Photographs: ABHIROOP GHOSH DASTIDAR
When I was young, my parents took me to all the national parks and sanctuaries in India – and thus began an ongoing love affair with nature. I remember being chased by a tusker in the middle of the night in Mudumalai. I was five years old, our vehicle was running out of fuel, and I told my aunt I would never return to the jungle. Two decades later, I was back, this time completely mesmerised.
The photograph that kickstarted my journey into wildlife photography was of a bonnet macaque in Bandipur National Park. I was with my uncle, a renowned primatologist who has been following the troops of Bandipur for almost two decades. A few monkeys climbed onto the roof of the car we were in, and one slipped and his paws landed on the windshield. I was lucky to get that shot.
Today, wildlife photography is my passion. I am addicted to nature and I feel incomplete without a camera. Taking photographs of wild animals transports me to another world. I find nature unpredictable – and it is that uncertainty that draws me in. From the North to the South, I have travelled the wide expanses of India’s forests. Kabini and Bandipur in Karnataka are my favourites; my journey into the wild began here and I am emotionally connected to these places. These wildlife-rich areas draw me to themselves every other month.
I’ve learnt over the years that patience, perseverance and passion are the key to making good images. In wildlife photography, you cannot control the environment; you have to be able to love what might be possible and embrace whatever comes your way.