Al Qudra Renowned wildlife photographer Hermis Haridas, based in the UAE, has clinched the General Category (color) award at the HIPA awards ceremony held at the Dubai Opera on November 16. The winning photograph, titled ‘Dawn’s Whispers: Graceful Hoopoe Silhouette at Sunrise,’ features a native hoopoe bird captured in Al Qudra, standing out among nearly 80,000 entries from 96 countries.
From Programmer to Prominent Photographer
Haridas, who transitioned from a programmer to a photographer, embarked on an African wildlife expedition after receiving the accolade. His journey in wildlife photography spans 14 years, with a particular focus on birds in the UAE, notably those in Al Qudra. While he has achieved significant milestones, it was the captivating image of the hoopoe that garnered international acclaim.
A Million Clicks for a Defining Moment: Al Qudra
Asked about the path to this achievement, Haridas nonchalantly mentions clicking at least a million times. His success in wildlife photography, he emphasizes, results from understanding the subjects’ behavior and instincts, gained through prolonged observation and occasional research.
The Hoopoe: A Subject of Fascination
The winning photograph features a hoopoe with a worm in its beak, fulfilling Haridas’s long-standing fascination. The meticulous effort to capture the perfect shot involved repeated visits to Al Qudra, ensuring a composition that balanced light and dark elements to convey the dualities of existence.
Mastering the Art of Wildlife Photography
Haridas shares insights into mastering wildlife photography, emphasizing the importance of persistence and unwavering focus on the subject. The winning image reflects a composition that resonates with its symbolic representation of life’s dual aspects.
Beyond the Lens: Passion for Conservation
Beyond capturing captivating images, Haridas’s mission, manifested through his photography platforms, Paws Trails and Mara Trails, is to educate, inspire, and contribute to wildlife conservation. His larger goals extend to bridging the gap between people and nature, making his work an impactful contribution to global issues.
From Dubai to Masai Mara: A Profound Journey
Haridas has transformed his casual pastime into a profession that addresses global issues. He now owns a camp in Masai Mara, with half of the profits benefiting the local community. In Dubai, he gives back by conducting free photography workshops in Al Qudra for aspiring enthusiasts, a gesture inspired by the lessons he received from his mentor, Mohammed Arfan Asif.
In conclusion, Haridas’s journey is not just about capturing moments through the lens but also about the patience, resilience, and commitment that have defined his 14-year odyssey in the world of wildlife photography.