While the study of quotidian practices and daily experiences is now fully appreciated in western urbanism, it is still at an embryonic stage in the emerging new cities of the Middle East. This paper presents an ongoing research project of social-behavioral mapping of Abu Dhabi’s public spaces and its correlation with the existing urban morphology, in an attempt to shed empirical light and update the local public space design guidelines. Photography is one of the observation tools used. However, due to sociocultural conditions, special techniques had to be used. Timelapse, high-contrasted, undirected street photography was key to visualize both formal and informal activities in the realm of the private.