Saturday, September 23, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 7, 1445 H
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Embarking on an enchanting journey through Oman’s wild wonders


By Siham Al Saidi

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Freelance photographers hold the power to capture the essence of life through their lenses. They are the modern-day storytellers, armed with a camera and fuelled by boundless creativity.

With an artistic vision that knows no limits, these unsung heroes freeze moments in time, allowing us to relive emotions, experience cultures, and discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Embarking on an enchanting journey through Oman’s wild wonders, Rashid al Maqbali emerges as a true master of wildlife photography. His captivating images showcase the country’s diverse and extraordinary creatures in a way that’s both creative and awe-inspiring.

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Each photo reveals a world filled with unique and fascinating animals, gracefully captured in their natural habitat. Rashid’s deep knowledge of wildlife brings an authentic touch to his stunning portraits.

What makes this remarkable freelancer unique from others is his ability to capture rare birds and animals, which attracted environmental and tourism authorities to his work. Not only that, by sharing his photos on Instagram, he also managed to capture the interest of popular publications like National Geographic magazine.

He shared, “One of my achievements that made me feel proud was getting some of my photos featured on professional international pages on social media like National Geographic. It was a photo of an “Indian shikraq,” who was holding tightly a small reptile with his coloured long beak.”

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He added, “I have also captured images of rare species of animals and birds that attract attention in Oman. For example, I photographed a Gordon cat, which is considered a rare breed. This documentation helped draw the attention of certain government entities concerned with the environment. Additionally, I captured sightings of rare bird species in Oman, such as the Egyptian goose and some birds of prey.”

Wildlife photography is known to be a bit expensive because it requires certain cameras, lenses, and other equipment compared to other types of photography in general.

Rashid said that this is an investment on his part, and he has to be creative as to how he can get the funds to pursue his passion professionally.

Some people would wonder how Rashid can find such gorgeous and incredible birds and animals. It can be challenging for the average person to easily find such a variety and quantity of birds and animals. But as a wildlife photographer, he builds a constant connection with nature and spends a considerable amount of time exploring the wilderness and natural habitats of animals and birds.

Moreover, he relies on his knowledge and experience in tracking and monitoring specific species and identifying their potential times and locations of presence. He sometimes relies on local sources of information and contributions from the local community to gather valuable insights about wildlife locations.

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Thus, he was clever enough to involve locals too into the journey of tracking such animals and birds which shows the cooperation ethics shown to showcase Omani environments with its beautiful species. The significance of supporting Rashid in his journey was a demand that reflects citizens’ loyalty to the deserts and mountains.

Capturing animals and birds requires patience, focus, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions and pre-prepare for potential situations. Motion-sensing devices and local information sources can also be utilised to aid in identifying and documenting wildlife. Despite the difficulty in finding some rare and elusive species, the great joy lies in facing these challenges and achieving success in capturing these beautiful and unique creatures.

Al Maqbali faced difficulties and challenges in his journey. Some animals and birds may be rare or live in remote and hard-to-reach areas. It takes sometimes days to find them and locate their proper habitats. Additionally, natural environments can be tough and harsh, such as mountainous regions or deserts, and photographers must deal with harsh weather conditions and challenging terrains while ensuring their safety and the safety of their equipment.


When asked about interesting and breathtaking moments while capturing such scenes, he replied, “Sometimes, I have to spend a full day, two, or even more, in a specific area to capture unique photos. And sometimes, I revisit the same location multiple times to succeed in obtaining publishable and attention-grabbing images.”

Al Maqbali shared that being a nature photographer also pushes one down a dangerous road, especially since some species of animals can be very vicious. He said proper knowledge about the subject is important, and it is also necessary to know exit strategies when dealing with wild creatures.

Al Maqbali suggested having a mutual collaboration between photographers and environmental authorities in general. Annual exhibitions could be organised for photographers, and they could be provided with some financial support to encourage their continuity and excellence. Adding to that, he wishes to find financial and moral support for freelance wildlife photographers since the outcome of this work ultimately serves the interests of Oman and showcases its wildlife to the world.

He advises those interested in starting wildlife photography to explore and learn more about nature. Before diving into photography, visit different natural areas and learn about the wildlife and organisms living there. Understand the environmental aspects and get familiar with various species.

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