Though photographer Manoj C. Sindagi initially chose paediatrics as his profession, he had always been the ‘camera guy’ among family and friends
For Manoj C. Sindagi, a paediatrician turned wildlife photographer, the two seemingly divergent professions are not very different from each other. “A child will only cry when it feels discomfort. It is up to you to [identify]and cure the ailment it suffers from. Similarly, when you’re taking a picture of an animal, it won’t speak to you. You need to anticipate its moves simply by observation,” he elaborates.
He was initiated into the world of the wild during the frequent trips he made as a child to the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary with his uncle, who was a professor of Botany in Mysore. He started thinking seriously about photography as a profession after wining an intercollegiate competition at IISc.
In 1998, he became part of the Youth Photographic Society, making frequent trips to Bandipur, Kabini, Corbett and other national parks in India and around the globe, capturing the natural world in its various hues.
Ever since then, he has continued exploring the rare delights of the wild. “Wildlife photography especially requires an immense amount of patience. Nature never repeats itself, and so every moment counts. You may end up waiting hours for a bird to just arrive,” he says.
Paying close attention to the surroundings, extensive research and planning ahead are paramount in wildlife photography. “Each species is dependent on the other, and every one of them is very sensitive. Sometimes the alarm calls of other animals are also cues as to which animal is nearby,” says this photographer.
For Manoj, wildlife photography is a way for him to do his bit to conserve nature. “My photographs are aimed at reflecting the beauty of nature rather than its negative aspects. I want to show people what they still have and might lose, rather than dwell on what is already lost.”
Though he initially chose paediatrics as his profession, he had always been the “camera guy” among family, friends and colleagues, he says. While being an expert wildlife photographer, he is also accomplished at landscapes, products as well as portraits. He has won best wildlife photographer for the year twice each from the BBC and Sanctuary Asia, among other accolades.
Manoj believes that digitisation has come a long way in encouraging aspiring photographers. “For eighteen years, I used an analogue camera. Film was expensive then, and took up a lot of luggage space during travel. What took 200 refrigerated rolls now takes just four memory cards. The quality is also far superior now. Moreover, post-production techniques have broadened the range for good photography,” he adds.
Since last year, he has been taking a break from field photography and has been conducting workshops for children and adults at his studio in Wilson Garden. Next on his agenda is making documentaries on wildlife for educational purposes. He can be reached at http://www.manojcsindagi.in