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‘I see the world around me in a brand-new way’: Dubai photographer reveals the UAE’s hidden wildlife

In a country best known for its soaring skyscrapers, modern architecture and sprawling desert, wildlife isn’t always what comes to mind when people think of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But Dubai-based photographer Anish Karingattil is determined to change that.

Originally from India, Karingattil moved to Dubai 17 years ago and began photographing wildlife shortly after, specializing in macro photography, using extreme close ups. Highlights of his stunning portfolio of images, taken across the seven Emirates, include a scorpion with her babies, an Arabian horned viper hiding in the desert sand, and two black and yellow mud daubers covered in dew drops.
“Photographers get to tell a story through images,” Karingattil says. “Macro photography allows me to see life and the world around me in a brand-new way.”

Despite its hot climate and harsh desert, the UAE is home to over 1,000 plant and animal species. The waters around the country are home to the largest concentration of Indian Ocean humpbacks dolphin in the world, and the second-largest population of dugongs, after Australia.

With the UAE’s president recently extending the country’s “Year of Sustainability” into 2024, Karingattil uses wildlife photography as a method of capturing the country’s biodiversity and sharing it with others.

While interior design is his full-time job, “herping” is his passion. “Herping is the act of observing, studying, and photographing reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats,” says Karingattil. “It is a popular hobby among nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers who are fascinated by the diversity and beauty of these creatures.”

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