Abbas Kapadia


It happens to most people, you watch a glorious landscape, a melting sunset or tides whipping up the ocean, and try to freeze frame it in your camera. But when you later take a look at the picture, it appears to fall flat. All the elements are there, but something’s amiss. Why? In his book, Photography Field Guide, veteran photographer Robert Caputo says: “When we look at a landscape, our eyes travel over it and selectively focus on the elements that we find appealing. Our field of vision encompasses a great deal of the scene, but our eyes and brains have the ability to ignore all except the most alluring details. Lenses and sensors or film cannot do this by themselves. They need help.” The winning reader photographers in December’s Reader Picture Competition, found that they were able to guide their lens and focus on the right aspects – the ones that add mood and drama to an otherwise static picture. Deputy Picture Editor Sankha Kar picked the top three winners and here we present the photographs that stood out from the rest.

Editor’s note: Do you want to participate in our monthly Reader Picture Competition? Send us your best photographs, with captions, at readers@gulfnews.com.


On the web

View more pictures by the winners at gulfnews.com/pictures


RDS_141224 YT FIRST Picture Competition Winner ABBAS KAPADIA


Abbas Kapadia is a Dubai-based resident, who works as a marketing and sales manager.

He is part of a photography group called Shutter Bugs Creative Forum in Dubai and is passionate about taking pictures.

By visiting Ladakh, Kapadia said he fulfilled an old dream.

He said: “I had yearned to make this trip for a long time, having seen it on television many a times. To see the Himalayas up close, monasteries up high on hilltops, monks going about their rituals, the cold desert, the highest motorable road at Khardung La pass, and surviving at such high altitudes... it was a dream come true.”


Reason for winning:

Kapadia’s Picture Essay on Ladakh was a compelling collection in and of itself, according to Deputy Picture Editor Kar, but this particular photograph, shot at Pangong Lake, stood out from the rest.

He said: “The colours and composition blend together perfectly. It’s landscape photography that shows the mountain, the lake, and focuses on people as well. It’s beautiful – a great example of travel photography.”


RDS_141224 YT SECOND Picture Competition Winner ARJUN SASI


Arjun Sasi is an area sales manager, based in Dubai.

A keen photography enthusiast, he took this picture at Fujairah’s Umbrella Beach in the early morning hours.

Timing was everything for Sasi, who said: “It’s always worth a wait when you want something. I waited for this moment and here it is. I call it ‘Frozen in time’.”


Reason for winning:

Like Sasi, Deputy Picture Editor Kar found the timing of this photograph to be perfect.

He said: “Considering the exposure setting, this would not have been an easy picture to take. If the photographer clicked a little earlier, the white colour of the water would have been washed out by the whiteness of the sky in the background. If he was a little late, it would have been too dark. The lighting is beautiful here, along with the action in the background and the clear spray of water. He captured it at the perfect moment.”


RDS_141224 YT THIRD Picture Competition Winner AFNAN AQEEL


Afnan Aqeel is a student of Manipal University, Dubai and posts pictures on his Instagram account as @afnaansb.

He took this photograph while on a trip to the highest peak in the UAE – Jebel Jais, in Ras Al Khaimah. He said: “It was a great experience to capture such a shot. The climate was cold... about 14 degrees Celsius.”


Reason for winning:

Deputy Picture Editor Kar appreciated the drama created in the photograph.

He said: “The picture, taken at a high angle, has a lot of flair and drama. It’s a striking shot in the night, and one can experience the atmosphere at these lonely heights, with the glow of the bustling city in the background.”