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Date with the wild in style: Wildlife Photographer Neeraj Bantia

Posted by Nature Lounge on

A lot of effort is required to survive in the competitive wildlife photography market of India

In the words of Neeraj Bantia...

Photography began at a very young age of 10 when I was gifted a Kodak camera point & shoot camera. It used to come with a 36-slot reel. Shooting family portraits is how my love for Photography started. I am a jeweler by profession and photography is a passion today. I love to capture memories for a lifetime through the viewfinder. 

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My discovery of the woods started as a teenager and I soon realized that I was not cut out for the club culture. My kind of holidays would be holidaying in the lap of nature. This is how my love for wildlife photography started and I decided to upgrade to a basic DSLR.

Every click evolves you as a photographer and hones your skills. So, I believe it is very important for a photographer to create that image in the head before clicking it. I respect professional full time photographers for it is no cake walk. You are in that mode all the time. I, being a part of a close-knitted family, would like to keep photography as a passion and a hobby. 

Moreover, it is not easy to survive in the wildlife photography market of India. You are required to to be a top most professional with incredible technical knowledge. So many commercial tour operators and photographers are struggling to make their mark even after so many years of starting out. 

One cannot start making one with just one DSLR camera body and a telephoto lens.

I have been following national as well as international photographers closely. I am really fortunate to have met Andy Rouse during one of my trips to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. I also look upto Steve Winter and Michael 'Nick' Nichols for their brilliant photography. 

In the Indian circle, I am a fan of Sudhir Shivram, Giri Cavale, Praveen Siddannavar, Thomas Rajan & Thomas Vijayan.

I believe that if a photographer can understand which equipment to carry during which season of the year keeping the dynamics of the park in mind. 90% of the work is done for sure. It's like a cricket bat... The right bat definitely makes u score better it's just the other aspects which needs to be implied at the right time. 

Am a canon user and my love for canon has never changed since I began my journey. I again use my equipment purely depending on which park am visiting after trying to understand the flora & fauna of that reserve. It can be either a 25-105 to 70-200 to a 200-400 or even a 500 again. But then a canon 1dx, 5dm3 & 7dm2 are my favourite for wildlife photography.

However, India today has so many wildlife photographers. Thanks to the Bollywood flick "3 Idiots" that opened many more doors got many more people to take to wildlife photography. At the same time, we are at the golden era of revolution of wildlife photography in India. We have started leaning and evolving as photographers and we have access to social media as well to showcase our work.

So when we talk about photographers selling their images, today, we have some fine prints being sold from thousands of INR to even thousands of USDs.  

And when I venture out into the wild, everything I wear needs to be camouflaged with nature, right from my attire to my camera equipment to my photography accessories: my lens coat, my arm sleeves, my balaclava, my gloves, my neck scarf, my cap/hat, to my mobile phone panel and even my footwear.       

Well, I like my date with the tigress in style.   

 

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