Meet Rathika Ramasamy, India’s first female wildlife photographer

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

Excerpts from the interview with Rathika Ramasamy:

T+L India: You’re usually credited as the primary feminine wildlife photographer from India. How did you get into this inventive area?

Rathika Ramasamy: My curiosity in images began as a interest 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 the whole lot – my backyard, flowers, timber, and even the sweet my mother and father purchased! My digicam was my fixed companion each time I traveled. I used to be keen on all types of images, however the expertise of being in nature within the nice outdoor led me to specialize on this style, particularly fowl images. It’s difficult, fascinating and enjoyable to be taught too.

It began round 2003 after I had the chance to go to the Bharatpur Hen Sanctuary in Rajasthan. After seeing the birds, I needed to catch them [in a photograph] So I can take pleasure in seeing them once more. I used to be additionally dwelling 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 specialise in fowl images. It has been 19 years since then, and there is no turning again. The journey goes nice!

T+L India: Over time, what adjustments have you ever observed in photographing wildlife?

India's first wildlife photographer

Rathika Ramasamy: In fact, the matters 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 digicam traps and remote-controlled cameras as nicely. It’s good for wildlife images. Increasingly individuals are displaying curiosity in wildlife images and tourism. There’s higher consciousness of Wildlife Day or Tiger Day. Social media has additionally helped enhance the recognition of wildlife images.

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. You will need to preserve habitats to steadiness 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 terrific device 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 now have nice issues happening photographing wildlife.

T+L India: What are a few of the challenges you may have confronted whereas getting into this area, significantly as a lady?

Rathika Ramasamy: Luckily, animals are usually not sexist. Our forests are secure, so forest images is a clean trip. However, after all, if you’re mentally and bodily robust, then there will likely be no issues. [One challenge is that] It isn’t a 9 to 5 job. It’s also tough to adapt to locations the place solely primary facilities can be found. Excessive climate situations will also be difficult. There’s a variety of tools that you have to carry round for hours. To start with, it was very tough to be within the area for a complete day. When you get used to it, it is okay.

It is also arduous to be a house individual, to be away from residence and to journey rather a lot. It is all a part of the occupation. When folks see your work profile, and in the event you’re good, nobody will see you as a “girl” or a “man”.

T+L India: You’re 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 save lots of nature for the longer term. I’ve been conducting free workshops and talks on rationalization in faculties and universities for the previous 15 years. I assumed it was time to present again to the wild and attain extra folks, so the RR Wildlife Conservation Basis (RRFWC) was fashioned. We need to create consciousness among the many youthful era about wildlife and educate concerning 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 images is usually a lonely occupation that requires hours of endurance. How do you cope with this mentally?

Rathika Ramasamy: A ardour for nature must be a prerequisite for wildlife images. 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 will probably be very tough. I really 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 technique to join with Mom Nature. For me, it is like meditation. I really feel calm and targeted. Being a nature lover, I do not contemplate that an issue. Wildlife images isn’t 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 a number of years in the past after I was filming in Sikkim. I feel 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 could be eating or not, not to mention a correct bathe house! It was very irritating.

T+L India: Have you ever encountered any tough 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 fowl trails. As soon as, in 2000, I used to be mountain climbing 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. All of the sudden I noticed an elephant operating in the direction of my automotive. The motive force began to again off, however to our reduction, the elephant circled and went in the other way. That was so scary! In a cut up second, the elephant can hurl our chariot into the valley. Folks say tigers and lions are harmful, however elephants will 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 concentrate on your online business by means of web site, images boards, and social media websites. Earlier, inquiries have been coming by means of the positioning. Now, individuals are sending messages on social media DMs. Due to this fact, the best way of approaching the client has additionally modified. It is extremely attention-grabbing as a result of audience advertising and marketing is critical to achieve the audience. Persons are now not looking on Google; They use Instagram. Social media is nice for advertising and marketing as an artist.

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

On the identical time, if one desires to stay constant on this area, skilled and business success must be sought outdoors of Instagram. Updating your web site can be essential. One should stay a content material creator. Deal with images as an artwork kind. I feel it is best to take pleasure in pictures whenever 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 acutely aware and conscious within the jungle?

Rathika Ramasamy: Data of the subject material is essential. One must be dedicated. Spending extra time within the woods helps to be taught extra concerning the animals and birds. One should be calm and observe the principles of the native park. Respect the forest and the woods. Comply with 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 tough! I really 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 record vacation spot?

Rathika Ramasamy: I want to go to the Amazon rainforest at the least as soon as in my life. Borneo and Malaysia are on my bucket record 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 part of this area in the event you love wildlife and nature. Be meticulous with the fundamentals of images. Data of the subject is essential. You need to be capable to change your digicam settings with out trying by means of the viewfinder; It must be second nature to you. My recommendation is to specialise in wildlife images when you have ardour and persistence. You can be rewarded with unforgettable images. On the identical time, attempt to be distinctive and constant. When you love animals, nothing can cease you.

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