Meet Rathika Ramasamy, India’s first female wildlife photographer

In an business dominated by males, Rathika Ramasamy is main the way in which as India’s first wildlife photographer. From dealing with difficult conditions within the jungle to selecting favourite locations for wildlife pictures, the intrepid shutter bug endures all of it as a way to Journey + Leisure India and South Asia. By Pyaar Jain

Excerpts from the interview with Rathika Ramasamy:

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

Rathika Ramasamy: My curiosity in pictures began as a pastime at school. Since then, it has developed right into a ardour. My dad gave me a digital camera once I was in highschool. I used to be photographing the whole lot – my backyard, flowers, timber, and even the sweet my mother and father purchased! My digital camera was my fixed companion every time I traveled. I used to be focused on every kind of pictures, however the expertise of being in nature within the nice outside led me to specialize on this style, particularly chicken pictures. It’s difficult, fascinating and enjoyable to study too.

It began round 2003 once I had the chance to go to the Bharatpur Fowl Sanctuary in Rajasthan. After seeing the birds, I wished to catch them [in a photograph] So I can get pleasure from 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 have been the primary route for migratory birds. This gave me the chance to {photograph} birds and focus on chicken pictures. 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 observed in photographing wildlife?

India's first wildlife photographer

Rathika Ramasamy: In fact, the subjects are comparable, however know-how has modified – from movie cameras and digital SLRs, to utilizing mirrorless cameras to shoot within the wild! Many individuals have began utilizing digital camera traps and remote-controlled cameras as effectively. It’s good for wildlife pictures. Increasingly more persons are displaying curiosity in wildlife pictures and tourism. There may be better consciousness of Wildlife Day or Tiger Day. Social media has additionally helped enhance the recognition of wildlife pictures.

However on the identical 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 isn’t sufficient to take lovely footage. Having mentioned that, we are able to use photographs as an amazing instrument for nature conservation. We now have quick focus lenses and mirrorless cameras, so you will not miss a factor out within the wild. So, technologically talking, we have now nice issues happening photographing wildlife.

T+L India: What are a number of the challenges you have got confronted whereas getting into this subject, notably as a lady?

Rathika Ramasamy: Fortuitously, animals should not sexist. Our forests are protected, so forest pictures is a clean journey. However, in fact, if you’re mentally and bodily sturdy, then there will probably 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 numerous gear that you should carry round for hours. At first, it was very troublesome to be within the subject for an entire day. When you get used to it, it is okay.

It is also onerous to be a house particular person, to be away from house and to journey lots. It is all a part of the career. When individuals see your work profile, and if you happen to’re good, nobody will see you as a “lady” or a “man”.

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

India's first wildlife photographer

Rathika Ramasamy: Our motto is to save lots of 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 believed it was time to offer again to the wild and attain extra individuals, so the RR Wildlife Conservation Basis (RRFWC) was fashioned. We need to create consciousness among the many youthful era about wildlife and educate in regards to the significance of wildlife conservation. We need to present how important it’s to protect the world, utilizing pictures as a medium. We conduct free workshops for youngsters aged 14-25 to show them the significance of biodiversity and sustainability. We need to promote wildlife conservation by defending the livelihood developments of native communities.

T+L India: Wildlife pictures generally is a lonely career that requires hours of persistence. How do you cope with this mentally?

Rathika Ramasamy: A ardour for nature must be a prerequisite for wildlife pictures. Typically, you will not meet anybody within the woods for hours. In these hours one ought to benefit from the environment in any other case it is going to be very troublesome. I really like nature and really feel fortunate to be within the woods. I get pleasure from getting alternatives to see animals and be near them. I see pictures as a strategy to join with Mom Nature. For me, it is like meditation. I really feel calm and targeted. Being a nature lover, I do not think about that an issue. Wildlife pictures isn’t supposed for individuals who can not 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 numerous strolling. Selecting one robust shot is hard. One of many issues that involves thoughts is a number of years in the past once I was filming in Sikkim. I believe we have been 7000 to 8000 toes above sea stage, attempting to seize the Himalayas Monal. On the primary day, we have been 5,000 toes 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 resort both. We weren’t certain if staying with the household can be eating or not, not to mention a correct bathe house! It was very nerve-racking.

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 isn’t 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 chicken trails. As soon as, in 2000, I used to be mountaineering in Jim Corbett Nationwide Park. I used to be anxious to see the tiger. We got here to a slender highway the place there was a thick forest on one aspect, and on the opposite a river. Abruptly I noticed an elephant working in direction of my automobile. The driving force began to again off, however to our reduction, the elephant circled and went in the wrong 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 could be even worse. We now have 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 easy to give attention to what you are promoting by web site, pictures boards, and social media websites. Earlier, inquiries have been coming by the positioning. Now, persons are sending messages on social media DMs. Subsequently, the way in which of approaching the shopper has additionally modified. It is vitally fascinating as a result of target market advertising is critical to achieve the target market. Individuals are 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 recognition. Folks present an curiosity in birds, mammals, and marine pictures. That is good! New photographers are likely to take images for documentation. It’s far more dynamic.

On the identical time, if one desires to stay constant on this subject, skilled and business success must be sought exterior of Instagram. Updating your web site can also be essential. One should stay a content material creator. Deal with pictures as an artwork kind. I believe it is best to get pleasure from images once you see in print, particularly wildlife pictures. 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: Data of the subject material is essential. One needs to be dedicated. Spending extra time within the woods helps to study extra in regards to the animals and birds. One have to be calm and observe the foundations of the native park. Respect the forest and the woods. Comply with the ethics of wildlife pictures. If we respect them, they may reward us.

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

Monastery - Rathika Ramasamy

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

T+L India: A bucket listing vacation spot?

Rathika Ramasamy: I wish to go to the Amazon rainforest a minimum of as soon as in my life. Borneo and Malaysia are on my bucket listing too.

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

Rathika Ramasamy: Look past tigers and elephants. We now have many locations and species that aren’t but documented. Be a part of this subject if you happen to love wildlife and nature. Be meticulous with the fundamentals of pictures. Data of the subject is essential. It is best to be capable of change your digital camera settings with out wanting by the viewfinder; It must be second nature to you. My recommendation is to focus on wildlife pictures you probably have ardour and persistence. You may be rewarded with unforgettable photographs. On the identical time, attempt to be distinctive and constant. Should you love animals, nothing can cease you.

RELATED: Study all about wildlife pictures from Latika Nath, Indian A-list member of T+L