The Dracaena cinnabari, also known as the Dragon tree, is the prominent symbol of Socotra. Its unique shape resembles a large mushroom or umbrella. When the tree’s bark is cut, it produces a red sap that quickly hardens. The locals have been using the resulting crimson gum for medical, veterinary, and cosmetic purposes since ancient times. According to them, the juice of Dracaena cinnabari can even stop bleeding during menstruation in women. You can find more videos about this incredible place on my Instagram. Among my favorite sights were the kilometer-long sand dunes along the azure Indian Ocean, puffer fish, and bottle trees blooming like Sakura.
My journey in the world of photography began when I was just 14 years old. At that time, I started exploring photo editing software and used it to create collages of my own. Two years later, at the age of 16, I received my very first camera and I have been taking pictures ever since. It has now been 18 years since I started capturing beautiful moments through my lens.
What draws me to photography is the creative process that comes along with it. Aside from other factors, it is the ability to express myself through images that keeps me interested in this art form.
A friend of mine introduced me to an island, and we were fortunate enough to be invited there by a local travel company. However, getting to the island requires purchasing a package tour as tickets for charters from Abu Dhabi are only available on Socotra Island and the plane flies only once a week. Upon arriving at the airport, the island’s inhabitants were curious about the tourists standing in line for registration. Thankfully, there were no major complications during our trip except for one incident during our journey from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in April 2021. We were subject to strange coronavirus restrictions which required us to wear GPS bracelets during our travels between emirates, but they were removed at the airport, and we were able to fly to Socotra Island. Once there, we underwent testing through blood sampling.
The most challenging aspect of filming on the island was the absence of electricity, which made keeping our equipment charged a struggle. As there are no permanent structures on the wild island, we had to make do with living in tents and staying mobile. Although the weather was hot, it was nothing out of the ordinary. One thing I would strongly advise is to keep your tent closed at all times due to the presence of dangerous goats and scorpions. These goats have been known to eat everything in their path, including the island’s endemic trees such as Drago and Bottle trees.
I was absolutely entranced by the island’s miniature bottle-shaped trees and enormous white sand dunes. Hurricane-strength winds from May to October deposit these mountains of sand on Socotra, carried all the way from the deserts of Africa. This makes for a truly one-of-a-kind destination. And who could forget the Dragon’s Blood Trees, with their crimson sap instead of juice?
I often have numerous projects going on simultaneously, and they all revolve around the beauty and distinctiveness of our planet. It’s about acknowledging that the world is more spectacular than what we capture through photography.