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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014
Wild angle view
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 03, 2013
First Published: 15:19 IST(3/9/2013)
Last Updated: 17:24 IST(3/9/2013)
Work permit: Photographing the events and nuances of the natural world needs passion for the outdoors. Without patience, time and dedication, it is impossible to get a good shot, say the grand masters of wildlife photography

The lowdown


Wildlife photographers spend time in the natural habitats of their subjects — ie mammals, birds and other ­creatures of the wild — shooting photographs. It’s a profession that requires a ­passion for wildlife, nature and ­conservation, along with ­in-depth knowledge of the subjects one is after. Given India’s richness in wildlife, our country offers ample scope for wildlife photographers to pursue their passions as professionals or hobbyists. Since wildlife ­photography is regarded as one of the most challenging forms of ­photography, right attitude and constant upgrade of ­photography skills are important to make a mark in this field. Also, you should be acutely aware of ­subject’s safe zone and local regulations if you are in ­protected areas. You have to take care of yourself and ensure the well being of the subject you are ­photographing. Wildlife photography is all about ­endurance and acute ­understanding of ­behaviour of wild animals. Therefore, one must study ­animal ­behaviour to have a better chance of anticipating action

Clockwork
3.30am: Wake up, have a cup of tea and start trek
4am: Reach previously researched site, set up camouflage and ­equipment
4.30am-8.30am: Start shooting as animals and birds start to emerge
9am: Breakfast
9.30am: Manage a few more shots before light gets too strong
11am: Retire to camp, empty memory cards
12pm: Ride to nearby resort to upload shots for magazine editor
3pm: Meet forest officials/ guides to check for animal movement
4pm: Do some reconnaissance for next day’s shoot
5pm: Grab some more shots before losing the light
8pm: Retire to camp, have dinner and sleep

The ­payoff
When one starts out, one should do as much independent work as one can. Then, one could share the work with newspapers, ­magazines, wildlife NGOs, or one could host exhibitions and enter photography contests. One could use one’s ­photographs to design cards and calendars, maybe even launch a brand. Income at this level is around Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 per month, depending on one’s ­ingenuity. Established wildlife ­photographers can earn anything between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 5 lakh a month

Skills/TRAITS
* Love for nature and animals is a prerequisite
* Extreme patience
* Presence of mind 
* Strong communication skills
* Respect for nature in all its forms
* A naturalist’s sensitivity
* Ability to blend in and maintain silence

Getting there
One can start as soon as one can lay one’s hands on a camera. Beginners can start observing their surroundings first and shoot common animals and birds. One can also join a basic ­photography course and build knowledge from there. With ­digital photography, some basic knowledge of ­computer and photo software can be useful

Institutes and URLs
* Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun;
www.wii.gov.in
* National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
www.nid.edu
* Canon Education Portal
www.usa.canon.com

Pros and cons
* Lots of travel
* Less time for family 
* Feeding one’s love of nature
* Freedom to operate ­independently
* Exposure to danger
* Contributing to saving the ­creature you love
* No steady income

Wildlife photographers should know their  subjects. It is important to have in-depth knowledge of animals, birds, their behavioural patterns and habitats --- Rathika Ramasamy, a wildlife photographer based in New Delhi


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