Getting up close and personal with wildlife is a dream for some, but for nature and wildlife photographer Watter AlBahry it is a day in the office. The co-founder of Wild Phoenix has been snapping extraordinary scenes from nature for over a decade and has built a career as a professional environmental researcher, ornithologist-birdwatcher and wildlife documentary photographer, working for prestigious publications like National Geographic and National Geographic Youth Magazine. AlBahry has also worked with organizations like BirdLife International and Like as Nature Conservation Egypt, NCE BirdLife Egypt, and the Hurghada Environmental Protection & Conservation Association (HEPCA).
AlBahry has covered a lot of ground in Egypt, working all over the country in locations like Saint Catherine in Sinai, Port Said, all across Egypt’s North Coast, from Sohag to Nubia, and Siwa. He has gathered valuable photography from 90% of Egypt’s nature protectorates.
“Each location has a special atmosphere and value. However, Aswan holds a special place in my heart because of the birds, people and the colors.”
“Nature photography is challenging due to rapidly changing conditions. Lighting, weather, temperatures, and landscapes can change within minutes. Photographers can sit for hours, up to 10 hours sometimes, waiting for that one action shot. Research and preparedness is key for a nature photographer, however sometimes the perfect shot happens as a matter of being in the right place at the right time like this sandstorm in Aswan.”
“These shots of dolphins were taken at 6 am during a workshop with HEPCA on migration routes and how to interact with the animals. Later on, I was underwater with them photographing them and playing around with them – they’re like overgrown dogs, really! Very playful, and they were competing with each other for my attention.”
“Nature photography equals adventure and freedom – my office is my bag and nature which gives me a higher quality of life and sense of fulfillment. Within days, I can traverse a lot of land and see evolving landscapes across a stretch of coastline and come across different dialects, customs and traditions. The most rewarding part of the job is transferring the story and habitat of an animal into an image – for that moment, you are one with an animal in its territory and telling its story through its eyes.”
“The hardest part of the job is maintaining the physical readiness and safety measures of being a nature photographer. Often you have to hike up to 30 km, free dive 15 meters, sometimes you get lost in wilderness, or have to lay down in an environment where there are venomous creatures.”
“Photographing birds is challenging, I have to sit for quite some time and it involves quite a bit of time management. In winter, you’re sitting for hours as still as possible in the cold – frigid water can be especially troublesome. Photographing scorpions is also challenging, since I am afraid of them, so overcoming my personal fear to show their personality and movement can be scary.”
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