15 epic drone shots that capture the UAE's natural beauty from above

The footage by a Dubai photographer spans Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Dubai, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain

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Ask anyone around the world what they know about the UAE and it's likely that people will talk about the sky-high buildings, luxury hotels and love of the finer things in life.

One photographer in Dubai is trying to change that perception by travelling around the country capturing stunning shots of the Emirates' natural resources.

Florian Kriechbaumer has been a photographer for 15 years. After first moving to Dubai from Germany in 2007, he got his hands on his first drone around eight years ago.

The Dubai resident decided to shoot a series capturing the country's untouched landscapes "because I believe the natural beauty of the UAE is often undervalued among residents, as well as tourists and the media covering the country."

"While we all appreciate the amazing cityscapes we have the pleasure to live in, I personally find the variety of landscapes that you can explore in a radius of less than 100 kilometres is equally astonishing."

Desert-dusted Dubai roads and craggy Sharjah wadis

Untouched dunes in Sharjah's Suwaydan Desert. Courtesy Florian Kriechbaumer
Untouched dunes in Sharjah's Suwaydan Desert. Courtesy Florian Kriechbaumer

And astonishing is the right word.

The photographs capture a new perspective of landscapes across almost every emirate including Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Abu Dhabi.

From Ramhan Island in the capital to Al Zowair in Umm Al Quwain or Wadis Shis in Sharjah, the bright colours, shapes and textures of the aerial photography could almost be a series of abstract paintings.

In Abu Dhabi, drone footage from Saadiyat Island captures the impressive magnitude of the ocean. A shot from Umm Al Quwain showcases the intricate natural network between mangroves, shoreline and sea in the emirate's wetlands. The abandoned village of Al Madam in Sharjah is also seen from a new perspective, its grain-covered buildings being swallowed by the sands of time. Another image of Dubai's Al Awir beautifully captures a landscape transformed by human intervention.

Drone photography in the UAE

Budding photographers inspired by Kriechbaumer's series who want to get out there and shoot shouldn't find it too difficult to get started.

"The UAE has put in place very clear and easy to follow rules for drone photography, with an online registration process on the DCAA and GCAA websites, and in the case of Dubai, a training course requirement," he explains.

He recommends tools such as Google Maps and the UAE's My Drone Hub app to explore and plan potentially interesting compositions, and identify where footage can be best captured without violating any rules.

One thing that Kriechbaumer takes seriously is the need for photographers, and others, to be considerate of the natural environment.

"Too many times I have seen rubbish left around these amazing places, damage to flora, and impact on local fauna, which is truly saddening."

For that reason, he doesn't typically publicise the location where he shoots. Now that he's revealed some of these details in this story, he is asking fellow photographers to follow a simple request.

"My humble request is that anyone visiting these places makes an effort to maintain them, so they remain as stunning as they are now."