What drones saw

More than a photography exhibition this gallery at the Salalah Tourism Festival (STF) is a virtual museum of some rare scenes taken by drones which is aptly named as ‘Oman from Sky’. The pictures are so panoramic that every visitor is compelled to take a long pause at one picture before moving to another. In the process he completely forgets how much time he has spent in the gallery.

The exhibits of the gallery are photographed and directed by former minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Suwaidan al Balushi, reflecting his passion for photography and documenting the comprehensive development process that the Sultanate has gone through. They also highlight the Sultanate’s aesthetic features that reflect its pristine nature and the country’s treasures.
In an interview with the Observer, Al Balushi said about his passion for colours and photography. “I would always think about colours. I would watch the birds flying and imagine how they would have been travelling from one continent to another. I wanted to capture them either through paintings or in a camera. My resources then were limited…but I do remember that I started collecting paintings at a very early age.”
Going down the memory lane, Al Balushi remembers that the first picture of him was taken when he was six years old and the first click of his own was sometime in 1970. “I was very excited to see my own picture. First camera I owned when I was 17. It was 8mm camera in 1970 with which I started my photography journey, which is still going on.”
From 1984 to 2000 Al Balushi was the minister of telecommunications. He did not have much time to pursue his hobbies but kept on collecting paintings. After retirement he managed to do his first book Treasure of Oman with the collected paintings.
He kept on pursuing his hobbies in telecommunication, wrote another book and in the third book Oman from Sky has Al Balushi’s best pictures taken by drones.
Elated with the success and response he is planning to do a film which can take part in international film festivals.
Most of his photographs have special effect. One of them looks like a bright Omani watching the sea, while a piece of rock looks like a ship. Another gives strong resemblance of a lion, while yet another is a herd of camels looking like map of Oman or national symbol ‘Khanjar’. There are many and they need a book for proper explanation.
“All the pictures are marvellous, technically correct and something to be treasured. We do photography but could not imagine that the photographs can be so good… with so much of fine details, captivating and really mesmerising,” said visitor Bosko Gajic, event manager and a resident of Serbia.
“There is no good, better or best here. All of them are excellent pieces of work. They are collectors’ items and it is good that the photographer has compiled a book. I strongly recommend Oman from Sky as a true representative picture book on Oman,” said Bosko.
The exhibition, which highlights the long journey recorded by the camera lenses across various governorates of the Sultanate, is a worth visiting corner in the Salalah Tourism Festival.

I would always think about colours. I would watch the birds flying and imagine how they would have been travelling from one continent to another. I wanted to capture them either through paintings or in a camera, says
Shaikh Ahmed bin Suwaidan al Balushi, photographer and former minister

There is no good, better or best here. All of them are excellent pieces of work. They are collectors’ items and it is good that the photographer has compiled a book. I strongly recommend Oman from Sky as a true representative picture book on Oman
– BOSCO GAJIC  -Event manager