BENGALURU: Rohit Girotra, who manages one of the finance teams at Oracle, developed an interest in photography and wildlife. “It is a hobby and a way to de-stress after work,” he says. “Today, I am an avid Nature lover and have a special corner in my heart for butterflies.” He is one of the founders of the Bangalore Butterfly Club or BBC, which has been organising walks for the past six years. The group regularly visiting places in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to watch and photograph butterflies.
He took these photographs at Doresanipalya, or JP Nagar Reserve Forest, near Bannerghatta Road. It is his favourite location, for being close to his house and for the “tremendous potential” it holds for butterflies.“Doresanipalya campus is home to more than 120 species of butterflies... and counting,” says Rohit, who has had many memorable experiences in this forested patch.
He was part of the group that captured the first images of Anomalous Nawab from Bengaluru. “Most of the founder members of the Bangalore Butterfly Club, most of the early joiners and its mentors Dr Krushnamegh Kunte and Kathikeyan S were present,” says Rohit. “We were quite deep inside the campus and had already seen quite a lot of species by then, when suddenly quite unexpectedly, this butterfly came and sat right in front of us. It posed patiently while we took our images. We initially thought it was the Common Nawab but on closer inspection by the experts, it was found to be the Anomalous Nawab.”
Then, there was the spotting of the Monkey Puzzle. “On several earlier occasions, Haneesh KM and Prashanth Bhat, both experts on larval host plants and early stages of butterflies, had visited the campus and declared that this species was likely to be seen here. But for almost four years we did not spot the species,” says Rohit. “In 2016, on one of the fortnightly walks, we found one of the species just basking in the open.”
While photographing butterflies, Rohit says, the challenge is to capture an image that has all the features which are required for identification of the butterfly. This means multiple images from different angles or getting them with open wings and closed wing, and so on. Then there is the size of the butterfly. “Some of them are smaller than your little fingernail,” says Rohit. To get the right frames, the photographer needs patience and must study the subject’s behaviour. “Always be on the lookout for opportunities,” he says.
Butterfly watching is slowly catching on. “When we started BBC almost six years back we had less than 10 members,” he says. “Today we are 400 plus and growing.”