How did you first get into photography?
I was born and brought up in a remote village close to jungles and my love for nature is by birth. That took the shape of nature photography later in my life.
Why you choose Wildlife Photography?
I started with casual landscape photography while trekking in Western Ghats ranges. Thanks to a friend of mine who introduced me to the world of SLR cameras slowly it turned into nature and wildlife photography.
How can you as photographer help protect the wildlife and conservation?
An image can speak thousand words. Images can influence decision makers. As a photographer I don’t claim lots of contribution towards conservation. I have donated several of my images to the organizations like IUCN, Arkive, and Bird Life International etc. to promote conservation projects. However, my current interests are towards pursuing nature photography as an art.
How much research do you do prior to going out on the field? Is it important to know a lot about animal behavior to get the perfect shot?
It depends on the kind of nature photography that we do. If our focus is natural history then yes study of the subject in detail and its behavior/habitat is very important. As I said my approach towards nature photography is artistic expressions. I do very little research. I just search for images from that place to get a feel for kind of visuals that we can make. Often I go wrong with my expectations. I am prepared to think in the field for long and make a few perspectives. As a subject I don’t distinguish between a tiger and an ant. I would prefer doing a compelling image of an ant than yet another image of a tiger.
What has been your favorite photo location? Are u always armed when on photo location?
I prefer a location where I have full flexibility. I would like to visit that location again and again to give shape to the visuals I have in mind and correct my mistakes if possible. From that perspective I would prefer TG Halli back waters near my home in Bangalore or my native village where I have access to a little forest and to do photography from morning to night. If I have to name a nation park Dhikala in Corbett National Park is my favorite.
What were the biggest mistakes you made when you first started out as a wildlife photographer?
I took too long to realize cameras and lenses don’t make images. In terms of focal lengths of lenses I went full circle from 28mm to 600mm f4 to 11mm and everything in between. Like everyone I was mm hungry during initial years.
Most of your photographs are in Black & White. Can you please describe about this?
I have been working on B&W images for a few years now. As hairs turn grey one tend to like B&W more I guess! I believe effective images are very simple ones. Removing the dimension of color often helps in simplifying an image. It often helps steer the eyes better over parts of the frame.
How often do you use Photoshop and how do you feel about its increasing usage in photography?
I use Photoshop or other post processing tools for every image. I have seen people claiming “no post processing done”. They try to relate such approach to yester years of using films/slides. It is a big mistake in digital photography not to post process an image. It is very essential. Post processing does not mean manipulation. Human eyes have much larger dynamic range compared to sensors inside digital camera. Post processing helps bridge that gap. Not post processing often leaves the image suboptimal. Beyond that are the discussions about digital ethics. I have defined a framework for post processing my images and sharing that alongside my images in my website.
Do you have a tip for beginner to intermediate photographers that will help them improve their wildlife photography?
Think, think and think before pressing the shutter. Set very high standard for yourself. Ruthlessly delete images, share only the best.
Can you please share happiest moments in your career with our readers?
Photography is not my career. When I make a very satisfying image that is my happiest moment. It happens occasionally. It is not about what others think about my image, it is about what I think about them – since I do it for personal satisfaction.
Which photographer has been the greatest influence on you? What set them apart for you?
I started my photography seeing and reading John Shaw’s images/books – they are very simple and beautiful. Later I became very conscious about finding my own path and not getting influenced by some other photographers’ work.
What are all the projects you are working currently, when you start a project what will be the first thing in your mind?
Honestly, I don’t have any projects at hand. However, I am planning a few coffee table books on my creations so far. Getting time is always an issue. Balancing personal life, office and photography has always been a big challenge.
What are your favorite subjects in photography other than wildlife?
Nature in general is my area of interest, nature as art to be particular.
What cameras / lenses do you use?
Initial years were slides. Today it is mainly digital SLRs. Mostly Nikon cameras – D200/D300/D700. The lenses I have ranges from 11mm to 600mm f4 and several other special purpose photography tools related to unmanned and remote photography. That said, I make images, not those lenses and cameras or other equipments!
Apart from photography, tell me about your hobbies and interests?
I try to relate other form of arts with photography. I have some interest in reading and appreciating poetry and paintings.
Thanks again for providing 121 Clicks with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
My pleasure. Wish you all good light!
You can find Ganesh on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Ganesh H. Shankar. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.