KARACHI: Main Art Gallery of the Alliance Française (French Cultural Centre) de Karachi was the venue where 100 photographs of Sindh’s Wild Birds were exposed by Dream Merchants.
Dream Merchants held: Given our much-acclaimed bird photography exhibition held November 2016 and we have vowed to continue with what we do best; that is, shooting birds with a camera! We are therefore pleased to announce the second chapter of this exhibition that will showcase a wider species of birds that inhibitor land.
This year, we have not only increased our number of visits to document the various bird species but have also expanded our reach towards unexplored areas. In doing so, our photography fraternity has grown substantially and the number of enthusiast birders has increased conspicuously.
Birds of Sindh —the journey began in 2016 with an exhibition as a humble effort of 4 photographers. It has now graduated to having 4 new members who have joined hands with the 3 pioneer members. At the time of the first exhibition, we were able to document about 125 species, and now, we are happy to report that with the passage of time and eventually having more bird enthusiasts onboard, this number is currently standing at 278 species! Our work hasn’t concluded by any means!
A lot still needs to be done in order to spread awareness about the negative impact of the destruction of the habitats as a result of encroachments; which means a lack of sufficient environment for the birds to breed and grow in a considerable number to balance the ecosystem.
This time around, in addition to the local and resident birds photographs, we take pride in presenting a whole bunch of migratory birds.
We would like to acknowledge and extend our sincere gratitude out our family members, friends, well-wishers, and like-minded people who had appreciated and supported us in the first ever exhibition.
Mirza Naim Beg a retired banker and photography enthusiast who used to do fashion photography for renowned magazines and still do it, albeit occasionally now. A veteran of 5 exhibitions for the past 25 years. He has turned his hobby into a healthy activity for a like-minded group of enthusiast wildlife photographers, by organizing various trips in and around Karachi, and covering many areas in Sindh under the banner of Wildlife with Dream Merchants, a Facebook group. He is an activist for wildlife conversations. Speaking to Newspakistan.tv Mirza Naeem Baig, who had created the facebook group (wildlife) Dream Merchants said:
Q: Please tell our audience about (Wildlife) Dream Merchants.
A. I’m very proud that I’ve come to this stage where me and my friends together, the group that I’ve created called the wildlife dream merchants we have now from a near 50 birds one and a half years back we are now 270 birds of Sindh recorded.
These birds were never ever recorded before, I don’t think our wildlife department or WWF has this record and the exciting part as you can see here there are so many people here mashallah is because the more people get aware of these birds the more our message goes across. For example, I have now in my page about 1500 people so 1500 families are aware of these beauties.
Q. We have the threats. We have the threat of poaching, we have the threat of netting, we have the threat of hunting and to top that all that’s estate development. We are taking away all the beautiful habitat and they are running away.
These flamingoes live around mangroves and as you know we are losing mangroves so fast. These mangroves have these creeks where you find those shrimp, the small shrimps and that’s their favourite meal. Once they eat that they get their pink colour and that’s why many people call them pink flamingoes, now in this area round only I have seen in 3 years half the mangroves have gone.
The industries have come up, there is contamination and I can notice 3 years ago I had recorded about 300 flamingoes. They have come down to about 100 or so and we have to protect them. This is my mission, these exhibitions are a part of that.
Q. How to join Dream Merchants?
A. You just have to show your desire to join us, the page is called wildlife dream merchants and I announce trips once or twice a month and then we target a certain bird or a certain area and we celebrate if somebody catches a new species so all you have to do is to join the page. You’ll be updated as to what is happening and what we are doing and we move forward that’s very simple really.
Q. Do you feel secure travelling with your team?
A. In the last 3 years, I have taken about 70 trips along with 20-25 people, 10 people from Tharparkar, Nagarparkar, Larkana, Tanu Amat Khan and Alhamdulillah touchwood security has improved far better and we have never been disturbed or threatened as far as security is concerned.
Q. Who finances you?
A. We do not have any sponsors yet, these pictures are for sale, whatever money we get out of it we put back in our trips and you know try to, try to cover maximum areas.
Q. What equipment do you use?
Startup level is actually a 300 mm lens which is very basic, ideally what we are carrying now is 500-600 mm, I wouldn’t like to name brands but normally the 2 top are cannon and Nikon.
It’s not easy to do wildlife photography on mobile because you see it’s the most challenging photography since you have no control on light, no control on the pose of the subject, no control on the background so it is very heavy hard work carrying heavy lenses, sitting in a place, we wear camouflage equipment so we are not seen.
We had those big lenses but you can’t take a picture of a bird sitting on a car window so we used a mobile to take that picture.
Other lensmen whose works were exposed at Alliance Française de Karachi:
Saad Aleem is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and a photography enthusiast. He recently became more interested in photographing birds mainly due to his fascination with nature & wildlife. For the last 8 months, he has visited interior Sindh and places near Karachi for pursuing his hobby and has recorded approximately 85+ species of birds so far. Saad mostly shoots with Nikon D750 & Tamron 150-600mm G2.
Khurram Kaimi is a software engineer/software sales guy by profession and a photography enthusiast. He did his software engineering from FAST and did his MBA from IBA. He’s doing birding since 3 years now and it all started from a trip to Haleji Lake. He jointed this group 6 months back and since then he has covered around 7 locations in suburbs of Karachi and interior Sindh. Khurram uses Canon 750D with Sigma.
Nusrat Ali a media sales guy and a graduate from Karachi University in International Relations, as well as MBA from IBA. He’s a hobby photographer who took interest in bird photography about 4 years ago and was part of the team that organized the 1st Birds of Sindh Exhibition. Nusrat shoots with Sony A77 and 7711, with Sony 70-400mm G2.
Saeed Jamal Tariq is a finance professional working with a commercial bank and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan. He has been an avid photography enthusiast since long, concentrating on candid portraiture and landscapes. His love for birding and in particular photographing birds developed in the last 5 years and turned into a passion after meeting his mentor and dedicated wildlife activist cum renowned birder Mirza Naim Beg and joining groups such as ‘Wildlife with Dream Merchants’, Birds of Sindh’ and ‘Birds of Pakistan’.
Fahad Siddiqui works for the creative department with a TV channel. He started his passion for photography 5 years back and since last two years heavily into wildlife. Is very selective in displaying his work… almost a perfectionist. Likes to do landscape as well. Keeps in close contact with wildlife departments.Nusrat Ihsan is a Director in a private firm based in Karachi. Photography has been his passion and for the past few years has done considerable photography of architecture, landscapes, in and outside the country. He ventured into trips with different groups and enjoyed clicking away. Around 6 months back he took a turn towards wildlife with Mirza Naim Beg of Wildlife with Dream Merchants and a FB group. Being close to nature opened up his desire to capture more and more of our feathery friends. He went around on various trips with them and added new species. He hoped this passion remains with him for coming years.
Muhammad Isaac Kamal Kalmati is an auto parts retailer at village Kathore 50 kilometre away from Karachi near Super Highway. He is a nature lover and he is been photography for 5 years when he captures images of nature around his village then he takes interest in birds as birds are always fascinating to him. He sold out his shop and bought a camera. Isaac uses Nikon D-7100 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 lens.
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