Photography | Deserts of Arabia + Taking Photos in a Moving Vehicle

It can be difficult to take photos of something too familiar to you. The wonder of seeing something new for the first time and finding interesting subjects in the view can take a long time.

Read: Things You’ll See In The Desert

Since I have been traveling from Jeddah to Yanbu for yers now. I’ve somehow lost that “first-time” amazement feeling. I’ve stopped taking photos because I knew they’ll all be the same brown light brown sand with rocks. 😂

Read: What Traveling In The Desert Looks Like

I took some shots while in the car anyway. Most of the photos here in Jeddah that I take were actually taken when the car is in motion. I applaud iphone for this stabilization feature. Even for their old phones, I would always get sharp photos even when in a moving vehicle.

Read: Old Jeddah to Yanbu photos

I tried that for Samsung before and it failed me big time. I lost some really good memories. I would have blurred photos and I couldn’t do anything about it. Maybe because it was an old model? I’m not sure, but for still photos, the latest model of Samsung phones were amazing.

I remember one time that I used a Lenovo S90 phone to capture an event. It was a disaster. The photos were not as sharp and it was just not good enough to be sent to my boss for publishing. It was good for outside and morning shots, but for indoors and night shots, it was giving grainy or blurry shots. From that time on, I stuck to iphones.

So, here are the photos from a moving vehicle. 😂

Sand hills covered in rocks. There are greens in the desert too.

It looks as if I stepped out of the car to take a photo of these, but I did not.

I was in a moving vehicle the whole time.

So crisp. It works well in the morning and afternoon when light is more than enough to take a photo. Dusk and night time will give you a lower quality. 😁

I’d love to paint that mountain. 😍 My photos don’t give justice to how magnificent these are in real life.

Yep, still in a moving vehicle. Look at this night time photo above. Soo cool, right? Look at that horizon, the play of colors. God is amazing. Sometimes, I just look at nature to get ideas for color combinations. 😁

How I take photos in a moving vehicle:


Look ahead

  • I usually sit at the back because kids and babies are not allowed in the front seat here in Jeddah so I try to sit with the kids at the back. While traveling, I try to look at the road and see if there’s something interesting coming up.
  • Get the camera ready

  • I open the phone camera and just position it/ my arm on the window. If you can find a place to rest your elbow, it would be better to have a more stable arm while shooting.
  • Start shooting

  • I press the shutter 1-2 seconds before the actual subject comes to frame. If I start snapping when the subject comes into frame I would not have a centered subject because it would appear as if I was late for 1-2 seconds in frame. So I press the shutter before the subject comes so that it would be centered once the phone actually snaps the photo. I hope you get it. I wish I could just make a video of it. Maybe soon. 😁
  • Do I use two hands to take the photo? Mostly, just one. Because the other one is usually on my kids. 😂 I feel I’ve somehow (almost) mastered this one-arm phone photography all these years because I don’t want to let some of the beautiful views left “uncaptured” while also making sure my kids are alive. 😂

    By this time, my kids are already part of my creative team because they look ahead and tell me to take a photo of some interesting things coming. So now, hey serve as my ‘lookout’ eyes. I want them to look at their surroundings when traveling instead of sinking deep in the seat or using gadgets. I don’t want them to miss out the flock of flying birds, the camels eating grass, or the men working on high buildings. I want them to be amazed at the world they live in. I want them to appreciate the beauty of everyday life. I want them to see the world around them and not be ‘contained’ in a screen or in a car.

    I let them read signages, hotel names, or store names as we pass by them. The kids are reminded of colors whenever they see the traffic lights. Red means stop, green means go, and yellow or orange means wait or get ready.

    There are so many things to learn in a moving vehicle. 😂 Photography is one great challenge but to keep kids busy in a moving vehicle is a far greater challenge. 😂

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