This week on the blog, we interview the wildlife photographer Aarzoo Khurana from Delhi, India. Aarzoo started to experiment photography early in her life and quickly developed a genuine fascination for the wildlife.
Let's discover the charm of wildlife photography with Aarzoo's interview and 14 photos in full resolution!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
As a child, I had an uncanny fascination towards the camera, and when I turned 10, I started nagging my father to buy me one. When he finally gave to my demand, it got me my dream toy while the family got a photographer. Gradually, the film camera gave way to a digital point-and-shoot, which was later replaced by a Digital SLR (DSLR). I began with street photography because streets were not hard to find and they are always interesting in their own way. However, soon I turned to wildlife after I went on my first wildlife trip, and have found no reason to shift my attention elsewhere since.
Initially, I would capture domestic cats a lot, for despite cats' domesticity, the wild never really leaves them completely, which is not the case with dogs. Soon enough it was the eagles in flight -- a fascinating sight to behold. And then the baby monkeys -- the cute, curious and remarkably articulate creatures in their own little-monkey ways. Those were the three best subjects that I could easily find around my place.
For low light photography, I would toy around with smoke. I can’t quite look back and put my finger at the precise moment when I realized that it was wildlife photography that I wanted to do principally. It just happened. I kept going on wildlife trips and soon I was enjoying one trip better than the previous and so it went on. I can only say whenever I am close to nature, and behind a camera, I feel very strongly that it's where I want to be -- surrounded by nature and behind the camera recording the wild one frame at a time.
Did you try other photography styles or wildlife photography has always been your favourite one?
Like I said before, I started with street photography. I used to carry my first camera, Canon T5i along with its kit lens all across Delhi. Besides clicking in my home city, I traveled to the villages of Jaisalmer and Pushkar clicking the tribals engaged in their daily chores. Back then, I knew little about the technicalities of photography. One fine day I carried my camera to the Delhi Zoo wherein I encountered the cubs of white tigers playing in the sunlight. I stood there for about 5 hours and ended up making a few good images.
After a couple of months, my family planned a trip to Jim Corbett national park where I carried my Digital SLR and got the first chance to click in the wild. It was mesmerizing. That's where my engagement and fascination with the wildlife germinated. I started exploring the work of the established photographers in wildlife photography and came across Mr Sudhir Shivram’s Facebook page. I contacted him about his upcoming workshop in Keoladeo National Park and requested him to enroll me for it. And since my very first day in that workshop, I have cherished every moment I have spent amid the wildlife with a camera in my hand.
How different is it to work with wild animals versus people? Do you have any do's and don’ts?
Well, first and foremost, animals don’t pose for you, so it gets a little tricky to find that perfect window to release the shutter. There are times when a single shot is a taxing struggle and then there are also times when breathtaking shots happen in a flurry unexpectedly. So, that uncertainty adds to the charm of wildlife photography for me.
Being a wildlife photographer, I love nature. My dos and dons are pretty simple. I want to capture the wilderness in its natural setting without staging, baiting or disturbing the animals or their natural surroundings and habitat. The need of the hour is to understand the importance of jungles and the preservation of wildlife.
What was your favourite trip?
Frankly, every moment I spend in the wild is my favourite. I can’t pinpoint a single trip. Right from my first safari to the last, every moment I spend in the jungle is straight out of my dreams.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series or travels?
Well, I have planned to travel to Keoladeo National Park twice this season. Before that, I might go to Nagarhole Tiger Reserve in August, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in October and Corbett in November. About the workshop, I think it's too early to comment on that.
In addition, I am also toying with the idea of launching a website with content related to Environmental Law, Animal Welfare etcetera. Of course, it would also feature the pictures I click going forward together with some of my past work.
To see more from Aarzoo:
All photographs copyright Aarzoo Khurana and used with her permission.
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