I had always wanted to write in my bulletins about the JOY that is brought in by birding and bird photography. The beauty of our subjects (birds) enthralls us, inspires us to take that one difficult step towards perfection, we love their presence in our midst and most of all we love to be in their world which is none other than being with mother nature. There is so much one learns during this process of photographing birds in the wild.
In what ever stage of bird photography that one is currently in, what I mean here is whether you have just started or already perceiving this hobby as a professional, we all share the same passion for birding and bird photography. Once this hobby gets you, it is like drug addiction, it gets in to your blood and it is very difficult for any one to put the camera down for good. That’s what will make you to get up early in the morning for that great light, make you to trek those hills and mountains with huge equipment where you feel that your back is about to break or to enter water some times neck deep to get an eye level shot or even to get dirty in slush going behind a wader. The enchanting call of a bird just draws you close to it no matter what is on the way.
If I had to tell my experiences, I had to contend with the cold and oxygen less atmosphere of Ladakh, leech filled rain forests of the Western Ghats during monsoons, insect and mosquito attacks in most wild areas, the harshness of the deserts and arid zones and also encountering snakes and other poisonous insects, most of all the pain of travel. But all these so called obstacles only create that respect and appreciation for birds which I love to photograph. Bird photography is so so rewarding because of all these obstacles. You find so much satisfaction when you have visualized a good picture before you go on a trip into the wild and get that exact picture that you dreamt of.
I always admire the words of Mr.Bikram Grewal – “You are never satisfied in birding, you always want to see more and every birding trip is a new learning experience” – he said this when we were birding in Dehradhun in 2004. I have heard from many great nature lovers how one small incident that happened in nature changed their entire life. My inspiration for birding and photography came from my father who always used to associate birds for their perfection in flight and coloration and he used to tell us how god has created them so perfectly. The last decade has been such a blessing for me when it comes to traveling and photographing birds. There have been many experiences that have touched my life for ever, one to mention here is photographing the nesting Black Necked Cranes at Ladakh.
One of the greatest things that happen to a photographer is meeting great people who share your passion. Where ever you may be looking out for birds, there will be another person out there doing the same thing. You are always bound to run into other nature lovers, birders and photographers. It is always a pleasant experience to share your experience with them and vice versa. More than sharing your joy, it’s a very pleasant experience to share your failures. This relationship due to the web, takes you across the world and different cultures. I would give meeting Suresh V and Sridhar Reddy in 2004 as good examples during my photography shoot out and after that we three have made so many trips in the wilds of India and have learned so much together.
Thanks to Digital it has made our lives so simple, you can shoot how many ever pictures you want and you see the results immediately and post processing comes in handy to correct the stupid mistakes one does in the field. Digital really doubled and tripled the joy of bird photography.
To conclude this, I have to say that I am so lucky to have come this far. Definitely thanks to my wife and daughter, and friends who have been so kind to me; and also to the birds that I love so much and for whom I have dedicated my life to…..