My Life.....My Story....My Path to the Photography Journey
I was born in rural Bengal in the laps of Mother Nature. Growing up amidst the green, I love her contributions in our life. Though I am not an Entomologist by profession, watching insects/spiders and their behaviour and capturing them through my lenses is my passion now.
If I will look back down the memory lane, I could recall the childhood days when I used the magnifying glass of my grandfather to watch the beauty of the small wonders and their behaviour. Growing up as a kid from rural Bengal, I was very fond of animals. I had two dogs that used to accompany me wherever I went. Bhulo and Disco were very fond of me and followed me everywhere like my shadow. They would accompany me even up to my school. I also had a parrot, a rabbit, a mongoose and a bulbul. Life was relaxed and fun with those creatures who understood me more than anyone else.
Once the school days were over, destiny took me to a more disciplined life of a hostel. Struggle and hard work were the only mantra to survive during those days. Things moved fast…college to work to family and I found myself lost in the whirlpool of time. Once life reached the stage where destiny seemed to offer me some time for myself, I took to photography to express my gratitude towards Mother Nature, under whose ultimate care I had spent my childhood…the forest, the greens, the rains and the red soil of my village beckoned me.
October, 2014 I got my first DSLR...
And then there was no stopping…all I had to wait for was a day off wherein I would be seen hanging around Kumortuli for shooting the clay getting moulded into idols or may be strolling on the Maidan to capture some moments or walking the river shores of Babughat to get some breath-taking night shots. Not to mention, I also frequented AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden, more familiarly known as B Garden to all Bengalis, to shoot some fluttering colours of life better known as Butterflies.
This had become my daily routine until one chilly December evening as I sat to plan my next trip, someone suggested me to try out CKBS, Narendrapur. Unknown to me till then, I was told of the multiple sightings of the colourful butterflies that may catch my fancy. So next day, there I was standing at the gate of CKBS armed with only a kit lens that came along with my camera and ventured slowly into an unknown territory. What surprised me most was that I was not alone; it seemed a haven for photographers- amateur and professional alike. Slowly but steadily I dragged myself along the dry dusty paths that called for attention with the winter leaves fluttering, a variety of birds chirping around and butterflies ready to catch my attention. Amidst all the subjects that confused me, what caught my attention that day was a spider web net hanging in a corner.
I tried my best to capture the spider sitting at the centre of the web with the kit lens only. Tired and exhausted as a result of excessive touring of the vast area, I was trying to keep myself awake while returning by bus. I took out my camera and was checking my captures. I had almost missed it but what caught my eyes kept me awestruck. This little spider sat in the centre of the web taking away all my attention with its intricate physical design. I can never explain the feeling that I experienced. I felt enlightened…I heard an inner call…I smelled the red earth from my village…Bhulo and Disco barked around me as I walked down from school…the parrot and the bulbul chirped from the greens of my childhood and sitting there my mind was having a calming effect…the little spider (which I later came to know as Spiny orb weaver) helped me decide my course of photography life. It was shaping up what I was to be today…a Macro Photographer…
My focus changed…I started my studies, I concentrated on insects/spiders and their life and then I gathered courage for my macro photography journey from February, 2015. I started to learn with my own way of thoughts. It was the toughest journey …..! As a beginner, it was all random shots, whatever I got, I captured. It was not just the camera that intrigued me; I was having a great hunger in me to learn the nuances of getting the best shot. When I was not searching or shooting around, I found myself Googling through the works of famous macro photographers. I acknowledge that my first 12000 shots were not what macro photography demands! All the techniques that I have learned are based on my fieldwork and my past failures. I continue my hard work on the field silently for the betterment of my learning curve to let my success make its own presence felt. I still believe in two things…one, to be a good photographer, one needs to see good photographs. Second, the more I learn the more selective I become.
On my initial journey, it was tough and not specific. I captured whatever I saw, irrespective of the angle or light or subject position. With the passage of time, I also started studying Wild life and their moments. I wanted to blend wild life moments in my Insect/Spider Photography also. For that I expanded my scope of studies and work, I extended my knowledge and awareness and looked for adventure. Finally, my eyes started to capture what my heart wanted. The life of small creatures slowly unfurled in front of my lenses. I could capture their entire life cycle. Their eating and hunting habits, mating, laying of eggs and their birth cycle and molting …I felt they waited for me! I feel grateful to the small wonders to have taught me the beauty of God’s miniature creations. The world of these small wonders still remains unknown to most of the human world in general. And here I was blessed to have seen a fraction of them and make them immortal through my lenses. I gradually trained myself to become a self-taught Insect/Spider Photographer.
It was not an easy journey on me either. Physically it took a toll on my health. Roaming under the open sun, ignoring the pangs of thirst and hunger, weakened my immunity. The world of insects/spiders tested my patience. Moments would come on its own time…challenges were plentiful…limitations of the gear, proper background, proper light diffusion, reaching to subject close…attack from predators…all helped me shape up to what I am today…a novice in the world of Arthropod Photography as well as a Photojournalist.
Now I am a dedicated nature arthropod photographer and this is my passion. I prefer to create my own brand of documentary photography on their life which conveys an emotional connection with the small wonders and explores new avenues to create awareness among people. It is my desire to immerse myself more into my subjects in coming days to capture moments for the photo story of their behaviour that have seldom been seen before, let alone photographed.
Taking into consideration of photojournalism, presently I realized that video speaks more than simple photo-story based on moments. So I thought about capturing moments through videography wherever possible. I have started learning this new skill set. This is a different ball game with different gear set up and most challenging part is the field execution. Though technology has improved, focusing and tracking a moving subject at higher magnification is the toughest part. Maintaining right exposure is also challenging as placement of external light and controlling the light intensity for right exposure is a different learning curve. More importantly, I must find solution of gear limitation in every situation.
As I present my passion of the unknown world to each one of you, I am thankful to my parents and my village that helped me dream. I am thankful to my family for extending their support. I am thankful to all my seniors in the wildlife photography world who are a constant source of knowledge and learning. I am thankful to each one of my friends whose constant motivation pushes me towards success. Success means satisfaction in capturing the best moments and sharing with all. Success means understanding my limits. Success means working on my challenges. Success means a better presentation every time. Success means learning more from my failures.
Whether it hops, crawls, run, wriggles, slithers, swims, flies, buzzes, chirrups, grows from the ground or lives in water………….. Man needs Nature!!!
Come and peep into my observations of Small Wonders.......!!!