A date with the wild

Nature calling

A date with the wild

Suhas Premkumar has many accolades to his name – he is a certified naturalist, eco-volunteer and a wildlife photographer. He intends to reach out to people and spread awareness about the importance of protecting wild life with a motto of ‘Conservation through photography’. But his photography has a special twist to it as he enjoys clicking pictures of snakes and frogs.

“Human beings are very selfish and are only concerned about themselves. There is huge negligence towards wild life, especially snakes and frogs. People have a negative perception about these reptiles but they are extremely important for environmental balance,” he says.

His journey into wildlife photography began six years ago although he was interested in photography ever since he was four years old. After he quit his ‘safe job’ as a HR manager, he decided to take the road less travelled, which was full of challenges and struggles, and came out stronger than before. Suhas has received several recognitions and awards for his work. He has won ‘The Best Wallpaper Award’ by the National Geographic website and some of his photographs were published in the ‘National Geographic’ magazine, in the November, 2013 edition. He has also won 32 awards by Pixoto.com, some from IIT Madras on the occasion of ‘Saarang’, and at few other college fests.

Along with being a photographer and naturalist, he is also an animal rescuer. Hailing from Shikaripur, a town in Shivamogga district, where snakes often visit people’s houses, Suhas began to learn the techniques and tricks to not only help people in such situations but also rescue snakes. “Once, when I stayed at my grandmother’s place in Mysuru, a snake had entered the neighbour’s house. We called a snake charmer who had to kill it in order to rescue the people. That got me thinking as to how we can ethically ensure that both humans and snakes can be rescued. I learnt tricks from the snake charmers and YouTube videos. My first snake rescue attempt was in Mysuru; there after I have rescued several snakes in my hometown and Bengaluru,” he says.

Suhas has been associated with the Karnataka Forest Department, and has conducted conservation activities in the Sharavathi forest region of the Western Ghats, where he educated and spread awareness among the locals about snakes and frogs. He was also part of the Lion-Tailed Macaque Survey at Someshwara Wild Life Sanctuary in December 2014 and has volunteered with the ‘Karnataka Bird Festival’ in March 2015.

His job involves a lot of challenges and risks but Suhas has overcome them with his confidence and dedication. “There have been challenges like seeking legal permissions to visit the forest but after getting a certification from the Karnataka Forest Department, it has been easy. Clicking photographs of snakes and frogs in their natural form is the hardest. To capture these photographs, one has to refrain from using flash as the light blinds them, which is unethical. When clicking snake photographs, I cannot take a candid shot all the time, so I trick them, by understanding their ways and behaviour, and make them stay still for a few minutes and then capture the click. This way, I neither harm them nor do I let them harm me.”

He adds, “But having said that, it is not always easy, and I have to read about the species, do a thorough research about their behaviour and nature, and then plan the photograph. I have been bitten by snakes, leeches and have four wounds which probably will never heal, but I love what I’m doing. Conservation and photography are my passions and I will do everything it takes to bring about an awareness.” His journey so far has been a fulfilling one, with a lot more to achieve. For information, check out his Facebook page, ‘suhaaspremkumarphotography’.

Comments (+)