Meet Mr. Dependable. Meet Mr. Harish NN, an advocate who is also a photographer. A person who would rather have an intellectually stimulating discussion than sit around and make his life revolve around only one beat. It is also a large possibility that this discussion takes place on a safari, for that’s where he likes to be, clicking the dog years away.
He, of course, has been on the scene for some time now. Especially where and when it concerns wildlife. What with his whole family’s interest in wildlife photography, Harish actually makes trips to the forest and regards it as much of a family get together.
In the Jungles of California
Now one can’t help but question, how come a man so involved with his work and his family, and well, life got down to photography anyway. And then we know. Passion. And as always, a life experience, this time in Kenya.
“I have always loved travelling and during my college days, I would borrow my cousin’s film SLR camera while going out on treks. During October 2007 when we planned a wildlife safari to Kenya, my brother insisted that even I buy a DSLR and a decent lens. Without much idea regarding the basics of photography like ‘shutter speed’, ‘aperture’ etc., I embarked on this journey. The trip to Kenya kindled a new interest in me and I took up wildlife and bird photography as a serious hobby which has later turned into a passion.”
Passion and more
This passion was what reflected just about last year, when he won our magazine’s Photographer of the Year. The day was when he knew, that this would be more than a just a lingering passion. This also helped him talk about things, through pictures of course, other than the beasts around and he found himself in a rather ‘uncomfortable’ situation, doing street photography.
However, even after that brief stint he returned to his true passion, wildlife photography and more precisely, bird photography. He has his reasons and he actually listed them down to us. And we couldn’t help but admire his keen eye for details.
The Birdy love
He says, and with much enthusiasm “Birds are swift, restless and full of action. This is what makes bird photography a challenging task and this is what I am drawn towards.”
A rare capture
Abundance in their variety, colour, shapes and sizes make photographing them a pleasure, as would be with anyone. He adds, “looking through the lens, it helps me connect with them while I try to understand their behavioural patterns. At the same time, sheer unpredictability of their behaviour provides good photographic opportunities.”
As one knows, the difficult part of bird photography is approachability. Most birds keep a very large distance from humans and fly away the moment a camera is aimed at them. He in fact advises, “A good telephoto lens and patience are the key to getting good photographs of birds. More important is to approach in a manner that is least threatening to the bird. Let the bird relax and be at ease. A stressed bird does not make a good image.”
Meeting the Extreme
He also goes on to describe what is possibly one of the best bedtime stories, if you are up for true adventures. This one is about a tiger and this one is in the sweltering summer heat. And this is how it goes:
“Last summer, the temperatures were soaring in Bandhavgarh and on a particular day we started out in the afternoon in about 45 deg. Cel. of dry heat. We came across a situation where we knew that a tigress was looking to hunt and we had to wait in the extreme heat in the open safari vehicle for about two hours until the hunt took place.
In Kenya and also in Assam, I experienced very low temperatures early in the morning and the chill does really bite into the fingers. As a wildlife photographer you have to endure these conditions and it is important to train your mind to ignore them and focus on the job at hand. Of course, prior knowledge of the conditions helps you in preparing for the right kind of clothing or other accessories that would be required.”
At the same time, Harish also presents to us a rather simple dish. The recipe for being a decent, if not brilliant, wildlife photographer. His first tip, and this one goes out especially to the beginners, is don’t buy expensive equipment. Start basic, that is a wide angle lens, and make sure you know the environment well enough so your first click, if necessary, can be of the subject in the environment itself. Offering some other tips, he suggests and quite clearly at that, to know one’s equipment and environment well.
Personally, that is one of the best advises I have heard. Also, as he points out, it is important in wildlife photography to capture action for that provides a very good image.
Tiger at lake in South African Jungle
Last few words
Alongside, all that Harish also has a few other words and in an odd way, they sound rather inspiring. “Wildlife photography gives one an opportunity to explore animal behaviour”, and understand it.
It helps one to understand the nature of other beings, and thus, helps one grow. We say grab a camera and go out and hit the forests and have a conversation. Just make sure the conversation is between the lens and the beast, in his/ her home.
Image Copyrights: Harish NN