Dubai was with tennis star Svetlana Kuznetsova shooting some portraits and action for the ITF 2008 Olympic Book. It was a book about tennis players participating in other Olympic sports besides mastering their own. Svetlana was already here in the emirate for the Dubai Tennis Championship and as she loves snowboarding, there seemed no better place to shoot her.
Whilst prepping for this shoot, I noticed how challenging the light actually is thanks to a mix of colors and the overall lack of it. Shooting action out on the slope with a long lens was a real battle, resulting in too many images turning out dull, dark and even blurred if the shutter speed dropped too much. The alternative was to use flash and that’s what ended up working best with Svetlana.
This time round, back in the ‘dim lit fridge’, I was armed not only with flash but with my profoto studio heads. We warmed up with some posed group shots, followed by some serious action on the ski slope … hiking uphill then running together in a mad downhill. A bit of action on the half pipe followed then came the icing on the cake … Julie’s idea of doing a group slide on the massive rip curl banner she brought along. A crazy fast dash resulted in lots of smiles and giggles. All in all, a great, albeit chilly morning enjoyed by all and I now look forward to hearing the stories of their adventures to come.