The Hasselblad X1D goes to Salalah by Alkaabi Abdulnasser

The Hasselblad X1D goes to Salalah

by Alkaabi Abdulnasser

Hi Steave, Readers,

This is my first article in your “my photography favorite” website. Writing it in the airplane going back home, I thought why not write one article since I’m almost a daily visitor to your site. Buying a camera is only the start of the story, people get caught up in the tools too much they forget to enjoy the process of taking photos. That may sound incoherent knowing that I’m using for my writing today a very expensive Hasselblad X1D Medium Format camera. I understand, but using the X1D is actually a trip back to the basics of photography; it’s a simple camera, not much, no fancy electronics, yet the image quality is all that matters for me.

However, I’m not interested to talk about tools today but rather about the place. Salalah, Oman, is one beautiful city to visit. Since I’m from the UAE I heard a lot about it all my life, yet never thought to visit it, that is until now. What a place for photography, knowing it’s only few hours flight from the capital Abu Dhabi. It’s a place full of all kind of people from all nationalities, in summer they all share the same reason of being there, coming with their families, to run away from the heat of the Arabian Gulf. In the Arabian Gulf the temperature reaches 50C, yet Salalah in summer is fresh 27C.

 OK, I think a little geography and history lesson will provide some good insight knowledge of the place. Salalah is a city in Oman, facing the African continent, and it was historically under the same ruling of Zanzibar on the other side of the Arabian sea and Indian Ocean. It is also a very historical city to the Abrahamic believes, which makes sense because it is on direct sea route to another historical city (Jerusalem). In Salalah there are a number of biblical and qur’anic prophet tombs claiming a reference to Prophet Job’s (Ayyub) and prophet Imran (the father of Mary, and the grandfather of Jesus) among others.

Salalah is not a big city by any means, but has a very nice sight scenes. With diversity; sand dunes and water falls, rivers and jungle, dry brown mountains and green ones, ruins and modern towns,  caves and farms, old traditional market (aka Souq) and modern malls, I think the pictures will do the talking. Among the famous places to see is Al Mughsayl Blowholes beach and I was in for a treat. The place was exotic, something you would see in James Bond movies. It is named after blowholes as seen in the in pictures. The water falls in Salalah is one of the many tourist attractions as well, the place was filled with tourists, everyone was trying to shoot his best memory picture. Come to Wadi (Valley) Darbat for a Boat ride on the river, or paddle your own and shoot your pictures of the exotic scenery. And while you are enjoying the trip and the lovely weather, don’t forget to try the barbecue and fruit cocktail that the many Indian merchants are selling nearby, so cheap you wouldn’t need to have a meal once you are back at the hotel.

I will leave you with the pictures, if you like my style of photography you can see my work at my Instagram account: abdualkaabi.


Your comments are appreciated.


  1. I love many of these pictures. All of them have great composition and interesting subjects. And I find the back story particularly interesting. My compliments to the photographer, who wasn’t too impressed by the expensive tool he was using, but simply followed his heart in how he thought these pictures should look.
    Who has the right to ‘set the rules’ of how a hassy X1D picture should look, anyhow? Realistic colors or not, exotic filter or not? Must all X1D pictures be ultra sharp, and boringly realistic in color and temperature? Perhaps the Hassy Moral Police should also punish those who dare to shoot pets – or worse, selfies – with the X1D? Come on, guys. Live and let live! Pick up one of your cameras, go out and start making some pictures!

  2. Don’t get me wrong, as a personal portfolio you could turn everything upside down and it would be fine, and its actually a good article in a blog,… problem starts when you attach a camera name to it and showcase it in a pro photography review blog. I had Nikon D810 before i get my X1D, when you go RAW on Nikon about 80% you have to color adjust, But I can promise you rarely need to touch color on X1D even in Auto white balance. It might be your monitor too. When the monitor is not calibrated people try to correct the colors which were originally correct. You can check that also. Cheers,

      • These are my last words my friend, the rest is up to you. Internet is the beauty and the beast. It can be our best teacher we have ever had and let me tell you; we like it or not, in any creative things we do, ” I like my work..” has no damn meaning in the world of internet. we have to expect critics come all over us any time. And, that’s the best thing could happen. Don’t look for praises, look for deepest, darkest and harshest critics. The harshest ones always have to come from us ourselves. Second, I didn’t care about yours or any camera; I was just searching for new works from X1D and it was you yourself used the name of your camera at the beginning of your title.
        Now, I am going to look for you future works my brother. Cheers,

        • I’m sorry Hooman if you miss understood me. Really thanks for your honest opinion, I was just sharing the same with you. colors, too much colors, little colors, or even black and white photography are all in shades, we all see things our own way. This maybe not your cup of tea, or maybe you were expecting different output from X1D. why then we can adjust white balance ? because you can change the color anyway you want, good or bad is subjective matter, I have my won way of photography, i shoot for fun, I love it. I know that what I do may please some but not all. I’m sure if you show your work it will be the same.
          Thanks again.

  3. you have got the X1D, why did you need to color grade like this???? …… please do not touch Photoshop, … if you are not careful you can simply kill it. This is not true sample images of Hasselblad X1D , PERIOD. If you want to show a sample picture of a camera like Hasselblad just put exact capture of the camera.

    • The camera is just a tool, I’m not showing off the camera or care about it match. Probably in couple of years I will get a different one. The picture last for life time. Don’t be so attached to a brand. If you don’t like the colors of my images I can respect that, but that doesn’t make them true or false. And these are true images because I spent 10 seconds on each on Lightroom. No photoshop was used.

  4. Thank you for the article. I loved the information on the location and the history. It makes me want to visit some day.
    I did click on one of the images to view it enlarged, the fourth from the last. Wow, the 3D on that is great. The boulder really pops out. The colour balance is a personal preference, depending on the story the artist is telling, hence I will not comment on that. Great work. Thanks.

  5. In some other I mentioned tthat I don’t like how colors come out from that camera. But in some other before that one the fact that digital sensors seem easily trend toward blue (cyan if you prefer).
    The photographs are nice, but cloudy days sky is grey not blue, water cascades are white, etc

    • Correcting for white balance should take care of the cyan.
      I have experienced this cyan shift with one of my cameras, but
      in a short time the problem can be gone. It’s rare that white balance
      is perfect right out of the camera. Even if the image looks “great” without
      white balance adjustments, it can be shocking how much better it
      can look when white balance is corrected. Discovering that what you
      thought was white, isn’t.

          • Sorry, typo
            “Yes, to be sure, I go to threshold and snag the whitest white and blackest black and examine.”

      • Hi thanks for your comments. I rarely depend on the camera white balance, all pictures have been processed (lightly) in Lightroom and white balance was adjusted to my liking. Let me just say in regards to the sky colors, in some of the pictures I use Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizing Filter which give a special tone to the sky that i like. I think maybe that’s why many wondering about the white balance being off. No fault of the camera.

  6. The colors and white balance in these shots is burning my brain… expensive new tech camera, yet no knowledge on adjusting the colors…?

    • Perhaps in his excitement to share (while posting from his airline seat?!) his story he’d not yet bothered to run them through Lightroom etc. And obviously it’s not intended as yet another pixel peeping diatribe about a particular camera.
      Thank goodness.

      • Perhaps Akaabi will be able to answer for himself.
        Radu’s question doesn’t go to the level of “pixel peeping”, but to the
        basics. It is mentioned in the narrative that the X1D took
        him back to the basics of photography.
        Nothing in the narrative mentions “posting from his airline seat”.

        • I’m going to throw in my two cents here. While I can see that the color interpretation is not neutral in these pictures, it definitely looks like the photographs have been processed. I would assume that this is a personal choice, and I find the choice of words “no knowledge on adjusting colors” presumptive and unfair. I appreciate the article and photos.

          • totally second your comment Bernd. And i would add that wanting a photo to be a absolute replica of ” reality ” is a disease 🙂

          • That’s right, I’m not a journalist, this is not a reportage. I shoot with my camera what I like and I show my work how I like. If people want photos they can google them and they will find plenty.

    • I can see your point, yes some pictures are too colorful. It’s a matter of taste at the end. And that’s why i shoot in raw so sometimes I would have 2 or 3 versions of the same picture with different settings.

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