Photographer Rafael "RC" Concepcion has his head in the clouds, and he’d have it no other way.
RC, who recently used the D850 to capture stunning shots of Dubai, explains: “I wanted to capture a city that’s in an incredible state of transformation. I travel to Dubai often and am always amazed to the mix of cultures you find in this area.”
Specifically, he captured shots of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper and surrounding cityscape—one at nighttime, and one during the day when fog had enveloped the city—leaving the majestic buildings breaking through the clouds.
To accomplish this, not only did RC have to wait for the fog to roll in, but also had to find the right building rooftop—about 90 stories up—to get these shots.
However, this is nothing new for RC, who says he’s always been fascinated by the idea of observing cities from a high vantage point.
“As a kid in New York City I always wondered what it would look like from a ‘Batman’ point of view. That wonder never left and evolved into what I shoot today,” he says.
So, Dubai, with its impressive architecture was perfect subject matter.
“Dubai is a city that takes the skyscraper landscape and pushes it to the extreme. For me to be able to see it from that height made me fall in love with it even more.”
RC has definitely taken his photography to great heights.
“There’s a certain sense of romance at this height with cityscapes. At this vantage point, everything has the right amount of quiet and the scene [becomes more] painterly,” he describes.
For the daytime shot, he also had to make sure that the conditions were right.
“The fog appears when there is the right amount of pressure, moisture, and temperature changes and usually occurs during the change of seasons. Then, it’s all about the fluctuation in the temperature—and a little luck,” he says.
He explains: “You can wait for several days and not get the fog. After more than a dozen tries, we were finally able to make the shot.”
He concludes: “The biggest consideration with these pictures is how fleeting the moment can be. Once the fog rolls in, you don’t have much time. The Burj Khalifa is twice the size of the Empire State Building. It’s an amazing piece of engineering and yet in the vastness of the city, it can feel very tranquil.”
RC’s photography philosophy is simple: Go big.
And he used the D850 to do just that with these shots.
“I’m a big fan of trying to make images really large. I feel like there’s something to be said about falling into a giant print of an image,” he says.
Therefore, he credits how the D850 captures as much detail as possible.
“You really can’t beat the D850. With the amount of megapixels the camera is pushing as well as the sharpness of these [NIKKOR] lenses, you can get all of the detail you want,” he says.
“Photography lets me explore a ton of artistic avenues. Sometimes I use the camera to bear witness and the images stick to what I see behind the lens. Other times I document a story. And sometimes I just want to tap into the kid in me and capture that sense of play and wonder. These kinds of projects let me do that,” he says.
This work has paid off as RC has accepted a teaching position at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
He’ll be helping students share their stories from a journalistic point of view, as well as focusing on new projects, which may take him to Mexico and Cuba.
He concludes: “Don’t worry, I’ll still be keeping my head looking up waiting for the next rooftop to shoot from!”