My Photography Adventures: The 5 Things I Love

It’s been a while since I’ve been out in the wild with my camera. The pressures of work and the proverbial rat race have kept me occupied the last few months. But, that itch in my fingers to pick up the camera and head out to a forest always remains. I wondered always (and got asked more often) what I liked about those numerous photography trips. So today, after a lot of thought (exactly ten minutes actually), I decided to pen those reasons down. Here goes nothing, and in no order of preference of course.

The Morning Light

Nothing is more refreshing than waking up before the sun rises, and catching the first light. Not that I am a morning person. There is just something magical about the first light. The whole forest seems to wake up at the same time and the chatter of the birds is nothing short of a musical. To me, it’s a mix of a feeling excitement for the day ahead and a sense of calmness at the same time. Not to mention, it is the best time to get some beautiful images.

Sambar deer. One foggy morning in Bharatpur, as the sun rays pierced through the trees.

Sambar deer. One foggy morning in Bharatpur, as the sun rays pierced through the trees.

The “Long” Drives

I hate driving. That was a disclaimer before I mention what I love about these drives into the wild. Usually, there is a fair bit of driving involved (and I’m not the one driving), whether we are looking around for tigers or searching for the elusive bird. I find this the perfect time to take a quick nap. It is not that I mindfully decide to doze off, rather it is just that the whole experience is so relaxing that I end up snoring. And, my friends who have been on trips with me can actually vouch for this…and my snoring.

Purbasthali lake, near Kolkata. This one because I slept on an open boat under the sun, waiting for the evening light.

Red Crested Pochard. Purbasthali lake, near Kolkata. This one because I slept on an open boat under the sun, waiting for the evening light.

The Viewfinder

For those couple of days that I am out in the wild, trying to make half-decent images, I spend most of the waking hours looking through the camera’s viewfinder. I guess I am trying to convince myself of a well quoted saying that “the most important part of any camera is the 12 inches behind it”. Not only that, I find it quite humbling when I see the natural world through that small window. It reminds of how perception can change depending on which side you view things from.

Blue Winged Siva. One of the many beautiful birds that grace the natural world.

Blue Winged Siva. One of the many beautiful birds that grace the natural world.

The “One” Image

Some people have told me that if you come back from a trip and of all the images you have clicked, 10% of those are keepers, then you’ve had a successful trip. I kind of disagree with that, as with today’s digital camera’s you end up making thousands of images in a couple of days. I am always looking for that ONE image that becomes my reference for that entire trip. It could be the one head-on image of the tiger, or the image of red-necked falcon that eluded me on previous trips. It is the one image that defined the whole trip for me.

The one that eluded me for a long time. Finally spent time with it in the Little Rann of Kutch.

Red necked Falcon. The one that eluded me for a long time. Finally spent time with it in the Little Rann of Kutch.

The Crazy Ones

And finally, how can I not mention the friends who I get to meet on these trips. Some more than others. It’s funny how one common passion can bring people with such diversity to a common ground. For those 3-4 days that we are together on a photography trip, there is nothing else but the eagerness to make good images and make the experience of it all that much more enjoyable. So here’s to my photography friends, the ones who love “bichchoo ghaas”, the ones who enjoy single malts, and to the ones we fondly address as “Guruji”… because the ones who believe they can make fantastic images…usually do!

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