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It's a wild world

Bhaskar's pictures keep a pulse on the world's wildlife

Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

D. K. BHASKAR trains his Nikon on the tigers of Kumaon as the legendary Corbett once trained his rifle's sights. One of the world's most wonderful jobs but definitely not the easiest Bhaskar traded his gauges for a camera half-a-decade ago. The engineer who got interested in wildlife and landscape photography after chancing upon the intricacies of a bird nest is now travelling the wild world framing in his shoots the beauty and behaviour of animals and their landscapes.

At the Sweekar Rehabilitation Institute for the Handicapped (opp. Jubilee Bus Station), Secunderabad, where his photographs have been exhibited Bhaskar's pictures tell tales of the animal kingdom. Awarded the Raleigh International Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2003, these photographs have been published by the Oxford and New York press. His extensive travels have revealed to him the desolate beauty of lichens on the Scottish glens, elephants playing in the grasslands of Kaziranga and the lonely vigil that the almost extinct Nilgiri tahr keeps on the blue mountain peaks. Enroute to the deep, Amazonian jungles for his next assignment, Bhaskar says, "I work by instinct and use my engineering degree to further technologies for conservation. My aim is to get children to reach out to wildlife beyond their television screens. Working for the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation has helped in promoting this awareness through my pictures at the grassroots level."

The man who marches through the jungle days on end chasing a Hoollock baboon says his Nikon allows him "flexibility and versatility and is rugged enough to handle climbing trees and shooting on a sprint." His favourite photo opportunities have been in the Corbett and the Kaziranga National Parks. "They are unique grasslands and the elephants here are a photographer's delight. I'm hoping to publish a book on the popular landscapes of the Asian elephant. My work on British landscapes was an education. Nowhere can you dismiss the landscape from the animal." The 70 frames on display are centred on the theme `A day in the life of the jungle'. The sequence begins with sunrise in the Kaziranga and includes a painted stock catching fish while balanced precariously on a rock, lesser whistling teals diving for food amidst a lake replete with lotus buds and the Indian pied hornbill set against a stark sky through a network of bare branches. The red jungle fowl, a native of the Himalayan foothills is captured in colourful contrast to the green of the grass, a puffin peers over grey British cliffs and a swan is followed by her ugly ducklings. Reptiles have their say in the tawny colours of the cat snake and the slimy greenish black of the common monitor sunbathing on a tree stump. Smooth Indian otters on the run are a rare feat in contrast to finding a bonnet macaque in the wild. Instead we see it more often on temple walls and as a travelling showman in our bazaars. Sunset in the forest ends the show with a sunset unhurried and full of grandeur.

For Bhaskar whose tryst with tigers began as a young boy scout, bringing the wilds to children has become a passion. "Parents should inculcate and encourage this interest," he says. With his lens trained now on riverine landscapes he says that there is "no such thing as disappointment in wildlife photography. The world's landscapes are so different it will take more than a lifetime to get it all down on film." The exhibition, which is on from 10.30 a.m.-6.00 p.m. today is a brief journey into another world. It's a world that's most of our planet, yet we see it only so briefly.

DEEPA ALEXANDER

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