In close touch with nature

Passionate: Ashwini Kumar Bhat Ashwini was passionate about photography since his childhood but started using the camera only after graduation. A spiderweb with dewdrops, a meadow full of wild flowers, a grasshopper perching on a plant and a cloudy sky are some of the shots that he has captured aesthetically.

What is unique about his hobby is that he goes to the same place during different seasons to capture the changing seasonal patterns. “I received basic lessons in photography from Ananth M Hegde Tattisara, who has made a name for himself in nature photography. We have now formed a team of dedicated nature photographers called ‘Landscape Wizards’.

Every weekend, we travel to the outskirts of the City, like T J Halli water tank, and click random pictures of nature. Once a year, we go to places like Kaziranga, Bharathpur and it is then that our photography skills are put to test,” he says.

He loves capturing landscapes. “Landscape photography is still in its primitive stage in India. Nature photography is mainly restricted to animals, like tigers, and birds. In Europe and Australia, landscape photography is a strong genre.  So I want to explore different landscapes in India through my lens.”

He has captured some of the rarely known places in Western Ghats. The beauty of Satothi Falls in different seasons is one of them. The panoramic image of Unchalli Falls in the moonlight is also captivating.  But why does he go to the same place again and again?

“When you visit a place the first time, the beauty of the place excites you. When you go there the second time, you are already familiar with the place and know what to shoot. On your third visit, it becomes your backyard and you explore more. I have visited Satothi several times in monsoon, winter and summer. If I visit that place again, it will have something new to offer me,” he says.

He is currently using two cameras — Nikon D700 and Nikon D300. He wants to capture the grandeur of Western Ghats and popularise some remote places through photography.

“When you capture beautiful landscapes, it helps in the growth of tourism, improves infrastructure and conserves nature. At the same time, the dramatic exposure of the place also leads to exploitation and increased tourist activity, which may spoil the pristine quality of the place. So a landscape photographer should work with a sense of responsibility,” he avers.

The support of his family has helped him a lot. “Fortunately, my parents never discouraged me even when I had to go to dangerous places. I don’t take unnecessary risks. Valleys are slippery during Monsoon, so one should be careful while capturing images,” he informs.

His dream is to shoot the Andamans and the Himalayas. “As I am working, I need to balance my work and hobby. I plan my trip a month in advance to avoid last minute hassle.

When you choose places which are protected zones, you need to take prior permission from the authorities concerned. Even after clicking thousands of pictures, I still feel the possi­bilities are endless. That is the beauty and novelty of photography,” he sums up. Ashwini Kumar can be contacted on www.landscape-wizards.com or www.sumasuta.blogspot.com

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