They are planters, businessmen, doctors and students. They are also photographers — capturing birdlife, wildlife and landscapes. They are not sure when exactly the camera became an intrinsic part of their lives. But they are grateful for a hobby that has taken on a more serious avatar. They document local flora and fauna. Best of all, they allow the rest of the world a chance to share their work almost every day. They post photos on online Nature photography websites, use Facebook, get expert feedback and take part in online contests. Subha J. Rao meets four such photographers who've managed to strike a fine balance between routine life and the great outdoors.
Sreesh Adka, Businessman
Camera love A year ago, influenced by friends Jayaprakash and Prakash who were into wildlife photography. Uses a Canon EOS 550 D and a macro and telephoto lens.
Aha! moment Sighting two pelicans in Vedapatti tank at the fag end of the migratory season. It was sheer coincidence that I sighted them. They stayed at the tank for the half an hour I was there. It was as if they came there just for me. Nature photography has taught me a lot about conservation, and what habitat destruction does to species.
Access his work On his Facebook profile. He also takes part in various online competitions.
Favourite locations Masinagudi, Topslip, Valparai and the tanks of Coimbatore.
Nanjan Dharuman, Raises coffee, pepper and tea in the Nilgiris
Camera love Twenty-odd years, but serious about it during the past four. Uses a Nikon D 300 camera and a Sigma 150-500 mm lens and a Nikon 70-300 mm VR lens.
Aha! moment When I caught a Great hornbill in flight, with its full wingspread. That’s a rare moment. I also managed to shoot a bear from close quarters. It moved so fast, I caught its back, but that is a photo I cherish. I live amid Nature in Mullur and have been a keen birdwatcher. I’ve sighted 76 species on my farm. Now, I’ve made lots of friends who also drop by to birdwatch. Kunjapanai in the Nilgiris is a favourite spot to shoot birds.
Access his works On India Nature Watch, an online portal. Every day, he posts about three photographs, and hit the 1,000-mark recently. He loves the feedback from complete strangers when he shares information.
S. Seetharaman, Orthodontist
Camera love Since 2008. Friend K.V. Ganesan got him interested in digital photography. Another friend, Dr. O.N. Ravi from Erode, introduced him to bird photography. Uses a Nikon D700 with a 500 mm lens.
Aha! moment My first photograph of a leopard in December 2010. A tiger in Bandipur at sunset. More recently, the stork-billed kingfisher I snapped after a four-hour wait at Thatakkad. I had to crawl my way up a small mound to get my shot. Photography has changed my temperament. I am more relaxed at work and it has made me fitter.
Access his work He puts up very few pictures online, but has come out with two calendars featuring his works, with details of the species.
Rathna Varshini. C, III Year visual Communication, M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women
Camera love Since she was 13. Uses a Nikon D3X with 500 mm lens.
My grandfather G.D. Gopal introduced me to birdwatching and photography. K. Marudhachalam of Photo Centre is a huge guidance. It is thrilling to capture the images of birds in flight. I also enjoy the process of identifying birds and learning more about them. I love how birds live in harmony, and enjoy the experience of seeing Nature in close quarters.
Aha moment: When I caught three peacocks in flight in Mudumalai.
Access her work On her Facebook page and www.birdsofindia.net, her website under construction. She's put up about 300 photographs, under categories such as resident birds and migratory, as well as State-wise. Takes part in online contests and has won quite a few. She also showcases her work in exhibitions in Coimbatore and Chennai. .
Some of her works (including the rare Southern Birdwing butterfly) featured on the website of Nilgiri Biosphere Nature Park