Shooting for the big time: Regional snappers in Nat Geo photography show

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Contestants of “I am a Nat Geo Photographer”
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Contestants of “I am a Nat Geo Photographer”
Updated 20 March 2018
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Shooting for the big time: Regional snappers in Nat Geo photography show

DUBAI: National Geographic Abu Dhabi (NGAD) launched the latest season of “I am a Nat Geo Photographer” last night. The four-part reality show pits four amateur photographers from the region against each other as they strive to capture a shot worthy of publication in “National Geographic Al Arabiya” magazine. The 2018 season is based in the United Arab Emirates.
Emirati artist Obaid Al Budoor, Saudi Hesham Al Humaid — a Dammam-based health-management technician, Lebanese artist Cynthia Ghousoub, and Egyptian freelance photographer Amina Sabry will face off in a series of challenges throughout the show.
The winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Tanzania worth over $10,000, during which they will receive guidance from Nat Geo experts, in addition to $7,500 worth of Nikon equipment.
Saudi media personality Tariq Edrees hosts the show, and main judge Marwa Abu Laila — founder of Photobia and publisher of “Photo Egypt — is joined on the judging panel by award-winning Saudi Nat Geo photographer Tasneem Sultan; Iraqi photographer Mohamed Al Daou, head of research and development at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award; Red Bull photographer Naim Chidiac; and photojournalist Jack Dabaghian. Each episode will also feature celebrity guests, including martial arts expert Rio Altaie, fashion designer Faissal El-Malak and Los Angeles-trained actor Deepak Venugopal.
Al Humaid is, understandably, thrilled to be taking part. “To be a National Geographic photographer is a huge thing,” he said in a statement. “It’s a dream for me. A NatGeo photographer, in my view, has unique characteristics; he is a person that can handle tough circumstances and can adapt to any situation.”
He believes his “love for adventure” will be a benefit, but admitted: “My weakness is my shyness, which limits my abilities.”
Appearing in front of, potentially, millions on a pan-Arab TV show should help cure that.


KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

Updated 19 March 2019
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KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

  • The Sharqiah Seasonfeatures over 80 events in cities acrossf the Kingdom's Eastern Province
  • Events in the upcoming weekends feature sports events as as well as concerts

RIYADH: Residents of the Eastern Province are no strangers to foreign visitors — the nation’s oil heartland has been welcoming them for years. But more have been arriving with the opening of Sharqiah Season, featuring over 80 events across the region’s cities.

Organized as a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage alongside the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, it is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned across the country in 2019.

Faisal Al-Rayisi, an employee at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, told Arab News he was surprised by the number of people arriving for the festival. 

“People are not only coming from Saudi Arabia, but from all over the Gulf as well — Kuwait and the UAE in particular,” he said. “I’ve even seen foreigners from Europe and Asia coming through. Time was, we used to go to Dubai for our entertainment, but now people from Dubai are coming to us.”

He also mentioned how happy he was to see the festivities coming to the Eastern Province. “Jeddah has this slogan, ‘Jeddah is different,’ but now that we’re seeing the first Sharqiah Season in our region, and all of these amazing activities and concerts are happening here, I think we can safely say ‘Sharqiah is different’ now.”

The Sharqiah festival aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The festival features events in Eastern Province cities, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with different entertainment options for each city. Upcoming seasons will focus on different areas, and also different parts of the year, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said in a statement that  the organization’s participation in the festival aligns with its goal of improving the quality of life in the Kingdom, and discovering local talent in various entertainment industries.  

He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment sector and its contribution to the economy and the creation of jobs for locals, all important aspects of Vision 2030.

The opening night of Sharqiah Season on Thursday drew crowds of Saudis to the Alkhobar Corniche, despite strong winds and sprinklings of rain earlier in the day. Groups of friends stopping to take selfies and families with young children in tow wandered through the Entertainment Boulevard, lined with food stalls selling karak and koshari.

Earlier in the day, the mega event began with the opening of an exhibit featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). 

The exhibit showcased some of Da Vinci’s original sketches, with several screens showing videos detailing how his designs have continued to inspire scientists and inventors in the modern era.

Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with upcoming weekends featuring sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana.