Behind The Scenes of the Project: Qatar Through A Crystal Ball

PearlFor the past one month, I have been working on a secret project with two other creative photographers, Najla of Najla Nabil Photography and Saleha of RetroSalz Studio.

L-R: Me, Najla and Saleha  – Photo credit RetroSalz Studio

And now I am super duper delighted that the secret is out with a BANG! We made it to the newspaper! The launch was published in The Peninsula Qatar News Paper yesterday, you can read it here.

ScreesnhotNewsHere is a little story behind it (because as my husband says, I won’t spare you without one! so here it goes! ). It all started with my fascination of seeing Refraction Photography (Crystal Orb photography) trending on some photography groups I follow. Basically, a glass orb placed in front of the lens acts as a fisheye lens to show a 180-degree view flipped image of the scene.

The moment I saw some images of the photos taken with the technique, I knew I wanted to give it a try but had to find an interesting theme or subject for it. So one late night, it just popped in my head that why not combine another project that I wanted to do for the love of my second home Qatar and Refraction Photography (Tadaaa! a light bulb moment!). Corniche 2Since I wanted to cover Qatar’s major landmarks in a short span of time and of course because it’s always fun to collaborate with like-minded creative souls, I got Najla and Saleha on board.

Now here is the interesting part, Where to find the Orb in Doha? Luckily, my sister was coming to visit us from the US on Dec 17  (a day before Qatar National Day- perfect timing!) and I saw the perfect opportunity and ordered 3 crystal orbs (for the three of us) from (my favourite) Amazon! Those were hand carried by my sister (on my strict orders), all the way from the US to Doha and then delivered to Najla in the airport parking lot! (The exchange reminded me of the exchange of ‘maal’ in old Amitabh smuggling movies! lol). The project was to be kicked off on the 18 Dec 2017 around the Qatar National Day festivities, hence all the drama (literally!)

Najla and Saleha took some pictures on Qatar National Day and finally, we announced our collaboration on social media.

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 1.46.10 AM
Photo credit – RetroSalz Studio

We announced the project and then faced a few minor challenges – one of us couldn’t see into the crystal orb without triggering her vertigo, one burned her hand while holding the orb in direct sunlight, and all three of us initially struggled with the focus but we tried different lenses, focal lengths and what not and didn’t (and wouldn’t let the other) give up!

We divided the list of spots we wanted to cover amongst the three of us and then split up. So in the last month, if you spotted a woman around Doha who looked half crazy, trying to focus through a glass orb at a weird angle – most likely it was one of us!QNL2The plan was to meet after a month and bring all the photos we captured, while we stayed in touch with our Whatsapp group (where basically I kept pestering the two!). I came into my Project Manager role after a looooong time and I know I was quite a painful one.. bugging them, motivating them with my photos and pushing them with last-minute deadlines! (they probably hated me, but frankly, I loved being in that role again! – the annoying PM)

Photo credit -RetroSalz Studio

We met after a month and did a fun photo shoot of the three of us for the press release! As you can see, we had some crazy fun!

Fits of laughter when we work together! Photo credit -RetroSalz Studio


Photo credit – RetroSalz Studio


For everyone asking, the blog post of the project with the complete album will be coming out on Qatar National Sports Day! (InshaAllah)

Till then, enjoy the first edition of pictures revealed (album below), you can see more on our social media pages or you can also follow our hashtag #QatarThroughACrystalBall 

Let us know what you think! We would love to hear from you!

Also, you can get in touch with me if you want us to cover anything specific.



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