In the wild

Thiruvananthapuram native Vinaya Mohan Pillai, who took up photography as a hobby 14 years ago, has captured stunning wildlife photographs of majestic beasts

Published: 03rd March 2021 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2021 06:12 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: It’s a proven fact that taking up a hobby can keep stress at bay. For Thiruvananthapuram native Vinaya Mohan Pillai who was on the search for a worthy leisure activity to strike that perfect work-life balance, photography came calling. Fourteen years since he embarked on the pursuit, Vinaya has captured stunning wildlife photographs and has garnered a good following on Instagram.

Vinaya, who moved to Dubai after graduation, has been living abroad for the past 25 years. “Photography is one hobby which I find very relaxing. So I never want to make it a profession,” says Vinaya. He ventured into wildlife photography after trying his hand at macro, architectural and travel photography. “Wildlife photography is one genre which allows me to work calmly. I don’t have to make the animals pose, all I’ve to do is to take photographs without disturbing them,” he quips. “Also, nature transforms in a matter of seconds which makes wildlife photography unpredictable and exciting. Venturing into the forests itself is refreshing.”

Vinaya has travelled to Sri Lanka, Kenya and Kamchatka in Russia to capture many animals in action. According to him, Kenya remains one of his most favourite destinations. “However, Kamchatka has something different to offer. The brown bears feeding on salmon during the winter is a sight to behold. They store enough food this season. I photographed them in their natural element while a person stood behind me with a gun to defend if the bears attacked. I want to go there again and capture the bears when the climate is better,” says Vinaya who has had many a terrifying yet exciting experiences during his safaris.

“I was on a jeep and trying to photograph a leopard on time. Unexpectedly, it came towards me. That was frightening. It smelled my camera lens and then sat on the top of the jeep. Usually, leopards aren’t that friendly. It is an unforgettable incident,” he says. The passionate photographer hasn’t travelled for the past one year due to the pandemic and hopes to restart travelling this year. “Kamchatka and Kenya are definitely in the plans.

I wish to travel to Japan to capture the snow monkeys. Also, I want to visit Indonesia and Tanzania. This might also be the year I visit some of the tiger reserves in India. All the trips depend on my work schedules.” Vinaya calls himself a ‘budding photographer’ and might soon try his luck at street photography. “It is a bit more complicated. I wish to keep myself engaged with this hobby and who knows, I may take it seriously during my retirement life.”Vinaya’s works can be seen on Instagram @vinayamohan


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