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His hobby: Shooting wild

- By Tushar Bhojwani

I was a very shy, introvert kid in school and used to get teased/criticised for almost anything and everything. When I was in Class XI, DSLR was making its way into the market and everyone was buying one and I was always attracted by the view-finder of the camera. So I convinced my father to buy me a basic level DSLR and told him that I would learn photography. I even got criticised for that by my close friends that you just buy stuff and leave it unused. I took this thing as a challenge.

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Gradually, I tried my hands on all kinds of genres of photography and one genre that stayed by me was wildlife. As a kid, I always preferred watching Discovery, BBC-wildlife over cartoons and now trying to photograph wildlife was like living the dream. Living in a city like Bhopal gave me more opportunities because of the rich flora and fauna. Then I attended a workshop organised by Sudhir Shivaram sir (one of the best wildlife photographers in the world and the best teacher anyone can get) at the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. That was a real eye-opener.

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chaayam_poster

Being one of the youngest ones in the group and getting the best shot among participants that too with basic equipment gave me such a confidence boost that there was no looking back. I started participating in many local level photography competitions and won almost every single of them. I knew this is something that is going to take me somewhere.

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After completing my schooling, I went to Mumbai for college and there I was one of the founding members of the photography club of my college which helped me get internships under great people and used to invest in wildlife equipment by the stipend I used to earn and I even won the Achievers Award for outstanding display of creative skills in my college. I recently completed six years in wildlife photography and have already published photographs in numerous magazines, newspaper, and websites. One of my biggest accomplishment will always be getting published by National Geographic and Nikon Asia.

My future goal is to do a project with National Geographic or BBC showcasing the importance of wildlife and how we can educate the new generation about the conservation of wildlife. Everything of this wouldn't have been possible without the support of my parents obviously because wildlife photography is freaking expensive and without those people who heavily criticized me and obviously me not taking this as a challenge 6 years ago.

Today also I take criticism as an indirect form of self-boasting.

A DSLR camera in your childhood ignited your passion and it's your career now. How easy or tough has the journey been?

The journey has been quite difficult because I still don’t have the best equipment available because of which I have lost many opportunities. Had I acquired that hi-tech equipment, I could have shot some amazing shots. In an accident in 2018, my lens stopped working. I had to take a break from photography for almost a year.

At any stage, did you think that photography would not work? Also, did you have a Plan B in mind?

To be honest, I never thought I would be able to come this far. Photography was always more than a passion for me and I am still waiting/trying for my first professional project. Yes, I have completed my under-graduation from Jai Hind College, Mumbai, and it has been almost 2 years since I joined my family business. I still have no idea where I will be professionally in photography. As of now, I am working hard on my Instagram page so that my images reach more people and agencies.

Wildlife photography is also about patience. How long have you waited to shoot for a particular subject?

It’s all about patience, concentration and alertness. I once waited for around 12 hours to get an image of a crane preying, but when the moment finally came, I was yawning. (I am not joking). That's how this profession is.

Finally, can you tell us some of your habits which you are proud of?

  • Discipline
  • Commitment
  • Subject knowledge
  • Knowing the limits
  • Be creative, and don't get scared to break rules. Even in photography
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