Assignment 2 Crowds

For this assignment the brief was to create a series of 6-10images to form a series which should work as a collection reflecting a single coherent idea. The individual images should be of a single format and use techniques from Project 2 of the coursework.

The subjects were Views, Heads and Crowds. I chose crowds.

The 10 images which I have selected are taken from Crowds in Dubai Mall in Landscape format. These images show different viewpoints and different lens techniques and hopefully convey the dynamics of a crowd, the chaos and the claustrophobia.

Aquarium Onlookers

Aquarium Onlookers. Camera settings- Aperture priority, F3.5, 1/40sec, fl 18mm, ISO 2500

In Dubai Mall there is a giant fish tank, this attraction is a favourite with tourists, a guaranteed crowded area.  I used my 18-55mm lens to get a wide angle, so I could fit the crowd on the balcony.

I was not allowed to use my tripod anywhere in the mall; I did try but the security said  it was too busy. This affected my shutter speed and ISO settings as the lighting in the mall isn’t that great.

Unable to use my tripod I had to position myself on the balcony and this worked out as I could incorporate the line of crowd and the curved line of the lower balcony. I cropped this image slightly to increase the effect of the density of the crowd.

Elements I chose to include in this image were the reflection of the people on the balcony glass this adds to the density of the crowd. Also the contrast of the people on the barrier line and the empty space for paying visitors is eye-catching.

For this shot I actually waited until the Emirati family came through on the paying side of the barrier for cultural significance.

Aquarium Zoom

Aquarium Zoom. Camera settings- Manual, F22, f55-250mm, 1 sec, ISO 3200

This was a bit of fun and pushing the boundaries. In my research for ‘Crowds’ there was reference to zoom burst camera technique, which I was eager to try. From what I read on ‘Zoom Bursting’ it is a camera technique that involves focusing on a point then changing the focal length( zooming in/out) within the shutter speed time.

I had planned to use this technique at the Dubai Ice rink by focusing on the skaters but when I noticed the glow from all the electronic screens from people taking pictures of the fish tank I thought I would try it at this location.  My aim was to select a group of tourists that were still and holding their screens out. Focus on a point then zoom in/out to get the light trail effect of the glowing screens.

I made several attempts ( see contact sheet) I chose this shot because it has a burst of colour from a sequined sari and it was one of the sharpest images.

Abaya Rush

Abaya Rush. Camera settings- Manual, F22,fl 18mm,2sec, ISO 1000

In this shot my intention is to show the chaos of the crowd coming into the Mall

A slow shutter speed of 2 seconds was used so that the people walking directly in front of the camera disappeared.

Initially the low viewpoint was for images of shoppers feet but as I got comfortable sitting on the floor I started altering my settings. I selected this image because of its symmetry , the escalators balance out the strong line of the black tiles. These bring your view in towards the free flowing shoppers and the blackness of the Abaya.

Crowded Escalators

Crowded Escalators. Camera settings- Aperture Priority, F4, fl 28mm, 1/30sec, ISO 3200

In this Image my focus was on the lower escalator as it had the most people on it. I took a high viewpoint on an upper balcony escalator and looked down whilst travelling I waited for more people to file onto the escalator.

I used a wide aperture to flatten the pictorial space like the exercises in Part 1 of the coursework.

Full Crowd

Full Crowd. Camera settings-Aperture priority, F5, fl 55mm, 1/50sec, ISO 3200

In this shot I had to use my lowest Fstop, so that my shutter speed would increase. I wanted to focus on the white of the Emiratis Dish-Dash as this was the one element that stood out in front of me against the sea of heads.

I didn’t have time to move round and take an image from the side before my white focal point moved away from me. I was stuck ,literally. The crowd started moving again when the fountain lights started flashing indicating the beginning of the show.  My intention with this image is to convey a sense of claustrophobia.

Flag Waving

Flag Waving. Camera settings- Aperture priority, F5,fl131mm, 1/250sec, ISO 1000

This image was taken in landscape format but I cropped it slightly to remove an unsightly blurred head which happened a lot when I was taking photos of the crowds by the fountains. The original is in the contact sheets. There was a troupe of Emirati dancers doing a traditional dance just in front of these guy. I wandered over with my camera and stuck out like a sore thumb which made them all look over at me.

The reason why I am including this image in my selection is if you look at this crowd of flag wavers most of them are looking over at me apart from one, that one guy is looking up at the U.A.E flag. I don’t know what the guy is thinking about looking up at his flag but this image made me think about National Day in the U.A.E and how all theses different nationalities come together and party.

Feet Spectators

Feet Spectators. Camera settings- Aperture Priority, F5.6, fl 55mm, 1/15sec, ISO 3200

The Fountain show was about to start and everyone was finding a vantage point. My plan was to take some shots of the fountains with the crowds on the other side but all the good spots had gone and I was left standing.

That was when I noticed a curve pattern with the spectators feet as they were sat waiting.

I followed the line round until there was a break in the pattern. The focus is on the standing persons shoes. The image is cropped as there was a child’s buggy in the bottom left corner that was a distraction in the pattern.

Screen Spectators

Screen Spectators. Camera settings- Averture priority, F4, fl25mm, 1/40sec, ISO 1600

This image I composed carefully in a short time frame, the fountain show is about 5mins long. In that time I walked along the spectators trying to find a group along the barrier which had all their electronic devices out. this group, by the railings were four deep with people watching there screens and not the actual fountains.

Reflective crowd

Reflective Crowd. Camera setting- Aperture priority, F3.5, fl18mm,1/25 sec, ISO 3200

Walking back to the Metro Station slowly I noticed the reflection between walkways. In my research I had came across images of crowds in reflections. (   I like reflections they give an abstract feel to an image and make you think about what you are seeing within the frame.

in this shot I perched myself at the corner of the perpendicular walkway, where you could see through the window to another walkway. This meant I was able to capture the people on both walkways, a mass of chaos. I wanted to crop off my reflection and the bus on the street below but then I thought that my inclusion will remind people that it is just a reflection.

U.A.E flag girl

U.A.E flag girl. Camera settings- Aperture priority, F3.5, fl18mm, 1/40sec, ISO1000

This image was one of the last images I took, I was on the walkway back to the Metro Station which were pretty crowded. I tried to use my tripod again but it became a tripping hazard for other commuters walking down the middle so I packed it away.

My intention for this shot was to show the implied speed at which the commuters were whizzing past me. Fortunately for me a young Emirati girl came running up to me and stood directly next to me . I quickly took a few steps back and took a shot mid- viewpoint to stabiles the camera. You can’t see her face; I wanted her to be anonymous but still eye-catching.


My series of images of a very crowded Dubai Mall works well, it shows all aspects of the crowds. My particular favourite image is the Camera spectators. I see this all the time at tourist spots around Dubai. People watching their iPhone screens instead of watching what is happening around them.  My weakest image in my opinion is ‘Full crowd’ , my movement was restricted and I don’t like the bridge being above the focus point.

What worked well

My research skill worked well considering I haven’t studied for nearly 20years. I have impressed myself with how much information I can acquire and retain. I enjoyed researching the different photographers and different camera techniques which covered my subjects. This research helped with my long exposure shots and helped me gain confidence to try new techniques to push my boundaries.

What didn’t work so well

Not being able to use my tripod hindered me a lot and affected my settings. I also left my ISO on Auto from a previous photowal. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed some of my images had noise in them. My time management hasn’t been the greatest for this assignment. I changed the deadline twice because I felt my previous images weren’t crowded enough, this was the right decision in the end as National Day at Dubai Mall was very crowded.

Improvements for the future

In the future I could improve this series of images by getting a better vantage point when taking shots of the crowds by the Fountains. Investing in a photography permit which would allow me to use a tripod anywhere might have to be an option in the future if I am to be continuing my studies.

Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

My images show that I have visual awareness and good design and compositional skills as taught in Part 1 of the coursework

Quality of outcome  

In my series of images I have explained my thought processes to the best of my ability behind each image I have taken and I have presented my work in a coherent manner with the minimum spelling errors.

Demonstration of creativity

I have experimented with new camera techniques and developed my own personal interpretation of my images.


I have researched my subject avidly  and I’ m naturally critical thinking if not strong willed.

Link to my contact sheet.

Final Contact sheet Assignment 2

 Contact sheet


2 thoughts on “Assignment 2 Crowds

  1. Love them! My favourite is the feet spectators. Love the aerial escalator shot, too and the Screen spectators shots.

    Go ginny!


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