Meet Rathika Ramasamy, India’s first female wildlife photographer

In an trade dominated by males, Rathika Ramasamy is main the best way as India’s first wildlife photographer. From going through difficult conditions within the jungle to selecting favourite locations for wildlife pictures, the intrepid shutter bug endures all of it with a purpose 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 artistic area?

Rathika Ramasamy: My curiosity in pictures began as a passion at school. Since then, it has developed right into a ardour. My dad gave me a digicam once I was in highschool. I used to be photographing every thing – my backyard, flowers, bushes, and even the sweet my dad and mom purchased! My digicam was my fixed companion each time I traveled. I used to be eager about every kind of pictures, however the expertise of being in nature within the nice outside led me to specialize on this style, particularly fowl 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 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 had been the principle route for migratory birds. This gave me the chance to {photograph} birds and focus on fowl pictures. It has been 19 years since then, and there is not any turning again. The journey goes nice!

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

India's first wildlife photographer

Rathika Ramasamy: After all, the matters are comparable, however expertise 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 pictures. Increasingly persons are exhibiting curiosity in wildlife pictures and tourism. There’s better consciousness of Wildlife Day or Tiger Day. Social media has additionally helped improve the recognition of wildlife pictures.

However on the similar time, the variety of species has begun to say no because it started 19 years in the past. The menace to wildlife has elevated. It is very important preserve habitats to steadiness biodiversity. Unregulated tourism additionally takes a heavy toll on wildlife and forests. It isn’t sufficient to take stunning photos. Having stated that, we are able to use pictures as an awesome instrument for nature conservation. We’ve 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 number of the challenges you might have confronted whereas coming into this area, significantly as a girl?

Rathika Ramasamy: Luckily, animals should not sexist. Our forests are protected, so forest pictures is a clean experience. However, in fact, if you’re mentally and bodily robust, then there will likely be no issues. [One challenge is that] It is not a 9 to 5 job. It’s also troublesome to adapt to locations the place solely primary facilities can be found. Excessive climate situations may also be difficult. There’s a variety of tools that you want to carry round for hours. At first, it was very troublesome to be within the area for an entire day. When you get used to it, it is okay.

It is also exhausting to be a house individual, to be away from residence and to journey so much. It is all a part of the occupation. When individuals see your work profile, and should you’re good, nobody will see you as a “lady” 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 avoid wasting 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 present again to the wild and attain extra individuals, so the RR Wildlife Conservation Basis (RRFWC) was shaped. We wish to create consciousness among the many youthful technology about wildlife and educate concerning the significance of wildlife conservation. We wish 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 wish to promote wildlife conservation by defending the livelihood developments of native communities.

T+L India: Wildlife pictures is usually a lonely occupation that requires hours of persistence. How do you take care of this mentally?

Rathika Ramasamy: A ardour for nature must be a prerequisite for wildlife pictures. Generally, 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 will likely be very troublesome. 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 pictures as a approach 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 pictures will not be supposed for many 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?

tigers

Rathika Ramasamy: Photographing most birds requires a variety of 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 had been 7000 to 8000 ft above sea stage, making an attempt to seize the Himalayas Monal. On the primary day, we had been 5,000 ft 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: Once 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 will not be 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 slim street the place there was a thick forest on one aspect, and on the opposite a river. Immediately I noticed an elephant working in direction of my automotive. The driving force began to again off, however to our aid, the elephant rotated and went in the wrong 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’ve 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 simple to concentrate on your small business by way of web site, pictures boards, and social media websites. Earlier, inquiries had been coming by way of the location. Now, persons are sending messages on social media DMs. Due to this fact, the best way of approaching the client has additionally modified. It is rather fascinating as a result of audience advertising and marketing is critical to achieve the audience. Persons are now not looking out on Google; They use Instagram. Social media is nice for advertising and marketing 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 inclined to take images for documentation. It’s far more dynamic.

On the similar time, if one needs to stay constant on this area, skilled and business success must be sought exterior of Instagram. Updating your web site can also be necessary. One should stay a content material creator. Deal with pictures as an artwork type. I believe it is best to take pleasure in 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 must be dedicated. Spending extra time within the woods helps to study extra concerning the animals and birds. One have to be calm and comply with the principles of the native park. Respect the forest and the woods. Comply with the ethics of wildlife pictures. If we respect them, they’ll 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 fowl pictures. 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 checklist vacation spot?

Rathika Ramasamy: I want to go to the Amazon rainforest at the very least as soon as in my life. Borneo and Malaysia are on my bucket checklist too.

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

Rathika Ramasamy: Look past tigers and elephants. We’ve many locations and species that aren’t but documented. Be part of this area should you love wildlife and nature. Be meticulous with the fundamentals of pictures. Data of the subject is necessary. You need to have the ability to change your digicam settings with out trying by way of the viewfinder; It must be second nature to you. My recommendation is to focus on wildlife pictures in case you have ardour and persistence. You’ll be rewarded with unforgettable pictures. On the similar time, attempt to be distinctive and constant. If you happen to love animals, nothing can cease you.

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