“I’m passionate about nature,” Meshal Al-Omar started, “I feel we need to bond with it, because we are from it.” This 29-year-old former accountant left the world of banking to live a more creative life. Starting a media company called Mukanik Creative Lab with his friend, Fahad Al-Hassan, he currently specializes in e-marketing and documentary making. With a passion for nature and the deep blue sea, Meshal and his brother, Mohammad, started taking scuba diving lessons at the young age of twelve. By 2004, he found himself in Thailand with a diving license that would only propel him further into the colorful and serene hobby of underwater photography. Though hobbyist he might be, his imagery is stunning and the composition pristine.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Meshal went to the Indonesian island Sulawesi at a time of turbulence. While his family opposed the trip, his need to explore the depths of the island’s oceans was far too strong. A lot of convincing and 28 hours later, he landed safely and embarked on his first solo adventure. Brand new camera in hand, Meshal set out to silence the Siren’s call and dove right into the water and enrolled into an underwater photography course. Having learned the basics first-hand, he left the course and Indonesia with an arsenal of stunning photographs and videos to show-off and a skill he further developed. From just a regular hobby to a flourishing career, Meshal currently teaches the basics of underwater photography.
Still, not all challenges come in the form of convincing family members to go on a trip – others arise as you take the first step off the boat and into the water. Though Meshal insists that the gear he wears and regularly carries isn’t an issue, “the weight is barely there when you’re diving,” there are certain calculations that need to be made. “It takes skill and you need to constantly monitor your air supply and surroundings,” Meshal explained. This calculation, like many other things, is perfected through practice. “The more I dive, the more comfortable I am with everything,” Meshal assured us. What he taught us was that there are two different tanks you can take – one is a normal air supply tank, while the other required certifications due to the complicated calculations you need to be able to make on the spot, simply known as the Nitrox Tank. “The higher the oxygen level in your tank, the higher the depth restrictions are, simple,” Meshal elaborated.
“I was diving with a Nitrox Tank and I was at 35 meters deep,” he began, “the safety was at 32 but I was at my limit trying to capture a shot.” To make it a little more complicated, he was also upside down! “My mask was leaking and saltwater got into my eyes,” Meshal remembered, “I want to shoot the sun through the coral reef and after [an endless] five minutes, I managed to get the shot!” Still, to capture this image, he had to maintain his depth while clearing his mask from saltwater without moving it! “Not to mention I was worried I’d run out of gas,” he added. This resulted in him capturing his favorite image – that of the sun through the coral reef cluster and the glistening sea above him; “I love that shot because I was about to hurt myself taking it,” he laughed. Yet the photo that perfectly portrays his passion are the ones he simply and lovingly refers to as ‘Nemo’ – “These shots are really calm,” he explained, “and I really like the Anemone in the photographs.” Meshal’s most memorable diving expedition to date is his 2013 trip with his friends to the Maldives where he ended up buying a bigger, and better, camera that provided him incredible photos. To see the world through his lens, we gave Meshal our fun up close and personal questionnaire.
Up Close and Personal
What do you most value in your friends?
I value honesty and communication the most. Positive friends are really valuable too.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The way I see it, happiness is an achievement. Achievements, as I see them, are fulfilling my goals or moving towards them. Achievements can be something tangible or something moral.
What is your greatest fear?
Falling behind on fulfilling my goals.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Going about my daily morning routine and being lazy at times.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Being negative and not seeing things differently.
Which living person do you most admire?
No one in particular, every single human being is admirable to me.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Going on a diving trip in a remote location with good food.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Stay Positive.’ ‘You can do it.’ ‘It’s ok,’ and ‘I can do it.’
What is it that you most dislike?
Not believing in myself when I’m feeling down.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Painting, but I haven’t followed it yet.
If you could have any job, what would it be?
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Making something useful for everyone.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your most marked characteristic?
Being calm when necessary and trying to stay positive.
Where would you most like to live?
On an island – a clean one, with my family.
What are your favorite words to live by?
Thank you, God, for your beautiful creations.
You can follow Meshal’s work by following him on Facebook: Meshal.Alomar, Instagram @Mesh.Alomar, and YouTube @MeshAlomar. Visit his website at www.meshydp.com and www.500px.com/mesh_alomar for more stunning images!