Archive of articles classified as' "Photography"

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From trigger happy to a bigger picture


When I first started photographing, I did it for the sheer joy of being in the jungle and the gratification of reliving the moments after getting back home. To be honest there was some kick in having your photograph up on the internet and having people look at it, comment on it. The recognition was also sub-conisously driving me to produce more content. But intrinsically it was some sort of selfish joy all through. And over time the interest in observing animals and their habitat increased. My curiosity made me more a naturalist than a photographer.

(Pic courtesy: Amit Rawal)

If you do anything for a longer period of time, the question of why you are doing what you are doing strikes prominently at some point. And of-course it did. That’s when I slowly started thinking about the larger picture and what I wanted to do.

We all agree that awareness is the key to a better planet, and as photographers we try to bring about a real picture of our world. But all through, one thing that bothered me was that the content I was publishing was mostly for people who are interested in it and more importantly people who had access. And at this point I started thinking about how to take the story to a new audience.

I identified two sets of people. One who did not have access to mass media and internet and the other which wasn’t interested in wildlife content and documentaries in the serious or academic form. This is when I started my  work with CEE (Center for Environment and Education) and addressed the first issue. We did a lot of work with the forest department in wildlife reserves and nearby villages, setting up interpretation centres and teaching photography to folks from the forest dept. were a few of those initiatives.

With CEE and MOEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) one of the most fulfilling projects I worked with was the Science Express. This train, a mobile exhibition of  bio-diversity hotspots of India toured across the country, showcasing Western Ghats among other hotspots through photographs to people all over India. Children from local schools and people who might not have ever known of the existence of western ghats could finally see and partly get an idea of the natural wealth we have. Over 2 million people have over a year seen this mobile exhibition.

While these are projects I continue to do, I now wanted to focus on the second problem. Taking the content to mass media in a not-so-serious way. The though was to take the content to people in ways that they are already comfortable with and like. Music was one such medium. With the launch of Karnataka Anthem, which was broadcasted over 6 kannada channels and got a viewership of more than 2 million, we were able to showcase our rich bio-diversity to people across Karnataka in their local channels through an Anthem, in the hope that they will remember the natural wealth every time they hum the song. The most common response we heard was that people wouldn’t  believe that all the animals show on the video were found in Karnataka!

This was the essence of the article in Education times today. Working on a very interesting project on the same lines. Watch this space for more soon!


Mumbai street photography on a mobile phone


I have always wanted to try street photography. A big camera (read DSLR) unfortunately is not the tool for it I’ve realized, the attention the camera seeks takes away from the natural expressions and ruins almost all opportunities for a candid shot. Recently when I upgraded my mobile phone to a Samsung Galaxy SII with an amazing camera and visited mumbai simultaneously, it was the perfect time for me to try my hand at street photography. This experiment is also to reiterate that the a DSLR is not always the solution and even a mobile phone can produce some amazing results…

Marine drive walkway

Juhu chowpatty

Sunset at Juhu chowpatty

No trip to Mumbai is complete without Masala Pav

And ofcourse the famous colas

Ganapati immersion procession

Boys who take the Ganapati for the immersion

The old and new, mills that make way for malls – Phoenix mall

Contrasting worlds

Madh island, the escapade from the bustling city

The ever growing city and its needs… The sealink


Experiments with technology and media


The last few months have been very interesting and exciting. Coming from a technology background and having worked with photography and filming, I’ve always felt that the line between different types of media has been fast diminishing. There are times when you want to freeze that moment and show a photograph to tell a story, other times you need the brilliance of motion and audio. There are also times when you feel you could have shown a panorama of the place to establish its beauty. Recently I had the opportunity to work with Microsoft Research Labs on their new platform which combines different types of media to create a whole new method of interactive story telling. Digital narratives is where the new technology “Rich Interactive Narratives (RIN)” is being showcased. I worked on stills, 360 degree panos, synths and video for the Hampi narrative, take a look at it and tell me how you liked it. The technology is very new and these are just some pilot projects, hopefully will be able to work on narratives for wildlife soon.

Also the new Nikon D7000 has been proving extremely good. Great image quality and amazing video. Been working on some new video projects with it which should be out soon.




Evolution is what has kept many species from disappearing from the planet. Some have evolved in the right way quickly and have managed to share this world with their predators and other threats.

Here is a brilliant example of evolution. What you see is a caterpillar of the butterfly Blue Mormon, its very difficult for caterpillars to survive to become butterflies, given their susceptibility to predators. But this caterpillar in particular has developed different strategies to survive.

The eyes you see are false eyes and helps the caterpillar look like a snake. The face in totality looks similar to a snake, you would think this is enough to keep the predators at bay. But wait until you watch the video below.

This is how the caterpillar behaves when it senses threat, it pops out a ‘Y’ shaped organ that resembles a snake’s tongue. Called Osmeterium looks like a snake’s tongue to prevent a predator attack. That’s not all, this organ emits smelly compounds believed to be pheromones which are highly pungent in nature even to humans.


Musician of the western ghats


The call of the Malabar Whistling Trush, is one of the most melodious pieces of music I’ve ever heard in nature. I’ve always wanted to photograph this bird for a long time. Photographing them can be quite challenging given that they make their homes in the deep forests of western ghats and that they are shy. Valparai is one of the best places to photograph them, as they are all around the town.

Click the play button to hear the call of the Whistling Trush

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Photography and ethics


Recently I came across an article on 10 famous doctored photos. If you read that, you’ll see one of the images in that has won an award. Now my question is how’s anyone to judge this photograph which may be photoshoped/orchestrated/setup? This is one reason I usually refrain from photography contests. Here’s a set of images photographed at a zoo. I know this is an age old debate but when I read today that a possibly doctored image had won an award I couldn’t resist.

For the first time I’ve submitted some photographs to a competition. I hope they take into consideration all the above mentioned factors and have the right people from the field to judge. I guess I shouldn’t turn too cynical without even giving it a shot :)


What’s their future?


Its been a lucky season. I’ve been fortunate in seeing and photographing young ones of a few key species found in India. The Joy of seeing a new generation of these animals in times which are hard for their survival has been an overwhelmingly emotional experience.

After a really long wait, I finally managed to be there at the right place at the right time to photograph the Baby King Cobras which had just hatched in a nest close to Agumbe.

I also made a short trip to Nagarhole where 2 leopard cubs abandoned in a sugarcane field close to the Nagarhole forest by the mother and have been rescued by the forest department.

The one question that came across my mind each time I saw them was “What’s their future?”


Leopard tales


Not many times in life does one come across opportunities like this. Wildlife is full of surprises, and one rewarded and when least expected. Having spent almost 2 weeks in the summer in Kabini and having had no luck with photographing any cats though sighted a few, I didn’t expect I’d get to shoot much in the monsoons. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. I was to see two leopards!


A new journal


So I did try be lazy and pushed the unavoidable but anyway here it is my new journal

I will still cross post to LJ until it works.

Also I haven’t put up any images lately though I’ve shot a ton. Here’s one for starters

In the summers, elephants spend a lot of time close to water. When we came to a waterhole expecting a tiger, we saw this guy playing without a care in the world. He was no farther than 200ft.

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Blue winged leaf bird


Leaf birds are one of the most difficult birds to photograph because of the green foliage it roosts in and its own color which blends with the background. Lucky to have it sitting like this.

See here if you can spot the same bird