Join these entrepreneurs to shoot wildlife

Preeti Mehra New Delhi | Updated on July 26, 2011

Wildebeest (or wildebeest, wildebeests or wildebai, gnu) herds crossing the Mara river in Masai Mara, Kenya, Africa

Want to see and photograph the most spectacular wildlife phenomenon this August? Want to witness the moments when 1,300,000 wildebeest, 360,000 Thomson's gazelle, 191,000 zebra, and other herbivores take part in the ‘Great Migration' across the Kenyan border into Masai Mara? Or want to capture for posterity the bird life of Ladakh? You could join entrepreneurs Shivang Mehta and wife Kahini Ghosh on a one-week trip to Africa or Ladakh.

Paradise for photographers

In Africa, you could be the first ever group to camp 20 minutes away from river Mara and get enviable shots of the amazing annual ritual. In Ladakh, you could click away the relatively unknown Himalayan wildlife and birdlife. “Ladakh is a paradise from a photography perspective. It is home to rare and endangered species of mammals, with a rich diversity of wild sheep and goats. About 200 snow leopards, an endangered species, are believed to live in Ladakh. There are also a few Lynx in Ladakh's wilder areas and also the Pallas' cats – all in all, a wild adventure for any photography enthusiast,” explains Shivang.

Through their venture ‘Nature Wanderers', the couple organises guided photo-tours, shutterbug contests and workshops for a living, but with the passion that goes beyond entrepreneurship. Though they started conducting small scale events five years ago and later tied up with Cannon and Nat Geo to take groups to all the national parks of the country, this is the first photography tour to Africa.

To give clients an opportunity to film the spectacle from a vantage point, Nature Wanderers has partnered with the organisation ‘Photography Kenya' which is to make the necessary arrangements. “Africa is a treat for photographers in this period. Though there will be no photography sessions there, we provide guidance as required. Wildlife photography is one thing, but knowledge of wildlife is another,” says Shivang, who was a “corporate junkie” working for different companies including Google before he got hooked to wildlife. He has several more exotic photo-tours up his sleeve and is currently exploring Sri Lanka and the Andamans islands for whales and underwater photography.

Apart from photo-tours, Nature Wanderers is getting known for its annual photo contest with Cannon. Christened ‘Cannon Wild Clicks‘, it invites amateur photographers to participate in a contest where all participants are in the same national park and have to click pictures according to themes set for them -- a level playing field as it were. Wildlife film maker Mike Pandey heads the jury, while Cannon provides the technology inputs and the big prize – a camera. Nat Geo too pitches in with a hamper and plays the important role of showcasing the winning works in an online micro-site.

The couple runs photography workshops too at different natural locations for those using the camera the first time or wanting to advance their knowledge. “But we're choosy about our clients – they must be sensitive to the environment and are not allowed to disturb the ecological balance of the place.”

And who is the clientele? “Many are executives from IT companies and consultancy firms, while others are students, naturalists and even housewives. We believe in keeping tariffs low so that more can join in. But we want serious wild lifers – it is a naturalists' tour, not a package tour,” he says with conviction.

Published on July 26, 2011

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