”Photography is a tempting hobby, once the passion craves in we go all out for it.”
It all started with a few common friends doing regular visits of the forests and parks in South India, the Bandipur National Park being the most visited park, a few trips with these amateur photographers and the passion kicks in.
Foremost is to enjoy what we do. Just seeing the animals and their behaviour , the forests, trees , birds , water bodies in a pristine level is exciting enough, I spent almost 6 months enjoying the trips, maybe a trip or two a month.
That led to my first purchase of a mid level Canon 70D with the 18-50 mm kit lens and as any beginner it was clicking everything and anything on the way, far, near, big ,small never bothered , just click as the excitement of having a camera was too much to handle,
Then we meet more serious photographers during subsequent trips and we see their way of handling equipment, and the learning bug starts. Load of videos across the internet, good friends who teach what is to be adjusted and we start with learning to handle focal length/ aperture/ ISO/ Raw shooting/ Focal points (that blur magic).
Now the learning pushes you to get into bigger and better lenses, as now u realise quality of images. And this is perfectly by choice, some chose macro to capture small creatures in a highlighted mode some chose wide angled lenses to ensure they swallow the whole scene of the jungle and most chose telephoto lenses to shoot wildlife and birds.
The game now is about patience, it’s the wild once lucky and most times unlucky, so it involves regular visits to National parks/ Birding locations to try our luck again and again.
A few things I learnt is, photography is about passion, just random clicking doesn’t do you any good. We need the correct equipment for the location, for most occasions a beanbag/a monopod or a tripod according to the situation is a must for non-shaky wonderful pictures- this is basic, then comes the mindset of what needs to be captured, although when a sighting happens most people panic and try to keep clicking
I learnt to enjoy the animal/bird first and then position ourselves in a correct angle to take a couple of good shots and then wait for the animal to do some action/change a pose etc to take more pictures, the less the pictures the better as you get time to compose.
Composition in a basic learner’s stage is about lighting and surroundings. These 2 needs to be taken care, Avoid back-light ( light behind the object which falls direct on to the lens) and ensure the surroundings are well balanced to create a good background for the picture. Choose your focal points (Single or Multiple) as per the need. If u want all elements choose multiple, if you want a single object and rest blurry choose a single focus.
So all this needs to be done according to the situation /available lighting and immediate surroundings and it doesn’t happen in a day. So, take your time, animals and forests will always remain and we just have to keep practising and keep visiting to get better pictures.
A few final tips on taking pictures:
Always plan your trip in advance and ensure you are comfortable with the safari/ people and equipment.
Keep equipment in top condition/battery charged/ extra batteries /correct lenses (initially renting is always better than buying)
Enjoy the moment, if there is picture in your mind, it is easier to capture in camera
Always use tripod/monopod even for stabilised lenses, shake can be avoided. (we lose valuable moments trying to do hand held and realising the blur later)
Always play around with ISO and other settings whenever you get time on field. Only this will help you realise the difference.
Ask people for technical help. The photographers are so nice and always ready to help.
The above should help as an overview to take pictures. Happy clicking.
Then comes the processing. Which we shall explain in layman terms very soon.
An avid wildlife enthusiast, and travels regularly to the wilderness to indulge in his passion of photography.
Regular sojourns into the forests of south India have
given him ample chances to hone his skills in the art.