Life Lessons from Wildlife Photography!
Many of us have been there, done that, scouting the jungles for subjects of interest with our bazookas and battalion of cameras! Many are in the relentless quest to capture that perfect shot of the subjects that we revere, often missing out on enjoying the subject with the best ever-lens, our very own eyes! We become a humdrum of anticipation with every excursion into the jungle, with hopes high and heart hell-bent on click-click-click.
But have we ever taken a step back from our photo-taking spree, and thought about what wildlife, and wildlife photography in specific, means to us? How often do we refrain and reflect, and enjoy the wilderness for what it is? I took a pause from my constant run and found that the realm of wildlife photography had so much to offer- a bundle of life learnings. If only, we paused and listened!
- Learn to focus: That roaring tiger within the dense foliage, as it lays in the protected shield of a bamboo thicket. And then your camera lens goes the usual zoom-unzoom, trying to find that perfect focus on the eye! How often have we come across situations when we lose focus—of ourselves, our purpose, of life in general? The answer lies in taking things in your own hands, gaining control, and regaining your life-focus back! Now that does sound similar to what you would do next- switching the lens to manual focus mode, focus in and click that clean shot in full focus!
- Look around for opportunities: How often have we gone after that perfect tiger click, and in the process missed out on the other beauties of the wild? A thing too often indeed! So do we in real life, running after that single goal, and missing out on the little joys in the process. Maybe that little wooded spider can provide you a better photo-opp than the apex predator! The idea is to constantly be on the lookout for what can truly help you fulfil your purpose or and happy! So scout for opportunities, every day, each day, whether out in the wild with your lens, or in your daily routine! This may entail dedicating time for your hobby, playing with your kids, or simply doing nothing and finding peace! appreciateSometimes, those opportunities are well-hidden, waiting to be discovered, and sometimes you need to create them, like you create an abstract image!
- Make every day different: Why do wildlife enthusiasts keep visiting the same places, yet never get bored? That’s because variety is the spice of life, and nature showcases this in plenty! Even the same place changes as per season, time of day, in fact by every hour! There’s always something new happening in the wild, no two nature-visits can be the same! This is essentially what creates numerous photography opportunities, by recreating natural history differently every moment! The same applies to our lives, who likes the repetitive mundane routine that never changes? Make every day different, even a slight change of schedule can work wonders for your physical and mental health!
- Timing is everything: A wildlife sighting is a matter of split seconds, so are certain events in life. Many accredit their successes or failures to being or not being at the right place at the right time. Gone is the moment, and it can never be recreated as-is, again. This makes it all the more important to be attentive and on the lookout for opportunities, both in the forest and in life in general! Timing is everything and thus, deserves due respect from us.
- Appreciate the small things: A tiny beetle on a leaf or a caterpillar chewing its way to becoming a butterfly—there is endless wonder even in the smallest of wildlife encounters. Macro photographers would go a step beyond and capture the miniature intricacies, looking at wildlife differently, from an insect-lens. We often tend to go after the big-ticket wins, and miss out on the joys of the small. In life, we run after big promotions, large raises, our big wins like buying a home or car. How often do we relish the joy of small items, like sharing a bucket of ice-cream with family. Look at your lens differently, and you will learn to appreciate the small joys, to be truly happy.
- Some things are best experienced than clicked: How often has it happened that you witness a wildlife spectacle, and you are bowled over; you forget to pick up your lens and watch stupefied, soaking in the scene with all your bare senses! Such is the majesty of certain wildlife encounters- you lose track of your being! In the race for the perfect pic, we miss out on such raw experiences, often forgetting that our eye is the best of lenses that each of us possesses! Similarly, most of us are hung up on clicking or capturing life moments rather than experiencing them first-hand. We miss out on the feel of being there, in the moment. And we ultimately get disconnected with nature, only treating it as a subject to be shot. We must realise that both in the wild and in life, some things are best experienced, than clicked!
As a wildlife photographer it is important to know the moment of “letting go”, that makes all the difference between a holistically engaged wildlife lover and a only-clicking-spree where only the visual senses are used, and the rest of our five senses fade into oblivion. Such a thoughtless approach is a disaster for both our wild selves and daily selves. We will end up as mere bystanders, and not embracers of the wonders of the wild and of life!
credit: Rhucha Kulkarni