Photographers in the midst of Cyclone Mekunu

More sports Saturday 23/June/2018 19:20 PM
By: Times News Service
Photographers in the midst of Cyclone Mekunu

During Cyclone Mekunu, thousands of photos had been distributed in the media and across social media networks. Times of Oman met two photographers from Dhofar governorate — Anas Al Deeb and Mohammed Al Barami — who took beautiful pictures of the tropical storm and showed the other side of danger; they showed the beauty of Oman, its greenery and the unity among the authorities and the public to help those affected.
“The presence of photographers conveying the real picture during the cyclone helped reassure people about the situation and how serious it was,” the photographers said.
“Photographers played a big role during the tropical storm by shooting the real picture of the cyclone because unfortunately there were many unreal images that were being spread across social media, including of other tropical storms, which were causing panic among the people,” Anas said.
“The cyclone was an exceptional case affecting the Sultanate; this opportunity encouraged us to document the situation in all its stages,” Mohammed, a nature photographer, said.
Mohammed said: “During the cyclone, we used to portray real images, document what the lens took, and share facts from the ground with our audience. After the situation, we continued publishing aesthetic images of Dhofar after the tropical storm, such as the waterfalls, the beauty and the greenness of the land.
Safety first
Any cyclone always presents a difficult situation for photography that can endanger a photographer’s life. Anas and Mohammed describe the safety measures they took to ensure their safety while capturing the situation during the tropical storm.
“Thank God, we were not exposed to any danger; before heading out to document the situation, we ensured we dressed in the proper attire and had vehicles ready. This was done to avoid endangering our lives and the lives of others,” said Mohammed.
“Lives are more important than pictures,” said Anas. “Before starting our photography trip, I read up about the nature of the case, followed-up on weather conditions and official guidelines and warnings to determine the appropriate times to leave home.”
“I also carried the right equipment for the event, including waterproof and long-range lenses to take pictures of distant places that I would not be able to access because of the flood,” Anas added.
Difficult situations

Anas has documented different situations, including other tropical storms, sometimes alone or with the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance forces to photograph the rescue operations and reassure people that the situation is under control. “I encountered some difficult situations during my coverage of the tropical storm. Sometimes, we were photographing a certain area and suddenly the valley descended, so we were detained in the area and could not go back for a while until the wind calmed down,” Anas explained.
He added: “As I am used to drones to take aerial photographs, I was having trouble getting the right pictures because of the wind speed.”
The beauty of Mekunu

Mekunu was a difficult and dangerous event, but it highlighted so much beauty in our country. The first is how we were so prepared for the situation and the great cohesion between the various parties in the Sultanate, whether military, civil or voluntary, which helped minimise the damage and restore Dhofar to its natural state quickly.
Anas said: “I was trying as far as possible to portray events in their reality, away from rumours, and the efforts of various parties to deal with the situation, whether military, civil or voluntary, to show the national unity.”
“I have taken many photos during my photography career spanning across years, but the latest images of the cyclone and the special images of the waterfalls of Darbat and Ittin have been widespread across social media,” Mohammed said, adding, “Also, the photo of my friend Hadi Khashram was circulated; he took a picture of me on the second day of the cyclone, when I was walking towards the wall of Darbat falls.”
“The subject has now shifted from the danger of the cyclone to the grace of God shown on Oman and a lot of waterfalls that have sprung up in different areas of Dhofar Governorate, some of them making an appearance for the first time in years,” Anas said.