Nature is eternally beautiful and wildlife is everywhere. But, on top of that, I like freedom, I do not like rules & deadlines. If I would be a wedding or model photographer, I had to follow all these. In nature, you have complete freedom to explore and show your creativity. I love to travel, Nowadays, I travel a lot, at least one place in a month, so I get many subjects to capture and I can fulfil my cravings while traveling to different national parks and sanctuaries.
Retro Kolkata : First of all, thank you for accepting our invitation for an interview as our Guest Photographer. Let’s have a jump into the past. When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer and how did you go about pursuing this dream? Jayanta : I started clicking pictures with my smartphone a long ago but never thought to be a wildlife photographer at that time. I used to capture landscape, random moments from the street of Kolkata, macro, etc. It was 2018 when I felt the limitations of mobile and felt the urge to buy a Camera. I bought my first camera Nikon D7500 and an 18-140mm lens. I had not taken any images of wildlife before 2018. One day I visited Maidan for refreshment and to capture some moments. I was with my friend Raja, who had a Nikon 70-300 Lens. I tried to shoot a Black Kite in low light and I was supposed to delete that image. But, before deleting that I tried to check that in photoshop. After making some basic changes, I was stunned by the result. From that day, I started wildlife photography and I am enjoying capturing wildlife. Wildlife Photography is an expensive hobby. To pursue this hobby, you need to have a good financial backup. Not only gear and lens, but you have to pay a lot for travel and safari. By profession, I am an entrepreneur, running an IT company in Kolkata. So, I get financial backup from my business. Besides, I organize wildlife photography workshops in different national parks and also teach post-processing and basics of wildlife photography.
Retro Kolkata : Have you had any formal photography training and if not, how did you get to where you are today? Jayanta : I am a self-made photographer, but yes, I joined an online wildlife photography course by Sudhir Shivaram Sir to learn the technique of wildlife photography. I used to check others' work on social media such as Instagram, and Facebook to learn the composition, colour, angle, etc. By that, we can understand what we are missing. I love to participate in photography competitions, so that I can see how progressive my works are, and exactly what are drawbacks of mine. This is how I am improving my work as a photographer. Retro Kolkata : Why did you choose wildlife photography in particular? Jayanta : Nature is eternally beautiful and wildlife is everywhere. But, on top of that, I like freedom, I do not like rules & deadlines. If I would be a wedding or model photographer, I had to follow all these. In nature, you have complete freedom to explore and show your creativity. I love to travel, Nowadays, I travel a lot, at least one place in a month, so I get many subjects to capture and I can fulfil my cravings while traveling to different national parks and sanctuaries.
Retro Kolkata : Which part of the world have you found most exciting as a wildlife photographer? Jayanta : I have not visited any country outside India, apart from Nepal during the Red Panda expedition. As per my experience, Kaziranga National Park and Keoladeo National park are two of my first choice in terms of flora and fauna. As I've told you previously, I love to watch others' works, and I found some interesting places over the world while checking their photographs - Tanzania, Madagascar, Borneo, Masai Mara & Costa Rica are on my upcoming hitlist. Retro Kolkata : What exactly is wildlife and natural habitat conservation & why is it important? How can you as a photographer help protect wildlife and conservation? Jayanta : Whatever is raw in nature, that is wildlife. Though we are making it artificial by doing several changes. I have seen controlled burning; it is good for nature but at the same time we kill many underground species because of this fire. We shall not try to control nature. Over 7,000 species around the world are being considered endangered. As a photographer, we are trying to make people aware. A maximum of species are endangered because of habitat loss and poaching. When wildlife photographers visit national parks, they are contributing an amount to that forest. We can see many anti-poaching camps built in the forest. When we tell a story about an animal by showing the image of the same, some people may understand the value of them.
Retro Kolkata : How much research do you do prior to going out on the field? Is it important to know a lot about animal behaviour to get the perfect shot? Jayanta : It is very important to be aware of the places before visiting. You can save time and make good compositions. I do some research on social media, searching on google about the species of that particular place. When you know what you can get, you can visualize the frame. But in the end, it's nature and you can not predict. Yes, We are supposed to have good knowledge about the behaviour of the animals, it helps to capture the perfect moment. In wildlife, every second matters. We can not miss a moment that will never come twice. Retro Kolkata : What’s your go-to gear setup when out in the field? Jayanta : I use Nikon gears and Lenses - Z6ii & D7500 with 200-500 f/5.6 & 70-200 f/2.8. I prefer manual settings with auto ISO. I do not use any tripod for wildlife, I prefer handheld, and beanbag for videography.
Retro Kolkata : What are the main challenges that you face as a wildlife photographer? Jayanta : My main challenge is time. I have to manage my business and photography at the same time. Other than that, there are some challenges in nature that I love to face, such as changing light at every moment, low light conditions, and definitely the random fluctuations of climate weather. Retro Kolkata : What is the rarest animal you photographed? Are there any on your wish list that you have yet to see? Jayanta : I have captured Red Panda, which is endangered and legally protected in India, Bhutan, China, Nepal, and Myanmar. And, Hoolock Gibbon - the only Ape found in India. There are others on my list - Snow Leopard and Himalayan Brown Bear in Spiti Valley.
Retro Kolkata : What would you say your most remarkable wildlife encounter has been? Jayanta : It was 2020 in Kaziranga National Park when a mother one-horned Rhino chased our gypsy to protect her baby. The mother Rhino crossed the road, but the baby was on another side of the road. At that time mother started running towards our gypsy from the front side, A Rhino can run 50-55 km/hour. we had to move our gypsy in reverse. The same incident happened again in 2021. Retro Kolkata : What are your upcoming travel plans? Jayanta : There are few places to conduct Wildlife Photography Tours on my list. August: Jhalana Reserve Forest September: Red Panda Expedition October: Red Panda Expedition November: Sundarban National Park December: Kaziranga National Park
Retro Kolkata : What advice would you give to young photographers who are just starting out and considering pursuing a career in wildlife photography? Jayanta : First, you have to respect nature and wildlife. Do not disturb them to capture a good image. Nowadays, many photographers are getting closer to bird nests and destroying nest along with the babies. Second, Wildlife is an expensive hobby. So, if you want to make your career in wildlife, you have to spend a good amount of money and time on it. Be prepared for that. Third, if you do not have a good financial backup, start with basic gear and lens. You do not need to go to any national parks, instead explore your locality, waterbodies, and backyards. Fourth, do not wait. Start clicking. Unless you start making errors, you will never learn. Learn from your mistakes, and must not repeat them. Fifth, do not follow rules - as they are made to be broken. But, before breaking the rules, you have to learn them properly. Pablo Picasso once said, 'Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.' As an artist, it is your art, and you have the flexibility to make it presentable to the audience.
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