Nature photography in Lebanon
ZEISS Camera Lens Ambassador Dany Eid lives in Dubai and travels mainly through the Middle East for his photography. One very special trip led him back to his homeland of Lebanon. His goal? Simply to enjoy the beauty of nature there and capture it on camera.
“I’m currently living in Dubai, a modern metropolis whose environment is strongly influenced by the desert”, explains the 40-year-old Dany at the beginning of our conversation. “The nature there is completely different to my native country and simply can’t be compared with what Lebanon has to offer.”
With this in mind, Dany set off to visit some largely untouched regions of Lebanon, for example the Aammiq Wetlands in the Beqaa Valley, the largest remaining freshwater biotope in the country. He also went to the ‘Cedars of God’ in northern Lebanon, the expansive cedar forests that once covered the area around Mount Lebanon of which only a small but important population remains. The Cedars of God, known by its Arabic name ‘Arz ar-Rabb’, became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988 together with the culturally significant Kadisha Valley.
Born in Lebanon, Dany Eid has lived and worked in various countries in the Middle East. He gave up a short-lived corporate career in favor of photography. “There’s nothing better than doing a job you love and following your dream.” The diversity of the Middle East, his many travels, but also homesickness have all strongly influenced Dany’s work. “I love to travel and my photography reflects the places, the remote areas, the various countries and cities I have visited. Everything is represented by the architecture, nature and people in my pictures.”
What matters for Dany is less the motif than the story the motif tells. “But of course to get a good picture, everything has to be just right: the motif, the location, the light and the story.” When he returned to his homeland, Dany intentionally refrained from using dramatic effects when taking pictures. “I wanted to depict nature as purely as possible, and show it as I know and experience it.”
“In order to find my motifs and locations, I do extensive research and plan my pictures long in advance. I leave nothing to chance and hardly any of my pictures are created spontaneously.”
Before heading to a location – before even starting the journey — he informs himself in depth about the motif, the weather conditions, the necessary timing and possible lighting conditions. “Based on these considerations, I decide when I have to be at the location and what equipment I should take with me. Sometimes you need to be pretty persistent in order to find exactly the right moment.”
He also uses different apps, for example to check the timing for the blue and golden hour, and for the weather, lighting conditions and ‘light pollution’ — the brightening of the night sky through artificial light sources, for example near cities. But even the best preparation doesn’t guarantee ideal conditions and sometimes even an experienced photography like Eid needs patience. “In the outdoors you’re always dependent on the weather, which can shift easily. Often, waiting is all you can do.”
Dany uses a wide range of ZEISS lenses, including the Distagon T* 2,8/15, the three lenses from the Otus family, as well as the Milvus 2.8/21, Milvus 2/35 and Milvus 2/100M. During his trip to Lebanon, he frequently used the Otus 1.4/85. Asked for his favorite lens for nature photography, Dany immediately names three: “the Distagon T* 2,8/15, the Milvus 2.8/21 and the Otus 1.4/28. They are from different families, but between them cover very well the wide-angle range, which is important for me.”
Series: Nature Photography 3/3
About Dany Eid
Dany Eid, 40, was born and raised in Lebanon. To fulfill his dream to become a photographer, the trained interior designer and painter gave up a corporate career. Today he lives in Dubai. Dany specializes in architectural, travel and lifestyle photography. His prize-winning work has been published in many international media. Dany also regularly organizes photography workshops.