Meet Rathika Ramasamy, India’s first female wildlife photographer

In an trade dominated by males, Rathika Ramasamy is main the way in which as India’s first wildlife photographer. From going through difficult conditions within the jungle to picking favourite locations for wildlife images, the intrepid shutter bug endures all of it in an effort to Journey + Leisure India and South Asia. By Pyaar Jain

Excerpts from the interview with Rathika Ramasamy:

T+L India: You might be typically credited as the primary feminine wildlife photographer from India. How did you get into this artistic area?

Rathika Ramasamy: My curiosity in images began as a pastime in class. Since then, it has developed right into a ardour. My dad gave me a digicam after I was in highschool. I used to be photographing every part – my backyard, flowers, bushes, and even the sweet my mother and father purchased! My digicam was my fixed companion every time I traveled. I used to be concerned about all types of images, however the expertise of being in nature within the nice open air led me to specialize on this style, particularly fowl images. It’s difficult, charming and enjoyable to study too.

It began round 2003 after I had the chance to go to the Bharatpur Hen Sanctuary in Rajasthan. After seeing the birds, I wished to catch them [in a photograph] So I can take pleasure in seeing them once more. I used to be additionally residing in New Delhi on the time. I used to be surrounded by birds, sanctuaries and nationwide parks which had been the primary route for migratory birds. This gave me the chance to {photograph} birds and specialise in fowl images. It has been 19 years since then, and there isn’t any turning again. The journey goes nice!

T+L India: Through the years, what modifications have you ever seen in photographing wildlife?

India's first wildlife photographer

Rathika Ramasamy: After all, the subjects are comparable, however expertise has modified – from movie cameras and digital SLRs, to utilizing mirrorless cameras to shoot within the wild! Many individuals have began utilizing digicam traps and remote-controlled cameras as nicely. It’s good for wildlife images. An increasing number of individuals are exhibiting curiosity in wildlife images and tourism. There may be better consciousness of Wildlife Day or Tiger Day. Social media has additionally helped improve the recognition of wildlife images.

However on the similar time, the variety of species has begun to say no because it started 19 years in the past. The risk to wildlife has elevated. It is very important preserve habitats to stability biodiversity. Unregulated tourism additionally takes a heavy toll on wildlife and forests. It’s not sufficient to take stunning footage. Having mentioned that, we are able to use images as a fantastic software for nature conservation. We’ve quick focus lenses and mirrorless cameras, so you will not miss a factor out within the wild. So, technologically talking, now we have nice issues occurring photographing wildlife.

T+L India: What are a number of the challenges you’ve got confronted whereas getting into this area, significantly as a lady?

Rathika Ramasamy: Fortuitously, animals aren’t sexist. Our forests are secure, so forest images is a clean journey. However, after all, in case you are mentally and bodily sturdy, then there shall be no issues. [One challenge is that] It is not a 9 to 5 job. Additionally it is troublesome to adapt to locations the place solely fundamental facilities can be found. Excessive climate situations may also be difficult. There may be a variety of gear that you have to carry round for hours. At first, it was very troublesome to be within the area for a complete day. When you get used to it, it is okay.

It is also exhausting to be a house particular person, to be away from house and to journey loads. It is all a part of the occupation. When individuals see your work profile, and when you’re good, nobody will see you as a “girl” or a “man”.

T+L India: You might be additionally the founding father of the RR Basis for Wildlife Conservation (RRFWC). Inform us extra concerning the NGO.

India's first wildlife photographer

Rathika Ramasamy: Our motto is to avoid wasting nature for the longer term. I’ve been conducting free workshops and talks on rationalization in schools and universities for the previous 15 years. I assumed it was time to present again to the wild and attain extra individuals, so the RR Wildlife Conservation Basis (RRFWC) was fashioned. We wish to create consciousness among the many youthful technology about wildlife and educate concerning the significance of wildlife conservation. We wish to present how important it’s to protect the world, utilizing photos as a medium. We conduct free workshops for kids aged 14-25 to show them the significance of biodiversity and sustainability. We wish to promote wildlife conservation by defending the livelihood developments of native communities.

T+L India: Wildlife images is usually a lonely occupation that requires hours of persistence. How do you cope with this mentally?

Rathika Ramasamy: A ardour for nature ought to be a prerequisite for wildlife images. Generally, you will not meet anybody within the woods for hours. In these hours one ought to benefit from the environment in any other case will probably be very troublesome. I like nature and really feel fortunate to be within the woods. I take pleasure in getting alternatives to see animals and be near them. I see images as a method to join with Mom Nature. For me, it is like meditation. I really feel calm and centered. Being a nature lover, I do not contemplate that an issue. Wildlife images is just not supposed for many who can’t get away from the hustle and bustle of metropolis life. I can handle as much as 30 days!

T+L India: Inform us about a few of your hardest photographs within the wild. The place and the way was it filmed?


Rathika Ramasamy: Photographing most birds requires a variety of strolling. Selecting one powerful shot is hard. One of many issues that involves thoughts is just a few years in the past after I was filming in Sikkim. I believe we had been 7000 to 8000 ft above sea stage, making an attempt to seize the Himalayas Monal. On the primary day, we had been 5,000 ft above floor stage. After that, the oxygen ranges additionally decreased. I additionally carried my 800m lens. We lastly arrived solely on the 4th or fifth day! The place did not have a correct lodge both. We weren’t certain if staying with the household could be eating or not, not to mention a correct bathe area! It was very hectic.

T+L India: Have you ever encountered any troublesome or scary conditions whereas out within the wild? How do you guarantee your security?

Rathika Ramasamy: After we enter nationwide parks and tiger reserves, it may be difficult. We have to signal compensation bonds on the safari reserving. It’s a mannequin that claims that if something occurs contained in the forest, the federal government is just not accountable. On the finish of the day, we’re coping with wild animals.

I got here throughout many toxic snakes whereas strolling on the pure fowl trails. As soon as, in 2000, I used to be climbing in Jim Corbett Nationwide Park. I used to be anxious to see the tiger. We got here to a slim street the place there was a thick forest on one facet, and on the opposite a river. Abruptly I noticed an elephant working in the direction of my automotive. The driving force began to again off, however to our reduction, the elephant circled and went in the other way. That was so scary! In a break up second, the elephant can hurl our chariot into the valley. Folks say tigers and lions are harmful, however elephants may be even worse. We’ve to be very cautious.

T+L India: With the rise of social media, do you see a shift within the mindsets and pictures of photographers?

Jim Corbett National Park

Rathika Ramasamy: If you wish to showcase your work, you’ll have to depend on print media. With the web, it is simple to give attention to your small business by way of web site, images boards, and social media websites. Earlier, inquiries had been coming by way of the location. Now, individuals are sending messages on social media DMs. Due to this fact, the way in which of approaching the shopper has additionally modified. It is vitally fascinating as a result of audience advertising is critical to succeed in the audience. Individuals are now not looking on Google; They use Instagram. Social media is nice for advertising as an artist.

For me, social media helps me attain extra individuals and get extra reputation. Folks present an curiosity in birds, mammals, and marine images. That is good! New photographers are likely to take images for documentation. It’s far more dynamic.

On the similar time, if one needs to stay constant on this area, skilled and business success ought to be sought exterior of Instagram. Updating your web site can be vital. One should stay a content material creator. Deal with images as an artwork type. I believe it is best to take pleasure in images while you see in print, particularly wildlife images. They need to be on web sites for future generations.

T+L India: How can one be extra aware and conscious within the jungle?

Rathika Ramasamy: Information of the subject material is essential. One must be dedicated. Spending extra time within the woods helps to study extra concerning the animals and birds. One should be calm and observe the foundations of the native park. Respect the forest and the woods. Observe the ethics of wildlife images. If we respect them, they may reward us.

T+L India: Your favourite vacation spot for wildlife images?

Monastery - Rathika Ramasamy

Rathika Ramasamy: that is troublesome! I like Bharatpur Hen Sanctuary for fowl images. For animals, it is at all times Jim Corbett Nationwide Park. It’s a stunning panorama and the park by no means ceases to amaze me.

T+L India: A bucket checklist vacation spot?

Rathika Ramasamy: I want to go to the Amazon rainforest no less than as soon as in my life. Borneo and Malaysia are on my bucket checklist too.

T+L India: Any recommendation for budding wildlife photographers?

Rathika Ramasamy: Look past tigers and elephants. We’ve many locations and species that aren’t but documented. Be a part of this area when you love wildlife and nature. Be meticulous with the fundamentals of images. Information of the subject material is vital. You must be capable to change your digicam settings with out wanting by way of the viewfinder; It ought to be second nature to you. My recommendation is to specialise in wildlife images if in case you have ardour and persistence. You can be rewarded with unforgettable images. On the similar time, attempt to be distinctive and constant. In case you love animals, nothing can cease you.

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