Minister Of Culture Opens ‘Saber’ Exhibition At Qatar Photog…


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA

Doha: Minister of Culture HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al-Thani inaugurated this evening a photo exhibition of Qatari photographer Mohammed Al Baker, at the headquarters of Qatar Photography Center in the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara).

With 50 wildlife photos on display, the ‘Saber’ exhibition showcases the beauty of a picturesque Qatari environment that attracts 300 species of resident and migratory birds, as well as rare birds of dazzling colors.

In statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Al Baker said that he was keen to choose the best pictures of the resident and migratory birds in the Qatari environment.

The wildlife photographer, who kickstarted his photography career in 2018, said he opted for bird photography in 2019, producing more than 150 pictures of migratory and resident birds in the Qatari environment with all its details and movements.

‘Wildlife photography is risky given the photographer’s exposure to life-threatening reptiles, but it is also entertaining because the photographer feels proud when taking aesthetic photos of birds in the Qatari environment,’ Al Baker said.


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Watch: Rare Comet Spotted Whizzing Across Dubai Sky


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)

Published: Wed 25 Jan 2023, 1:25 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 Jan 2023, 2:28 PM

A comet that is passing by the Earth for the first time in 50,000 years has been photographed by the Dubai Astronomy group. The once in a lifetime Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was captured at Al Thuraya Astronomy Center on January 20.

Captured between 4am and 6am, the dust tail and ionic tail are clearly seen in the images captured by the astronomy group.

Photo: Twitter

The group also captured a video of the comet’s movement across the sky:

UAE residents will get an opportunity to see the comet in the next few weeks. It is expected to pass closest to Earth on February 1, 2023, at a distance of around 26 million miles. It will be equally visible till the 5th of Feb.

According to the CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group Hasan Al Hariri, although comet brightness can be difficult to predict, the celestial body can be easily spotted using binoculars and small telescopes around January and early February.


Dubai Astronomy Group will host a special ticketed event on February 4, 2023, at the Al Qudra desert in Dubai from 6.30pm to 9.30pm that will spot deep sky objects like the comet, moon, Mars and Jupiter among others. The trip will also include astrophotography sessions, sky mapping and more.

Dubai residents can also spot the comet from their homes or open grounds using special equipment.“The best tools to observe the comet are binoculars,” said Hasan Al Hariri.“It has a wide-angle field of view of the sky so hunting down the comet becomes much easier than using a telescope because that has a narrow-angle field of view which makes it harder to locate the comet.”

The comet

Comets are icy bodies of frozen gases, rocks, and dust left over from the formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. But when they approach the sun and heat up, they become powerful cosmic objects, spewing gases and dust in a way that forms their iconic shape: a glowing core and flame-like tail that can stretch on for millions of miles.

Comets are named according to how and when they were originally observed. This particular comet’s name encodes such information:

● The letter C means the comet is not periodic (it will only pass through the Solar System once or may take more than 200 years to orbit the Sun);

● 2022 E3 indicates that the comet was spotted in early March 2022 and was the 3rd such object discovered in the same period;

● ZTF means the discovery was made using telescopes of the Zwicky Transient Facility.


  • watch: comet seen only once in 50,000 years spotted today in abu dhabi

  • comet seen once in 50,000 years to shoot past earth: here’s how stargazers can catch it this month


Astrophotography: Shooting The Night Sky


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) joelyn baluyut |
The Peninsula

Out there is another world, the black vastness of space bursting with colourful blobs of light, portraits of the planets, the moon, stars, nebulas, and galaxies – a different world, million miles away from where you are.

Astronomy is a broad field, a study of space and everything above us, and since the invention of photography, we seized the darkness of the night sky to capture astonishing, mind-blowing photos, we call it astrophotography.

The Peninsula sat down with one of the only four astrophotographers in the country – Ajith Everester, an Indian expat, at his rooftop observatory in Al Wukair, some 20km away from Doha. He’s been shooting the night sky since 2017.

“Since 2011, I used to photograph birds and animals, and one fine morning my daughter asked me for a telescope to see the planets, so when I saw the planets from the telescope, I asked why can’t we photograph it instead? And from there I started astrophotography.”

Everester started photographing Milky Way.“When you see something, you can also photograph it, this is the concept, so I thought of imaging the planets. I was using my Nikon D4 (SLR camera), then after that, the interest grew, and I wanted to master how to take an astronomical image.”

Ajith Everester at his observatory. Pic: Salim Matramkot/The Peninsula

Viewing his first few photos of the planets, he gleamed and said:“I was astonished, then I thought, yes, let’s do this.”

Five years back, he initially bought a telescope and started upgrading as the years progressed – the biggest he acquired is the sky-watcher telescope which is the largest of its kind at 12 inches, with f4 aperture.

It may look easy for some but doing astrophotography is not a piece of cake.

“You have to invest not only in the camera but filters also, so it can avoid light pollution. A filter costs QR7,000 – you need three of that. So around QR50,000 for the camera and filter altogether.”

Elephant Trunk Nebula

Viewing the images Everester took were dazzling, a unique spectacle, every photo glitters – you wouldn’t even imagine we’re living under these bright astronomical objects.

But this ‘passion’ of his is not a walk in the park, it requires time, patience, and money.

“The recent image took 40 hours to capture, which means three weeks to collect the images alone, but still I haven’t finalised it, I’m not fully satisfied with the colours, so I’m thinking of collecting more data or modifying it – it’s a Nebula,” Everester explained.

The Peninsula asked him among the thousands of images he took, which is the ‘special one’, he responded smiling as he said:“From the first image that I have taken, till this last image that I have photographed, everything is special.”

“If you ask me my favourite, then I’ll tell the latest one – that has the best quality. You don’t really distinguish which is your favourite, but lately, I’ve fallen in love with my recent images with the core of the Heart Nebula, I can tell that is my best image, that’s my best for now,” he said.

Sky imaging through a telescope is more than shooting the stars.“You should know engineering, physics, electronics, you should know everything,” Everester said laughing.

The astrophographer has also been doing seminars, workshops and online sessions, not only in Qatar but also in Oman, United Arab Emirates, to name some. He also has a few Qatari students who are gaining interest in the field and have been coming to his observatory and stargazing.

He also revealed the best places to capture the night in Qatar are Traina and Al Aamriya.“Last Wednesday we went to Traina and watched the meteor shower, there were 15-16 of it, the moon came at 10pm so we couldn’t continue. My wife, who has been supportive of my passion, loves it and my two daughters are enjoying it, it’s our mini-getaway from the bustle of the city.”

When asked for his advice for people who want to start off in this field he said that“astrophotography is a fantastic field, especially for people who are interested in nightlife, not in the sense of clubbing or spending time in the hotels, those who like the night sky.”

And one thing really struck me is his line on having a solitary moment:“If you want to be peaceful, go sit and look at the stars, you will get a lot of energy from that. The feeling of stargazing is something you cannot explain – you have to be there – at the moment.”

“When nobody is around you, only darkness and stars – that is the real peace, you will get plenty of energy to be charged, if you go one weekend out and sit under the stars, the next whole week, you are all charged – that much peace of mind you will get, and that you have to experience. We cannot explain it, I cannot, you have to feel it.”


‘Photography Passion Helps Understanding Western Tragopan H…


(MENAFN- IANS) By Vishal Gulati

Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), Jan 11 (IANS) For him wildlife photography in the western Himalayas is a passion that helped understanding the habitat of the brilliantly coloured western tragopan, an elusive bird listed in the Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a compendium of species facing extinction.

He’s Vinay Kumar Singh, posted in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a forest guard.

His two extensive documentaries on western tragopans shot in the GHNP are assisting park authorities and scientists in determining where this species is found, how they interact with their surroundings and potential threats to them.

‘The documentation can help researchers to improve knowledge about this elusive species that is hard to see as they reside in the higher elevations of the Himalayas,’ Kumar, who loves filming wild animals while performing the duty, told IANS.

He trekked rugged and inaccessible areas of the Sainj Valley several times by remaining separated from home and family for weeks for wildlife photography.

One of his documentaries, ‘Story of the Western Tragopan’, was made to jury selection last month in the Nature in Focus Films Award under the Emerging Talent (Natural History) category.

Kumar said he was getting the chance to visit the Sainj Valley, the habitat of the western tragopan, and some unexplored areas of the GHNP continuously for the past few years.

‘During my duty, I got the opportunity to come across some rare creatures. Some of them I manage to capture on my camera.’

The park, known for its significant size of 1,171 sq. km, is untouched by a road network and has four valleys — Tirthan, Sainj, Jiwa Nal and Parvati.

For him, seeing them in their natural habitat is a life-time experience.

‘Due to extreme tough topography, it is not easy to spot the wildlife in nature as the habitat of some of the mammals is high rocky cliffs, while some are found in dense forests. I keep on trekking in the interiors of the GHNP along with Khem Raj, who lives in the eco-zone of the national park and has interest in seeing the wildlife in forests. In this way, together we were able to spot many species in the GHNP,’ an elated Kumar told IANS.

Both Kumar and Khem Raj have photographed about 150 of the 209 bird species found in the GHNP.

The bird that attracted their attention most was the western tragopan, which was the least studied bird in the world owing to the tough topography of its habitat and being a shy bird.

Kumar said spotting the western tragopan in nature is not easy as its population is naturally less compared to other bird species.

‘You can see Himalayan monal flying here and there. Other pheasant species like koklass, white-crested kalij and cheer can also be heard and seen in the forest, but not the western tragopan that lives in a special habitat compared to all these. We have to locate special places where it lives,’ he said.

Human disturbances during the western tragopan breeding season are one of the main threats to the western tragopan, identified by their black plumage with white spots and a colourful head.

In the local language, the western tragopan is called Jujurana or king of birds. It is the state bird of Himachal Pradesh and belongs to the family Phasianidae, which also includes the peafowl and the red jungle fowl.

Wildlife experts attribute the downfall of the western tragopan to habitat degradation, hunting and extensive grazing of the forest by livestock.

The Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Sarahan in Shimla district, and the Great Himalayan National Park are the potential western tragopan habitats.

According to the 2022 survey conducted by the national park authorities, the population of the western tragopan is on the rise.

They are annually surveying the GHNP during its breeding season (April-May).

It inhabits upper temperate forests between 2,400 and 3,600 m during summer, and in winter, dense coniferous and broad-leaved forest between 2,000 to 2,800 m elevations.

Call counts and line transects are used to assess current abundances and gather information on the characteristics of this species in the wild. Tragopan males began their breeding calls in late April and continued through May.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Nishant Mandhotra, who is in-charge of GHNP, told IANS that the presence of the western tragopan could now be felt more clearly in the national park with its numbers multiplying, and so has its sightings.

He said the density of the western tragopan in the park was four birds per station in last year’s census. Eighteen stations in the Tirthan, Sainj and Jiwa Nal ranges were shortlisted for recording call counts.

The GHNP, notified in 1999, is home to 209 bird species.

One of the richest biodiversity sites in the western Himalayas, the park supports the snow leopard, the Tibetan wolf, the Himalayan brown and black bear, the Himalayan blue sheep, the Asiatic ibex, the red fox, the weasel and the yellow throated marten.

The small mammals include the grey shrew, a small mouse-like mammal with a long snout, royal mountain vole, Indian pika, giant Indian flying squirrel, porcupine and the Himalayan palm civet, besides nine amphibians and 125 insects.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at )




Mary Mccartney Celebrating 100 Years Of Photography On The O…


(MENAFN- PR Newswire)

Cunard Calls on Guests to Share Magical Moments for Centennial Sea Views Exhibition

  • Luxury cruise line, Cunard, snaps up world-renowned photographer Mary McCartney to curate 100 years of photographs for a new exhibition

  • Cunard is calling on guests to find images that could form part of the exhibition, alongside never before seen imagery from the Cunard archives

  • The exhibition marks two centenaries – 100 years since Cunard was the first cruise line to introduce on board photographers and 100 years since the company’s first round the world voyage

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom, Jan. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Luxury cruise line, Cunard has announced it will be launching the Sea Views exhibition in 2023, featuring never before seen imagery from the Cunard archives, together with a selection of photos submitted by the guests and curated by photographer and filmmaker Mary McCartney.

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British photographer Mary McCartney

The Sea Views exhibition will mark two key centenaries – the first being that 100 years ago, Cunard was the first cruise line to introduce an on board photographer to capture the signature moments of their guests’ voyage. The second is the 100-year anniversary of the first ever round the world cruise on Cunard’s ship Laconia.

To celebrate both of these momentous centenaries, Cunard has partnered with British photographer Mary McCartney to curate the unique exhibition of 100 images captured across their fleet of ships. With previous guests including Hollywood icons such as Elizabeth Taylor and Bing Crosby, Cunard will be opening up their archives to select photographs that showcase the glamour, grandeur and timeless style for which Cunard has become famous.

‘With over 14,000 images stored in the Cunard archives in Liverpool – the founding home port of Cunard Line – we have a wealth of memories from the 1920s to present day to choose from,’ said Siân Wilks, Cunard Archivist at the University of Liverpool Library. ‘We are extremely excited to work alongside Mary McCartney to launch the Sea Views exhibition.’

In addition to the archived photos that will be exhibited, Cunard is calling on the guests to share any photographs they may have collected over the years when travelling on board a Cunard ship, capturing special moments, amazing views and unique experiences. All images shared will be reviewed, with selected images to be part of this rare, centennial exhibition.

‘I’m pleased to curate an exhibition within this treasure trove of 100 years of on board photography.
I’m looking forward to exploring the archives and the crowdsourced images to hand pick a portfolio of iconic images that will reflect a century of luxury travel,’ said British photographer, Mary McCartney

‘We’re extremely proud of Cunard’s 183-year history and particularly of the fact we pioneered the round-the-world voyage 100 years ago. What better way to celebrate this centenary anniversary than by curating a fantastic selection of images from our guests who’ve travelled with us. We’re delighted to be working with the wonderful Mary McCartney to create this exhibition and can’t wait to see the unforgettable moments that our guests have captured over the years,’ said Sture Myrmell, Cunard President.

To find out how you can submit your favourite moment captured on board a Cunard ship, visit
and submit your images by 5 February 2023.
The centennial Sea Views exhibition will go live in 2023 and more information will be shared on this webpage nearer to the time.\

For further press information, please contact:

  • Sam Cole, [email protected] , +44 (0)7901 275162

  • Hannah Reay, [email protected] , +44 (0)7503 710591

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Cunard is a luxury British cruise line, renowned for creating unforgettable experiences around the world. Cunard has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, since 1840, celebrating an incredible 182 years of operation. A pioneer in transatlantic journeys for generations, Cunard is world class. The Cunard experience is built on fine dining, hand-selected entertainment and outstanding service. From five-star restaurants and in-suite dining to inspiring guest speakers, the library and film screenings, every detail has been meticulously crafted to make the experience unforgettable. Destinations include Europe, the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia.

There are currently three Cunard ships, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria and a fourth ship, Queen Anne, will be entering service in early 2024. This investment is part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally and will be the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.

Cunard is based at Carnival House in Southampton and has been owned since 1998 by Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL;
NYSE: cuk ).

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