My Journey to Photography
by Ihsan Eid Salhia

My Journey to Photography

About 18 years ago while I was studying back in New Jersey, I had managed to put enough money aside to purchase my first serious camera. It was a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P71. A full 3.2 megapixel camera and I felt like I was on top of the world. I’ve always owned a camera prior to that, but I felt like I was behind the times because I was loading film.

With excitement flowing through my body, I took my camera out to the mountains and began to shoot everything that caught my eye. The trees, the birds, the mountain view overlooking the town. Just everything that you would expect to capture from the top of a mountain. It was then that I started to develop a real love for landscape photography. Looking at life frame by frame in all its natural wonders had brought out something in me. A drive, a motivation, a passion for something that was hidden deep inside me.

I began to see, angles, leading lines and shapes all around me in everything I saw. Life seemed more beautiful after this point. It was as if I learned how to see again for the first time, or maybe how to view things in a more pleasing way. I’ve always understood that photographers enjoyed life more because they are trained to view things in a way that pleases them and the people around them. In fact it’s their job to show how beautiful their world is through their lens.

Whether it be a portrait photographer asking a youngboy to smile, a sports photographer capturing a winning goal or a landscape photographer overlooking a mountain as the sun beings to peak while waterfalls flow down the rocky side, each one captures a moment that brings joy, bliss and amazement to the lives of people.

But life has a way of taking its own course and pulling you in the direction that it wants you to take. So after graduating from school, I realized that my dream and passion had to take a back seat and my career in IT Networking needed to lead the way.

So I began to work for Corporate America. IBM, Big Blue is what they called them. I worked really hard at my career trying to climb all the way to the top. But I would pause and stare every time I see a photographer lining up for a shot. I would enter every electronic store that I would pass while walking through the malls to see what’s the latest cameras in the market at any given time. I would grab the camera on display and hold it tightly in my hands, point it at whatever is in front of me and gently press the shutter button, imagining every moment of capturing the image.

At that time, life has still not decided to give me a chance at what I was most passionate about. So I continued on to advancing my career to the point where I switched over to business and photography just seemed almost completely out of my life.

I got married and had three beautiful children and at this point, responsibility and parenting took over my life. Passions and dreams only existed in Hollywood and were not part of the reality that I lived in.

But again life has it’s ways. Technology began to change and advance at an incredible pace. Camera’s and Photography started to enter a new phase in history and shrunk down to the size of a finger nail to where they can be found in just about any type of small mobile device. So now carrying my mobile phone, meant I was carrying a camera at all times. This allowed me to capture images every time I saw something that was pleasing to the eye.

The passion and the dream began to surface and bobble around in my head, bugging and itching me just like it did when I was younger. I found myself looking at cameras and reexploring a world that I thought I had left behind. With the introduction of new social platforms and the explosion of Social Media, my priorities began to shift.

My family and theirwellbeing still came first, but I was determined to incorporate my love for Photography along with them by utilizing all these new advancements and enhancements in technology.

Now the time has come to up my game to another level. I purchased a Sony A6500. A 24.2 megapixel 4K powerhouse camera. I would go out for what I called Photo Missions almost daily. Sunrise Photo Missions and Sunset as well. I would go out and capture with a complete grin on my face every time.

I set out a one year goal to try and make this my life. What I looked over before and thought I had put away for good, was not going to happen this time around. I worked really hard trying to figure a way to leave my job and have the field of photography be a source to my livelihood, a way to feed my family and enjoy myself while doing it.

Today I am thankful and proud to say that I am doing just that. I am a full time Photographer pushing the limits with everything that technology has to offer me in this current day and age.

But the journey is long and the struggle is real and I just learned to live life frame by frame. My name is Ihsan Salhia and this is “My Journey to Photography”.


Standing Tall Together
I’ve always enjoyed framing out a cluster of skyscrapers in one single frame. To capture this image, I had to climb to the top of the tallest building in world, Burj Khalifa. It was just past sunrise with the sun on the opposite side giving me the proper lighting with a hint of fog in the area.
Spec: A7R3 and 70-200mm ISO 100 74mm SS 1/320Sec F8


Sun Burst over The Burj
Before heading out on my photo missions, I usually like to plan out my shot. So on this particular day, my goal was to catch the sun as it was rising and have it hit the tip of Burj Khalifa, creating a sun burst effect that would like more like a matchstick lighting the Arch over the Dubai Water Canal.
Spec: A7R3 16-35mm GM ISO 100 1/320sec F22 16mm


Streaking Clouds On Water
When I wanted to get away from the city, I would go towards the water banks and look for clouds, setup my tripods and filter kit, and begin to take long exposures.
Spec: A7R3 and 16-35mm GM 2.8ISO 100 16mm 282Sec F8


Night Life Closeup
This is one of my favorite images, because it is a long exposure closeup from about 200mm away from a roof top in DIFC to the front entrance of The Dubai Mall. It shows the high activity that happens on a very busy night in detail.
Spec: A7R3 and 70-200mm GM ISO 100 150mm 5Sec F10


Splitting the Sunrise
I scheduled an early morning workshops for a group of photographers in the area. But before they arrived I had rushed down to this area and aligned the sun between the two structures so capture a spectacular and memorable sunrise.
Spec: A7R3 and 70-200mm ISO 100 200mm 1/60Sec F8


Sunrise Above The Marina
On this particular day, I was set on capturing the sunrise by the Dubai Marina while flattening out the water using a 10 Stop filter. So I mapped out my shot and found the perfect location along with the perfect angle to capture the sun and the water all together.
Spec: A7R3 and Zeiss 18mm ISO 100 18mm15Sec F22


Flying Over The Sun
This was an early morning Sunrise Photo Mission where I tried to capture Birds along with a sunrise. I went to an area or park where birds where in the area, so I waited patiently as a small group made their way over the sun, and as soon as the past over, I hit the shutter button and caught this image.
Spec: A7R3 70-200mm GM ISO 100


Curves Around The Marina
The Dubai Marina is full of color. So I wanted to capture an image that was full of color and can really capture the buildings and curves around town. This turned out to be the perfect spot.
Spec: A7R3 and 16-35mm GM 2.8 ISO 100 35mm15Sec F8


The Sharpest Angle
Dubai has beautiful structures that stand out. But sometimes to really, to really capture the details of the tops of these skyscrapers, you need to climb taller and higher. So I climbed the highest point in the area to capture this image and it was worth it.
Spec: A7R3 and 70-200mm ISO 100 200mm SS 5Sec F8


The City from Above
Dubai has some the most beautiful structures and skyscrapers in the world and the best way to capture them is from the sky. So before heading out to capture images like this, I must first do my homework and see what rooftop or angle would give me the best perspective if the structure that I’m trying to capture.
Spec: A7R3 and 70-200mm ISO 100 200mm 10Sec F8

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