The Better India spoke to wildlife photographers Mithun H and Sarosh Lodhi to get an insider’s perspective on wildlife photography, and how it helps promote animal conservation.
Mithun recalls how he was fascinated with animals since he was a child.
“The bug of spotting wildlife in the luscious jungles of South India caught on early. I would not leave a single opportunity, always being ready with my binoculars to gaze at the breathtaking views of nature.”
Sarosh, meanwhile, started wildlife photography in the 90s, at a time when the profession was not mainstream.
A visit to Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh with a friend showed him the beauty of animals living freely in nature.
“In a nutshell, wildlife photography is about putting the subject (animals) above the art (photography). Remember, here, the subject is not in your control,” says Sarosh.
Midhun adds, “The most crucial aspect is to respect animals. Don’t see it as a long boring wait. Instead, focus on the thrill and excitement that it brings.”
“The thrill and anticipation of developing the camera roll and witnessing the frame attracted me to this genre of photography. I knew I wanted to experience this adrenaline rush again,” he adds.
Both Sarosh and Mithun are self-taught photographers who worked diligently to hone their craft.
Mithun advises anyone looking to be a wildlife photographer, “Just take your camera, enter the jungles and start taking pictures.”
He warns budding photographers to have the right intention for clicking a picture. Focus on your frame instead of how much money it can churn out, he says.
For camera specifications, Sarosh recommends undergoing photography courses. “Learning the nuances of photography and specifications of gear will tremendously help you in a scenario when the subject is unpredictable.”
Sarosh and Mithun emphasised giving animals space in their territories. Intruding on their space can severely impact the behaviour of the species and create habitat disturbances.
“If you do not get the picture of the animal you sought to click, don’t be disheartened or adopt unethical practices to suit your needs. Do not be one animal-centric,” says Sarosh.
“Come back again the following day and wait at the same spot. The key is to sit and observe. Do not be uncaring with your despicable actions,” he adds.
For Mithun, the biggest takeaway is living in the moment. “Animals have taught me how important life is. They don’t worry about the future or brood about the past. For them, taking care of today is enough.”