Whether it is clouds overcasting the horizon with sunrays glistering over the land, or to capture the glow of lights in Macau that parade themselves from dusk till dawn, Allan’s inspiration comes from this ambience of colour these areas compel. His photography is more of a spiritual exercise on display. His love of vivid colours represents feelings of joy and happiness, much of which he says has allowed him a sense of empowerment while exploring the realms of photography.
“I love to photograph the landscape. I am always fascinated with the unpredictable effect of the elements of nature in the subject, like the movement of the clouds in the sky, the stillness or waves of the water in a lake or sea, the low tide and high tide, the frequent changing shapes and colours of sand dunes and many more.”
Escarpment, Sunset Shot in Ras Abrouq Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 1/25 second, f/14, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Rugged, Sunrise Shot in Ras Abrouq Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 2 seconds, f/13, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
From walking up peaks early in the morning, to traveling by foot to capture almost unobtainable landscapes, Allan Salas manages to apprehend bird-eye views from the ground up. The frequency of changing elements in nature has always pushed Allan forward, nourishing his curiosities. His profession has taken him to interesting places in China, Singapore, UAE and the United States. For the sake of photography, he bought a 4x4 SUV to help him reach remote deserted places in Qatar, thus helping him discover the lengths and widths of his capabilities.
Gradient, Sunset Shot, Singing Sand Dunes Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 1/250 second, f/5.6, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Peace and Equanimity, Sunset Shot, Zekreet Beach Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 1/10 second, f/14, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Encompass, Sunset Shot, Singing Sand Dunes Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 4 seconds, f/10, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Solid Ground, Sunset Shot, Singing Sand Dunes Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 8 seconds, f/10, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Middle Point, Sunset Shot, Singing Sand Dunes Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 200, 15 seconds, f/10, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Allan’s first DSLR was a Nikon D50 with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II, and with it taught himself to shoot night and long exposure photography. “I am stimulated and inspired by the exquisiteness of the transition of light during the day in contrast to its surrounding. I feel I am plunged in a profound exhilaration witnessing beauty in a small window of time and somehow try to freeze some of it.”
With its hidden qualities, dotted with gypsum plateaus, desert and rock carvings, some of the most interesting places to visit in Qatar is Ras Abrouq and the “Singing Sand Dunes”. Its natural rock formation and sand animate the area, creating a humble exterior to Allan’s photos. His most memorable moment in Qatar was while he was walking along the beach in Ras Abrouq.
“I noticed a formation of greyish silts on the shoreline with rhythmic patterns, I rushed to climb the plateau to take a shot in the elevated position. When I reached the top, I witnessed a very impressive scene. The parallel and intersecting curving lines of the foreground facing the sky, greyish silt formations and sunlight contrasting the landscape, it was astonishing.”
As a landscape photographer, Allan often uses maps to mark interesting places to take images of then explores the area to find impeccable compositions to shoot his subjects. Weather, he says, is a major factor to take into account in the Middle East. In Qatar, temperatures can soar up to 50 C, making it extremely difficult to handle equipment. However, it seems it is all worth it when the right components come together. “My favourite image is ‘The Isle of Brouq’. When elements like patterns, textures, lines, colours and light are summoned in a frame, it results in a stunning landscape photograph.”
The Isle of Brouq, Sunrise Shot in Ras Abrouq Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 1/30 second, f/10, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Fringed by Rocks, Sunset Shot in Ras Abrouq Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 400, 5 seconds, f/14, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
25°38'31.5"N 50°50'55, Sunrise Shot, Ras Abrouq Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 1/40 second, f/10, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Cliffs, Carvings and Islands, Sunrise Shot, Ras Abrouq Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 1/30 second, f/10, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
Sand Bowl, Sunset Shot, Singing Sand Dunes Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 50, 1/6 second, f/10, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
The Crack of Dawn, Zekreet Qatar - NIKON Df, ISO 200, 15 seconds, f/13, AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D lens
While many factors are essential to taking a great photograph, gear is as important when wanting to elevate an image. To enhance his landscape photography, Allan never leaves without his Nikon Df Body, AF Fisheye-NIKKOR 16mm f/2.8D, AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED and AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lenses. He also uses a tripod and filters to get ideal compositions.
His favourite is clearly his fisheye lens, small and compact, it is easy to carry when attached to the Nikon Df. He chooses this above all others for its capabilities to capture wider landscapes, but he is always wary of angling his shots as it can be easy to distort an image.
While traveling to unfamiliar land might be daunting, Allan has learned to convey his technique, as well as emotions and experiences into his work. Both his kit and his keen eye empower his every move, his ability has turned rock formations into silhouettes and horizons into filtered imagery. As he travels and continues to shoot, we hope to see more of Allan Salas empowering, creative skills.
Originally from the Philippines, Allan is a commissioning officer currently residing in Doha, Qatar. While away on work in Macau, China, he discovered photography as a means to overcome his homesickness. A self- taught photographer, he also does freelance work for Macau Magazine.