Hidden in Darkness


Cities like Shanghai and Beijing are known for their pollution. While I’ve never been to either city, from family and friend’s accounts I have heard it is nightmarish, and at times, unbearable. Watching the Beijing Olympics a few years back I was astounded. Not of the haze that lingered about the sky – that was expected – but of the transformation that seemed to happen as twilight crept over the hills and the night sky took a hold of the day. The phantom grey arms of pollution that covered that Chinese metropolis gave way to a glimmering skyline of dazzling lights and beautiful scenery.

Abu Dhabi, though not as polluted as many cities mainly due to it’s noveau nature, still has a foggy shroud that pervades the city’s view during the day. I have the luxury of an apartment on the 25th floor in a pristine area of the island. I also have a breathtaking and blessed view that I awake to every morning. Still, many days I can barely see halfway across town due to the sand and humidity and other such natural causes. But boy oh boy, when night falls? Wow!

This city, much like Beijing, becomes the true desert oasis in which it gets its name. The rays go down, the lights come up, and – BAM! – all of a sudden it is as though I have been transported through space and time. Maybe that’s why so many things that seem beautiful and immaculate in the dark hours are revealed to be less than so when dawn breaks. We enjoy the bright lights in the shadows because it masks the smoky nature that is all too apparent in the light. But this does not, nor should it, stop us from appreciating such a change.

I took the following photos from one of the tallest towers in Abu Dhabi, Burj al Marina, and the timing just so happened to be opportune enough for me to capture the transition from mist to marvel. The spectacular views that we enjoy when the sun sets should not be taken casually, and I’ve certainly learned to enjoy both settings. I relish the illuminated indulgences of the day and I appreciate the marvelous makeover that dark skies fashion. With each sunrise and sunset I become more and more mesmerized, whether it is a Middle Eastern desert, the green hills of Pennsylvania, or anywhere else in between.


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