Pinoy architect wins Dubai photography contest – ABS

DUBAI – Filipino architect Eric Olympia Fajut bagged the top prize in the 1st Dubai Municipality (DM) Photo Contest for World Migratory Birds Day in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Fajut’s winning photo stood out among the entries of the 40 other participants as it was the only one that captured flamingos in action on its natural habitat.

Fajut said that he patiently waited for the pair of birds to do something unusual.

“It was when the other flamingo spread its wings that I took the shot. It was a decisive moment,” he said.

Eric Fajut’s winning photograph. Courtesy of Rachel Salinel.

The photo competition aimed to encourage creativity and artistic talents among DM staff in support of environmental protection issues as well as to introduce them to the characteristics and advantages of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary (RAKWS).

RAKWS is located at the head of the 14km Dubai Creek that covers an area of 620 hectares. It features sabkhas saline flats, intertidal mudflats and magroves, with small lagoons and pools, as well as a few tiny islands lying between the Arabian Gulf and the Al Awir Desert.

The sanctuary supports more than 20,000 water birds of 67 species during winter and acts as a critical staging ground for wintering birds of the East Africa-West Asian Flyway. It also hosts more than 500 species of flora and fauna and is an important eco-tourism destination that receives increasing numbers of local and international visitors.

Fajut received the award on World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) in Dubai. It was a DM-themed event which highlights the threats faced by lands and degradation in the country such as drought and water scarcity.

It was not the first photography award for Fajut. One of his photos was also chosen as photo of the week by a Dubai newspaper last year. Moreover, his photos have been featured in international magazines.

The 35-year-old senior landscape architect has been working in Dubai for 12 years. Photography started as his hobby, and then became a passion to express is creativity and artistic capabilities other than designing.

This hobby paved the way to the co-founding of a photography online group called MidEast Snipers whose members are hardcore photo enthusiasts from all nationalities in the Gulf Cooperating Countries and other countries.

“I consider being a photographer as a privilege to have the ability to cpature and freeze a moment of beauty of God’s creation and share it to others,” Fajut said. “I feel proud to be a Filipino and honored to win this contest.”

He dedicated the award to his family and fellow Filipino photo enthusiasts.

Fajut fully supports the DM’s cause as he believes that everyone needs to preserve the birds’ sanctuaries, “for these are vital for the survivial of migratory birds and will preserve the balance in the ecosystem.”

The WDCD event is organized to promote public awareness to international cooperation to combat desertification, implemeting the International Convention to Combat Desertification. It also targets to direct officials and policy makers in the country to search for solutions to the challenge of desertification and arid lands.