Photographer uses drones to capture tourist treasures

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05/09/20

Saudi photographer Hassan Al-Hresi says many of his followers from around the world are convinced that the Kingdom is a first-class tourist destination with pristine landscapes and magnificent sceneries. (Supplied)
  • Hassan Al-Hresi showcases sites such as Wahidah Waterfalls, Ghiyeh and Al-Qahar

MAKKAH: Saudi photographer Hassan Al-Hresi looks for opportunities day and night to venture upwards into the skies and shed light on the archaeological and tourist treasures of the Kingdom’s south.

He takes his audience on journeys during all seasons of the year so that they can experience and witness the southern landscapes that he captures through his lens.
The professional photographer, who is in his thirties, has documented distinctive destinations such as the Wahidah Waterfalls, Ghiyeh, Al-Qahar villages and other locations.
And he offers an exceptional experience, as he seeks to showcase the undiscovered despite the danger that these sites pose.
“These trips spark my passion like a high that has been there since my childhood,” Al-Hresi told Arab News.
“It is a dangerous profession due to the need to move across steep mountains and stay there for days with the necessary equipment to capture moments that immortalize the sites’ beauty and magnificence. These moments shed light on the beauty of the Kingdom’s southern region.”

He said that many of his followers from around the world were convinced that Saudi Arabia was not just defined by camels and the desert, that it was a first-class tourist destination with pristine landscapes that were unimaginable by both locals and foreigners.
“Something fascinates you and takes your breath away as you film. It is the clouds covering the mountains and villages, the people living their lives amid continuous rainfall, Sarawat’s cold weather and Tihama’s moderate weather during winter, and how Saudis go about their daily lives in all their details according to a village life full of love.”

It is a dangerous profession due to the need to move across steep mountains and stay there for days with the necessary equipment to capture moments that immortalize the sites’ beauty and magnificence.

Hassan Al-Hresi, Saudi photographer

Al-Hresi said that photographing Al-Qahar mountains — a massif located 80 km northwest of Jazan with peaks rising 2,000 meters above sea level — was a fun trip particularly when using his drone, which has helped to uncover and depict such scenery in a wider and more comprehensive way.
“These images showed the villages located along the Kingdom’s deep south along with the simple village life of their residents, living at the heart of an unending natural beauty found in the greenery, the fog and the rain.”
The volcanic peaks that enrich Asir’s nature invited people to discover their scattered green areas that added to the region’s beauty, which he believed was unmatched by any other place in Saudi Arabia.

“This is particularly true in Mount Tahwi’s Ghiyeh village, which represents beauty in small, eye-catching and breathtaking geographical areas.”
The rock formations showcased in Al-Hresi’s images are, according to him, “some of the most important pillars of tourism in the world.”
He said it became even more worthwhile to document the Kingdom’s natural wealth amid the global coronavirus pandemic, which turned the focus of Saudis inwards and toward local travel and tourism.
He spoke of fortified and beautiful villages that showed off a particular type of architecture and construction, with forts built high in the mountains.
The fog-covered villages stand at high altitudes exceeding 2,400 meters above sea level, particularly those located in the areas of Al-Baha and Asir, and require twice as much effort to reach, especially when moving with equipment and drones.
“Al-Qahar mountains feature narrow valleys containing forest trees, along with drawings and inscriptions,” Al-Hresi said, adding that it was difficult to reach the mountain peaks due to their rough terrain.
“The rainwater falling on top of the mountain ends up in Wadi Bish Dam.”
Al-Qahar mountains stand tall on the cusp of Al-Raith governorate, east of Jazan, forming a fascinating scene. They are considered one of Al-Raith’s most beautiful sites due to their breathtaking nature and terrain, moderate weather and continuous rainfall throughout the year.

This article was first published in Arab News

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