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Now & Then - The Emirates

Reputed aerial photographer, Captain John J. Nowell LRPS gives us a first-hand account of the amazing amount of preparation that went into the photograph that made the headlines.

"When I first took the idea of my book project "Now & Then - The Emirates" to my old publisher, it was considered by he and his staff to be "unworkable". Indeed, it was extremely difficult, not only to locate the old photographs which were scattered around the world in a variety of archives, but also to find and photograph the same location from the same angle.

The research into finding the old photographs took three years with a further six months to complete the modern photographs.

Obviously, such effort needed a special cover. I had been corresponding with the Red Arrows for six months prior to their appearance at the Dubai Air Show in November, 1997. My plan was to photograph the Red Arrows before the Air Show, both in Dubai at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and in Abu Dhabi. Many agencies were involved in the preparation of the shots.

When I met the Red Arrows on their arrival in Dubai, I was told that they would do the flypast but, because of fuel, only one pass would be possible.

The stunning cover photograph is a preview
to an equally stunning collection of rare
photographs presented in unique historical
Now & Then: The Emirates is the ideal gift
for the festive season. Order your copy now.

Before the Air Show, each participant has to fly their standard display in front of an approval committee. On completion of their demonstration, the Red Arrows would fly directly to the coast, near the Hyatt Regency, turn left and head for the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The distance between the Beach Hotel and the new tower is more than 1000 feet, hence the Red Arrows were legally able to fly between the buildings by not being closer than the minimum 500 feet distance.

I had asked Simon Meade, the leader of the Red Arrows, to fly at exactly 500 feet and, by self positioning on the 13th floor of the tower, was able to look down and across to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. As I was hoping to put this shot on the cover of the book, I had asked 5 other photographers to join me on the tower, at various levels, to ensure that someone would get the right picture.

You can imagine that a jet formation flying at 400 kilometers passes by very quickly indeed, and as the appointed time drew near, a bucket came dangling down from the tower crane, right in the middle of the picture ! We were all obliged to move position in order to see round the cable and, of course, the Red Arrows arrived exactly on time, course speed and height.

One photographer was so amazed by the proximity and speed of the jets that he did not take any pictures at all !

However, I am relieved to tell you that my rusty geometry calculations of angles, distances and heights worked - with the classic picture being the result!

I am often asked if the picture is a computer enhanced montage. It is not. Two of the pilots wish it were! The two aircrafts at the bottom of the formation are slightly low and when I showed them the photograph later that day, there was a certain amount of leg-pulling!"

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Now & Then, The Emirates
(Presentation photography book on the UAE)
Price of Dhs. 135.00/each
Ideal Corporate Gift and Souvenir of the U.A.E.
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Includes Personalized Complimentary Sheet with Company Logo inside cover
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Abu Dhabi : Dubai :
International Business Services Zodiac Publishing
P.O.Box : 44907 P.O.Box : 33572
Abu Dhabi Dubai
Tel : +9712-261400 Tel : +050-454 0025
Fax : +9712-264154 Fax : +9714-533166
E-mail : intlbus@emirates.net.ae E-mail : jjnowell@emirates.net.ae

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