A marketeer by profession, Anuroop Krishnan is a wildlife enthusiast and a photographer. He has been pursuing wildlife photography for over eight years, winning awards and recognition for his work. Anuroop has been featured in the expert panel of the leading photography magazine – Better Photography and has also won the Photographer of the Year (2012) award for macro photography. His photographs have been published in a number wildlife magazines and books in India.
Here is an excerpt of an interview with him.
Tell us about yourself and what drew you to photography, especially wildlife photography?
I am from Bangalore and live in Gurgaon now. Professionally, I am a marketeer. Photography is something I enjoy and try to do as much as I can in my free time, which unfortunately is not much. Of all of the forms of photography, I enjoy nature and wildlife the most. In fact, it is my enthusiasm for wildlife that drew me to photography.
As a kid growing up in Bangalore, I remember spending a lot of time in zoos and parks nearby. Later in school and college I furthered my interest in wildlife by becoming a part of nature/wildlife clubs. I enjoyed trekking too. So in that sense, photography is a way in which I stay in touch with wildlife, and try to share my enthusiasm for it with the people I know.
According to you, which wildlife sanctuary in India gives the best opportunity to capture the wildlife? Which animals fascinate you the most?
I think we are blessed to be living in a country like India which has a wide range of habitats – rainforests to deserts and everything in between. This in turn has led to diverse wildlife across these habitats. It would be unfair to say that one park is better than the other since each of them offer their unique set of experiences.
That being said, my favorite ecosystem is the grassland. I frequent Tal Chapar, near Sujangarh in Rajastan. Apart from a large number of blackbucks and Indian gazelle, this large grassland is well known for its birds of prey. I also like the Rann of Kutch and the variety of wildlife it holds. While it is well known for the endemic wild ass, it is also home to a large number of desert and grassland mammals. A large number of birds also flock to the Rann in winter. Apart from these two well-known grasslands, I also like to spend time in Rollapadu in Andhra Pradesh, where I have seen the Indian Wolf and the Great Indian Bustard, both iconic species of the Indian grasslands, in the year 2010. With such grasslands, tiger reserves and other protected areas, India provides ample opportunity to see wildlife. There are a lot of places around large cities that hold a number of birds, reptiles and small mammals. There are also smaller lakes and wetlands around cities, which support a diverse set of species. They all could benefit greatly if we create awareness about the life forms they hold and help maintain their habitat.
I spend a lot of my weekends exploring places like Sultanpur, Basai, Bhiwadi and Najafgarh lake only to be surprised by the things in store every time I revisit. I also enjoy photographing reptiles, amphibians and smaller forms of life. While these are found all around, and one does not necessarily need to go to any place in particular to look for them, I enjoy my trips to Agumbe, a small town in Karnataka for macro photography. It’s in the middle of the Western Ghats and is rich with life.
The opportunities for wildlife photography are many, one just needs to put in a fair bit of time, effort, and resources to plan these trips.
What kind of equipment/cameras are a must have for wildlife photographers?
Almost all of my images of mammals and birds are taken with a Canon 100-400 lens on my Canon 7D, which I have owned for about four years now. I also have a macro lens – the Canon 100mm. Lately, I am using the wide angle lens Canon 17-40 mm extensively to photograph macro subjects, because it gives a great sense of habitat. I also own a canon 6D, which I normally use to photograph macro subjects and landscapes.
Cameras, however, are only one part of the gear. Since a lot of the work I do is on foot, it is important for me to have a double strap that allows me to carry 2 camera units. I use a double strap by Black Rapid for this purpose. I have a large camera bag that accommodates all of my camera equipment, my laptop and hard disks. I think it is quite important to travel with a laptop. Not only does it help me transfer images and manage memory better, it also helps me review my images on a larger screen – evaluate images better and understand what I need to improve on when I go back in to the field. I make it a point to transfer all my images from the camera to the hard disk at the end of the day, and try to browse through images on the laptop at least once. A lot of photographers I know do not do this and suggest otherwise, but this is something I am keen on practicing.
My gear also includes a beanbag, a tripod, a gorilla-pod, a couple of remote triggers and a flash.
Any tips you’d like to share with budding wildlife photographers? What are the various professional opportunities that are available for wildlife photographers?
I consider myself to be a beginner, but from what I’ve learnt so far, this is what I’d say –
Enjoying wildlife as much as photography – I think it is important to enjoy wildlife, and understand/accept the fact that images are incidental and a mere documentation of what we’ve seen. That I was there when something magical happened is more important to me than whether or not I make a meaningful image of it. In order to understand these magical moments better, it is important to understand animal behavior. This could either be by reading up, speaking to people who spend time in the field or by spending time observing stuff. I try to understand all that I can about the animals that I plan to shoot before I head out.
Spending as much time in the field as you can – I try to spend as much time as I can taking photos of common subjects. On any weekend that I had free, I would go to a park nearby and photograph what was on offer. I think, the more I photographed, the more I understood my equipment and settings better and it came in handy when I was shooting something rare.
What has been your most memorable shoot so far? Few photographs that you’d like to share with our readers?
Well, I just got back from the Rann of Kutch, and we were photographing a family of Desert Foxes. We spent about eight days with one family, and by the end of it the family was very comfortable with our presence and I am happy with some of the images I’ve made.
Here are some amazing photographs from Anuroop’s collection.