Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wildlife Photography in India

Extensive travel is a must if you wish to cover a large number of  species during your photographic expedition. Indian wildlife is spread across its various states especially in distant areas with intact ecosystems. The topography is diverse hence a large number of mammalian, avian, reptilian and insect species make India there home. 

Comprehensive photography of nature in this country is a Herculean task. Specific bird or animal photography is bit less expensive and less time consuming. Filming wildlife professionally requires lot of investment and time. Extensive film production in the country's protected areas requires permission from Ministry of Environment and the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state. The is would enable a nature film company much flexibility within the law. As per permission granted filming on ground level, camera trapping and night filming may become possible.     

What facilities and flexibility are granted depends upon the MOEF and CCF hence on first instance the company should contact these offices.  Charges applied have to be paid including hefty gate fee in tiger reserves. One needs to hire local staff with skills sets suitable for the expedition. Professional naturalist guides are a necessity. Persons having experience in obtaining and executing permission or facilitating in accommodations, travel food etc can make the project a big success.    

For amateur shooting with personal video or camera a nominal charge has to be paid every time you enter the park.  Tourists need remember the usage of flash is not allowed in the park and night drives are not permitted. The season with longest day hours is the summer. From after predawn to late evening light is present with good intensity. Many professional camera men prefer this period the heat not withstanding. Rains or monsoon are difficult times for the lens men due to hampered movement, bad light condition and slush. Only those interested in monsoon assignments should time their expedition for June to 1st week of September. Rains are intense during these months.       

One need to know the sighting records of animals in India. Where would you find the target species? One needs to do lots of home work. Popular charismatic animals like tiger, lion, rhino, elephant and others can be filmed in protected areas which are meant to conserve them. Little bit of fact finding will yield lots of information.    

For bird photography the popular birding spots are the best though for rare endemic species distant travel will be required. Most of the nesting takes places in rainy season or monsoon hence greater stress. Due to flooding and slush formation travel to many places becomes very difficult.

Study of Indian wildlife will help you reach the right destination for a particular species. The country has lots of protected areas notified as National Park, Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuaries where major species are conserved. There many WLS in remote places which are a micro habitat designated for just one or two species. Hence it is good to have as much information on wildlife as possible including travel and accommodation requirements.      

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