Category Archives: Press


For a safer Gulf

A diver ropes down from a Sea Hawk to locate mines during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2 off Bahrain. TheUS-led exercise, which began last week, includes operations by the unmanned SeaFox drones, which are equipped with sonar and an explosive charge designed to shoot and destroy mines. photographer Shihab


Horse Power

Notwithstanding the slight drizzle on Monday, the horses and training jockeys were seen enduring their workouts into the early morning hours on Tuesday, as the sun began to resurface at the Meydan Racecourse. Khaleej Times photographer Shihab captures the build-up to the Dubai World Cup

Tunis travelogue

Tunis travelogue

A journey through Tunis
Photographer: Shihab
ROAD TO TUNIS : Ater the revolution overthrew President Ben Ali, Tunisa looks as people return to their daily mundane lives with nothing left to fight for;no protest left for uphold.

The road from Zarzis to Tunis is long and languorous. As somnolence takes over, tired eyes struggle to stay open.The Tunisian capital (ancient Carthage) is 600km and six hours away. Rural Tunisia has suddenly fallen quiet;it’s almost surreal here. The revolutionary zeal witnessed among the masses in January,which overthrew a leader, has dissipated.Disquiet is dead, the road is barren and people appear to have gone back to their mundane lives with nothing left to fight forany more.

It’s tormenting to stay awake when the mind and body protest after a troubling journey to Ras Ajdir on the border with Libya to witness the refugee deluge of stricken humans, their sprits broken and possessions stolen on their trip to freedom from violence. North Africa has been wracked by tragedy and there appears to be no end to its winter of discontent.You can feel it in the air, in your bones.The minivan picks up speed and driver Hamid seems at ease on the narrow two-lanehighway, having done the trip many times before. A fellow journalist rattles away on the upsurge in violence in the region,another bemoans the looming crisis in neighbouring Libya. “The people, they are the ones who suffer through all this,” he says. “Zunga, Zunga,” bellows someone at the back of the van, imitating Colonel Gaddafi. Laughter rents the air, followed by silence. Everything worth saying seems to have been said.

My colleague and lensman Shihab’s cameras shutter away, shattering the prospect of a well-deserved rest. Two Canon digital SLR cameras are his tried and trusted companions on the journey.He shoulders them with élan and wields them with a precision so true of a marksman.His eye never misses the changing landscape capturing the essence of life along the road.

“Did you notice most people here are dressed in black… black jackets, black everything, not many colours,” he says.Bleary-eyed, this writer mutters a delayed sigh. Disappointed with the reply, or the lack of it, Shihab goes back to looking through the lens, switches cameras, genuinely trigger-happy.

All pictures here are taken on the move,in natural light, without flash. The Tunisian countryside is a snapper’s delight with young olive farms, women rearing sheep,rows of mud houses, roadside grills and mobile cartsmen plying their trade. The people are in no apparent hurry, poised and elegant in their lifestyles. Young men lounge at favourite joints with cups of steaming coffee for company. Contemplation is later thrown in, so is conversation if a buddy comes into sight. Some wear a distant look; the women giggle, while the seniors prefer a stroll in the souk.

The sights are many, smiles are few, and Shihab’s shots tell a glowing tale of Arab-French culture and interaction. Tunisia became a republic in 1957 after breaking free from France a year earlier.Back on the road, the little hubs of Medenine,Gabes, Kairouan go past in a flash. Tunis is just a few clicks away.


Bull fight

Bull fight- photo feature
Proving their METTLE!
The most appealing and unique aspect about the bullfight that happensin Fujairah is that there is no bloodshed. Every Friday, a crowd gathers around a ring at the corniche near the beach to watch the fight. It is part of tradition as well as a source of entertainment for locals and expatriates from the various emirates. A running commentary adds to the excitement and helps create the atmosphere. The feeling of exhilaration goes up as the bulls start pushing each other with their heads, showcasing their power.
The winner brings prestige and honour to the owner and value to itself.The fight normally begins after Asr prayer and ends before sunset. Bull merchants make an appearance to strike a deal. Of course, the price depends on the show of strength while at the ring. The fact that there is no bloodshed provides solace, says KT Photographer, Shihab.


Horse riding School

Photo feature on horse riding school.
Photographer: Shihab
Situated in Al Quasis, Al Ahli Horse Riding Club attracts horse lovers and provides an excellent facility for those interested in learning riding, dressage, jumping and anything one would like to know about horses.
Established in 1998 by Rashid Suhail Al Darbi, former UAE national team show jumper, the facility also has special pony clubs for young riders starting from the age of 4. Riding lessons contain levels (mostly six), provided by professional instructors.
While one starts at the Red level for learning the basics of horse back riding, the Yellow level trains one in irectional changes, control and balance. The Green level introduces students to jumping, while the Blue level teaches dressage kills and to jump more than one fence.
The Black level teaches the rules of the Show Jumping Competition while the White level, considered the last level at the Al Ahli Horse Riding Club, trains someone who hopes to be a professional or plans to buy and ride his or her own competition horse. The club has now become a popular haunt for people of all ages and nationalities. KT photographer Shihab joins them.


Motor show

More than just wheels
The Motoring Middle East (MME)Car and Bike Meet completed its 12th edition on Friday at Festival City in Dubai.The meet brought together more than 500 cars and bikes of various makes and models.An informal car and bike show,where participants show off their cool vehicles with no marketing involved, is growing fast and the enthusiasm and excitement at Festival City was proof enough.More than a display of super cars,classics, modified metal, muscle cars, JDMs, super-hatches, SUVs,bikes and more, the Car and Bike Meet is an informal gathering of
like-minded people sharing their love of the motorised world.KT photographer Shihab’s excitement knew no bounds as he tried to capture the mood and the machines to share them with our readers.



Photo feature on Jaywalkers:Photographer : Shihab
Living Dangerously
Crossing roads at undesignated areas is a crime punishable by the UAE traffic law. Pedestrians crossing highways with speeds of over 80 km per hour are fined for their irresponsible behaviour. In fact, pedestrians, who cross roads at undesignated areas and cause accidents which result in injuries or damage to property can be held liable and referred to court.
But, none of these prevents people from taking the easy, yet dangerous route and the stats are shocking. 41 people died after they were run over by vehicles while trying to cross the road at undesignated places in Dubai last year alone. And 2,748 jaywalkers were fined for crossing the road from undesignated areas in the month of March.
Pedestrians on their part feel that Zebra crossings are too far apart that it is not practical to walk such a
long distance to cross the road. Designated crossings at least close to every bus stop would go a long in
helping bus commuters.Road dividers are meant to prevent people from crossing on highways, but people do not think twice
even if it means risking theirs and others’ lives, as KT photographer Shihab reveals.

Jockeys fall

Jockey fall.

One of the Jockeys exercising Krypton Factor(GB) in the morning parade before the Dubai world cup at Meydan racecourse , lost his balance and hit the ground ‘running’.
Photographer: Shihab