Wielding the camera in the wild

Published: 14th August 2013 12:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2013 12:55 PM   |  A+A-

Not many women would venture into the world of wildlife photography. Fewer still would relish the uncanny combo of wildlife photography and physics. But learning the laws of light, gravity and motion has only pepped up Aparna Purushothaman’s craze for wildlife photography.

Aparna, a physics teacher who is pursuing her PhD in the subject has a knack for spotting a rare breed of bird or animal in the deep dark wild.

Aparna’s shot of a brooding skink was selected by the Lalithakala Academy for its photographic exhibition.

In her typical domestic Malayali avatar of a physics teacher, Aparna Purushothaman defies the stereotypical image of a wildlife photographer. But, her frames speak of a different story - of beauty, perseverance and passion. She is a name to reckon with in wildlife photography in Kerala, of course among the female of the species.

Wildlife photography got into her head just a year ago on her trip to Sholayar forest with her husband. Enamoured by the beauty of the wild, she began capturing birds and animals at random. Lady Luck shone on her during the trip when her camera stumbled on a Nilgiri Marten, a rare and elusive breed of carnivore which live in the Ghats.

“That was the high point in my life. Though initially I didn’t know it was a Nilgiri Marten, the shot opened new avenues for me in the world of wildlife photography. Only very few people have spotted the species, known for their carnivorous diet, in the state. The species is listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list of threatened species,” says Aparna. When the news got out, Aparna began receiving calls from biologists and researches.

It won’t be wrong to say that the nature lover in her helped her streamline her passion for the wild.

“Exploring the wild is a wonderful experience. My journeys to Sholayar, Valparai and Aliyar forests were very edifying and a novel experience,” says Aparna who is now planning a trip to Neyyar and Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka.

She contributes pictures and matter to various wildlife online sites and for a magazine, ‘Green Leaf’, which will be published from Kochi very soon.

“I was stuck with my studies as my PhD thesis was getting delayed. I have to balance both,” says Aparna who is a physics teacher at a school in Kasargod. Aparna, however, thanks the social networking sites for helping her get a foothold.

“Facebook was of immense help. I got introduced to prominent wildlife photographers like Balan Madhavan and N A Nazir. They gave valuable suggestions. I do intend to attend nature and wildlife camps. Once I complete my PhD, I will jump into it,” says Aparna who credits her husband Ashok D, an assistant engineer with the KSEB, as the support system.

She prefers to walk the wild in a group of three. “Animals tend to run off if they sense human presence. So it is best to go in smaller groups, three or less,” says Aparna who thinks wildlife photography is the perfect medium to make the world aware of the need to conserve our waning forests and the flora and fauna.  “There is no other medium than this to spread awareness and convey the message. I view this as the perfect tool,” says Aparna.

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