Members of Qatar Natural History Group (QNHG) took a step up this weekend – literally! Stranded in Al Khor by the unexpectedly heavy rain on Friday morning. Members who had planned a wildlife photography workshop with the eminent visiting Danish photographers Jens and Hanne Eriksen were forced to take shelter and hold the event in the stairwell of a block of flats.
The Eriksens, who have lived in Oman and the UAE for more than 20 years and are famed for their photographs, published in countless books and on stamps, coins and bank notes, had given a presentation on wildlife photography to the QNHG on Wednesday evening, attended by almost 150 people.
On Friday morning an early trip to sites around Al Khor was on schedule for Qatar’s dedicated birders, followed by a photography session when the Eriksens were slated to demonstrate their state-of-the-art Canon and Nikon cameras and give tips to the photography enthusiasts. This was intended to take place on one of the birding sites around Al Khor.
But nature intervened. It is not often that it rains in Qatar, but Friday was an exception. The rain steadily increased, and with cameras worth thousands of dollars, the experts could not risk any damage to their equipment.
Finding somewhere under cover on a Friday morning in Al Khor is a problem. There are no hotels or public meeting rooms, and the schools are closed. The palm-thatched shelters along the sea front, intended for protection from the sun but not the rain, all leak. One possibility was a restaurant or juice stall, but these proved to be all shut for the duration of the prayer time.
But any port in a storm! Finally the group of bedraggled but enthusiastic photographers crowded into the stairwell of a modest residential block on the main street, where for the next two hours the Eriksens held court, to the surprise of the residents, demonstrated their photographic skills and answered innumerable questions. All agreed that it had been well worth the journey from Doha, despite the unusual and unscheduled venue.
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