Least would you expect a Sales Manager working with the UB Group derive raw joy out of photographing wild animals. It is more like what they say about finding the most expected things in the least expected places. So, here is Bibhav Behera in a candid conversation with our most loved Pheel Photographer.
Read on, as the Goa based XIM Grad talks about camera, life and everything else.
Broken Scooter- How did it all start for you?
Photography for me has been pretty much a wildlife affair, with recent forays into other domains. I have always been a wildlife enthusiast and have grown up in a family where being with nature is as much a part of life as is food or sleep. I have been going to sanctuaries and national parks ever since I was 4 years old. I used to stay in Baripada then and Similipal Biosphere Reserve was pretty much a second home. That is where my love for the wildernesses started.
Serious Photography has however been a more recent domain and I have been clicking with a DSLR since 2008, and with a point and shoot for a year before that. Had earlier tried my hand with film long back but wouldn’t count that as a serious venture. So love for wildlife and photography seemed like a good fit which is where my passion amalgamated. I was guided by Mr. Sabyasachi Patra when I ventured into photography and he has been a source of inspiration ever since.
Broken Scooter – As a person from Odisha, was it very difficult to take up photography as a serious hobby/profession? What is the scope of wildlife photography /fashion /street in India?
When we speak of difficulty, two things come to mind, one obviously is the opportunity and exposure one gets and the other is the investment. I will answer them separately.
When we speak of opportunity, I believe, in Orissa itself there is so much to do, be it wildlife, fashion, products, portraiture etc. It is still in a nascent stage and immense opportunities lie within the state itself. With the advent of Digital Imaging it is easier as access to Photography equipment is more that it was in the days of film. As a person from Odisha, I see myself no less than a photographer from elsewhere. I don’t think there should be any reason to consider so as well.
Photography is an investment intensive hobby/ pursuit and can leave you lighter by many thousands to a few lakhs. So it is very important to first decide and understand what one wants to shoot and then decide on the equipment. It always pays better to invest in good lenses as the quality of an image greatly depends on it rather than on a high end body. I made the choice to invest as much as I could into lenses within my budget and then go for the body. As far as possibility of investment goes, one needs to prioritise on what one wants to do and the same applies to any state, not just Odisha.
I cannot say much about street and fashion, but for is a more specific domain of photography requiring a lot of knowledge on animal behaviour, habitats etc. It is not as rewarding in monetary terms as say fashion or wedding, portraiture etc. However in terms of amount of work to be done in India in wildlife photography, there is a huge universe that is to be explored. Documentation of rare and endangered species is crucial.
Broken Scooter– What is the craziest thing that you have done to take a photograph?
With wildlife, one often has to be careful not to disturb the subject or cause harm to its environment and habitat. The craziest moment would perhaps be in the Annamalai Range in Tamil Nadu where I was clicking the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. There was this Tahr kid sitting on a cliff surface and I wanted a close up shot of it. I climbed up on to a position on the cliff edge from where I could get a clear angle. I held on to a tree right at the end of the cliff with one hand and hung myself outward with the DSLR and the tele lens in one hand resting on the arm with which I was holding on to the tree. I fired off a few shots and had one of the most memorable moments of my life until I looked down and saw I was hanging on a cliff edge with a sheer 300 foot drop right below me. The shot was well worth it.
Broken Scooter – What continually drives you to photograph the wildlife/fashion(anything)?
We see so many great photographers around doing such brilliant work, that one wishes to push oneself to the limits to do work that is really satisfying. And with each good photo that one takes, one needs to critique it and analyse how it could be improved even further not in Post Processing but in the camera itself during the process of capture. For me the driving force is simply my love for the wild and the urge to challenge myself to be better than yesterday.
Broken Scooter – What camera/lens did you start with? Whats your current gear?
I had started off with a Samsung S1050 Point and Shoot in 2007 where I was clicking anything and everything that I came across. Then I focussed and tried to find my niche in wildlife where I started off with a Nikon D80 DSLR and an 18-135mm Lens. The lens reach was obviously low for wildlife. So I invested in a Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM lens and a Canon EOS 1000D DSLR. I then added lenses as required to my gear like Canon 100mm Macro and the 1.4x Teleconverter etc. I have now invested in a Canon EOS 7D DSLR and will be bidding adieu to my Canon EOS 1000D soon.
I currently use:
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
Canon Extender EF 1.4x II
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon EOS 1000D
Benro A2970T Tripod
Manfrotto 681B Monopod
Manfrotto 486RC2 Ball Head
Naturecraft Molar Beanbag
Bag and Accessories:
Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW Backpack
Canon RS-60E3 Remote Switch
SanDisk Extreme III SDHC Cards
Broken Scooter – Something about you which no one knows?
I have two left feet and cannot dance.
There goes a saying that you can take away a camera of a person but you can never take away the photographer in him. Bibhav is a clear example of this. This young man, despite his busy schedule, still clicks whenever he finds time and continues to inspire his peers with his work till date.
Here are a few of his unpublished photographs. Treat your eyes people!
(Please do not modify or Duplicate without prior permission from the author.)