Thursday, June 7, 2012

Biodiversity Hotspots of India

Biodiversity hotspot – the term is frequently heard but less commonly understood. I would like to explain.

A Biodiversity hotspot is an area anywhere in the world, which is biologically extremely rich, characterized by a lot of plant endemism and is under threat of habitat loss due to human encroachment. Well, to be a bit more precise, these biodiversity hotspots of the world host at least 1500 species (more than 0.5% of total world’s population) of vascular plants as endemics, nearing 60% of world’s plant, bird, animals, reptiles and amphibian species (many of them being endemic ones) and are under tremendous threat having lost more than 70% of their primary habitat. Endemism refers to an ecological state of any life form being unique to a particular geographical location. Endemic life forms are the most vulnerable to become extinct due to their restricted geographical distributions.

Globally, a lot of conservation efforts have been initiated for the protection of the endangered soecies in these biodiversity hotspot regions. World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, Global Wildlife Conservation, National Geographics, IUCN etc are amongst the world’s leading conservation organizations.

India has two such major biodiversity hotspots and they belong to the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats. Major threats of this enormous biodiversity is logging of the forests, conversion of forests to agricultural lands and other plantations. This amounts to severe habitat destruction. Now above all, these vulnerable regions are further threatened by a number of developmental activities such as roads, railways, dams etc.

The Himalayas stretch over an arc over 3000 kilometers across Pakistan, Nepal, Bhuan, Northwestern and Northeastern states of India and covers an enormous 750,000 km2 of area. The hotspot includes all of the world’s highest peaks (more than 8000 meters including the Everest) and also few of the deepest river gorges. Both the Eastern as well as the Western Himalayas are home to diverse ecosystems and thousands of different life forms.

Western Ghats is a 1600 km long mountain range running through the west coast of India. It covers the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharastra and Gujarat. These mountains cover approximately 1,40,000 sq km and is home to a number of endemic plants, animals, birds, amphibian and reptilian species. The Western Ghats is considered as one of the top ten global biodiversity hot-spots. The Western Ghats has over 450 species of birds (35% endemic), 140 mammal species (around 20% endemic) and 260 reptile species (over 60% endemic). The range also has a number of fresh water fishes and a number of invertebrates most of which are endemic to the region. Similarly, a number of amphibians are endemic to the Western Ghats and the area has become a hotspot of discovery of new species of frogs in the last decade. In the northern part of the Western Ghat range, which falls in Maharashtra, about one-third of the plants, almost half the reptiles, and more than three-fourths of the amphibians known in India are found in this narrow strip of rainforest just off the west coast.

After decades of research, scientists have not been able to discover even 15% of all possible forms of life on Earth. While we know about 1.7 million species on Earth, the estimated figure of possible life forms is 10 millions. Thousands of species will get extinct even before they could be discovered, identified or catalogued.

Question arises, how conservation photography can help? Conservation photography is a blend of art of wildlife photography and the science of natural history documentary photography. Conservation photography can work as a tool for the non scientist and non biologist community to contribute enormously for building up a rich database. “India’s Most Wanted” is an offshoot of this project and is now live !!! Dr Caesar Photography is inviting all photographers across India to contribute photographs of the most endangered species of the country to this platform. We also have regular expeditions being conducted in the Western Ghats and also in the North Eastern rainforests and Eastern Himalayas.

We are just facilitators for a worldwide movement, doing our little bit.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Raymond's visit to India - a report

Raymond’s visit to India was an enlightening experience. It was a massive multi-city project planned which needed rigorous groundwork of almost 6 months to ensure that the project brings in nearing 300 Indian Wildlife photographers together and also helps them to understand the international standards and patterns of creative wildlife photography. The project was crafted with an objective to evaluate our own skillsets against the International benchmarks which was well demonstrated during the series of seminars that we conducted. We are happy to understand that this project has established a platform for all Indian wildlife photographers to escalate their work to the next orbit.

Panasonic Experience Center, Mumbai, witnessed hundred plus wildlife photographers from
Maharashtra and Gujarat, pouring in on 29th of April 2012. Mumbai was immediately followed by Kolkata and then Delhi, where again we got amazing responses from the participants. We were speechless to realize that participants had travelled for thousands of kilometers to attend this workshop. I don’t know whether we could match upto everyone’s expectations, but the feedback received so far says in 99% of cases – bravo !! So… we are happy !

We were a team of 12 at Pangot and Sat Tal – the birding heavens of India. We had a rocking 4 days there with the Himalayan small beauties. The beautiful resorts at both places along with the amazing avifauna of the sub Himalayan coniferous forests kept us mesmerized for 4 days. Raymond’s one to one interaction and personalized guidance for each participant on creative wildlife photography were highly appreciated. One our participants recorded nearing 70 species of birds during her stay – the list as she mailed us is as follows

Ashy Bulbul
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Asian Koel
Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Bar tailed Tree creeper
Black Bulbul
Black Drongo
Black faced Warbler
Black headed Jay
Black lored Tit
Black throated Sunbird
Blue Throated Barbet
Black throated Tit
Blue throated Flycatcher
Blue whistling Thrush
Blue winged Minla
Chestnut bellied Nuthatch
Collared Owlet
Common Hoopoe
Eurasian Blackbird
Eurasian Jay
Fire tailed Sunbird
Gray Bushshat

Gray Headed Canary Flycatcher
Gray headed Warbler
Gray Treepie
Great BarbetGray winged Blackbird
Green backed Tit
Hill Patridge
Hill Prinia
Himalayan Bulbul
Himalayan Crested Kingfisher
Himalayan Griffon
Himalayan Woodpecker
House sparrow
Jungle Myna
Khalij Pheasant
Koklass Pheasant
Large Billed Crow
Lesser Coucal
Mistle Thrush
Orange Headed Thrush
Oriental Cuckoo
Oriental Magpie Robin
Oriental Turtle Dove
Oriental White eye
Plum Headed ParakeetPied Bushchat
Plumbeous water Redstart
Red Billed Blue Magpie
Red Junglefowl

Red billed Leiothrix
Russet Sparrow
Siberian Stonechat
Slaty Headed Parakeet
Speckled wood Pigeon
Spot winged Tit
Spotted Dove
Streaked Laughing Thrush
Striated Laughing Thrush
Ultramarine Flycatcher
Verditer Flycatcher
White Crested Laughing ThrushWedge tailed Green Pigeon
White throated Flycatcher
White throated Laughing Thrush
Yellow Wagtail

We are extremely happy about the overall response though it wasn’t a cakewalk. We are planning for more ‘on field’ projects in future in India along with Raymond Barlow.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wildlife photography as a career in India

Wildlife photography as a career in India, used to sound like a dream a couple of years back. Lucky had been those who could persuade their profession and passion simultaneously. For most, wildlife and wildlife photography remained as a childhood passion and one amongst the many lost dreams condemned by our professional pursuits.

Today the trend is visibly changing. More and more people have started thinking differently; many have started taking serious interest in learning photography and adopting wildlife photography as a full time carrier. Today, we can see endless opportunities for a wildlife photographer from print media to graphic designing, from exhibitions to stock photography, from photo tours to guided expeditions, from organized camps to sponsored projects, from natural history to conservation photography, from research to film making – options are too many.

However, building a career in wildlife photography definitely demands the photographs to stand out amongst thousands and hand holding and personalized knowledge sharing helps one to improvise and excel – and hence this effort.

In the country, there are maestros in wildlife photography who have taken Indian wildlife photographers to an international platform. These masters are making their best efforts to disseminate knowledge amongst the new comers. Budding photographers and amateurs are enthusiastic about it but limited resources and the cost of it becomes a major challenge.

www.drcaesarphotography.com is now a strong team comprising of established wildlife photographers, naturalists, conservationists, biologists and veterans in the field of digital photography. Having travelled through the same road, we understand the hurdles and challenges faced in taking this hobby to the next orbit. We, as a team, are putting our honest efforts to make photography learning available to the enthusiasts and amateurs at an affordable cost.

We have initiated a country wide chain of Wildlife Photography workshops, Photography tours and expeditions in multiple locations across Indian geography and hence we are looking for naturalists, biologists, conservationists, skilled wildlife photographers and other experts who would be interested in associating with us. We have an existing platform and a well recognized brand which has been doing exceedingly well in the field of wildlife photography and we aspire to be the best in the country. If you are interested in associating with us, do send us a mail to jobs@drcaesarphotography.com

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Raymond Barlow workshop at Pangot and Sat Tal - May, 2012
















Thank you for your interest in joining us for the Raymond Barlow series of seminar and workshops – India 2012.


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS OF PANGOT SAT TAL WORKSHOP


Pangot is a small village 15 km from Nainital, 50 km from Kathgodam and 80 km from the very well known Corbett National Park. Sat Tal (Hindi - seven lakes) is situated in the lower Himalayan range and the place has a group of seven freshwater lakes situated at an altitude of 1440 metres. Both the places, with its dense pine and oak forest, are undoubtedly the birding heavens of the country and offer a spectacular avifauna along with the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas.

May is the best season to be there … I am sure, you will have an unforgettable birding experience with Raymond Barlow this year.


ITINERARY


DAY 01: KATHGODAM - PANGOT

The train reaches Kathgodam early in the morning. Our naturalist will be there to receive you. We then drive to Pangot through Nainital. The entire drive from Nainital is through the forested area of Cheena Peak Range via Snow View Point and Kilbury. This area is very rich in Himalayan avifauna and one can witness the abundance of Crested Woodpeckers, Greater Yellownapes, large flocks of Slaty-Headed Parakeets, numerous Spotted and Oriental Turtle Doves, Grey Bushchats, Russet Sparrows, Cuckoos, Grey Treepies, Black-Headed Jays, Maroon Orioles, Large Cuckoo Shrikes, Tits such as Rufous-Naped, Black-Throated & Yellow-Browed and smaller numbers of Black-Lored and Green-Backed Tits, White-tailed nuthatches, Chestnut Bellied Nuthatches, Bar-Tailed Treecreepers and so many more.

A round of interaction with Raymond at the lodge will be followed by evening birding. Overnight stay at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge.

Meals: Lunch & Dinner


DAY 02: PANGOT - SAT TAL

Drive to Sat Tal (2 hours) in the morning. Birding along the way and then birding with Raymond around Sat Tal. One can see a variety of Himalayan species along the way such as Lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, Blue-Winged Minla, Spotted & Slaty-Backed Forktail, Rufous-Bellied Woodpecker, Rufous-Bellied Niltava, Khalij Pheasant, variety of thrushes etc. More than 200 species have been recorded at Pangot and surrounding areas. The numerous perennial & seasonal creeks are home to an amazing variety of flora and fauna including the Leopard, Yellow-Throated Himalayan Marten, Himalayan Palm Civet, Ghoral, Barking Deer, Sambhar, Red Fox etc. Overnight stay in Sattal Birding Lodge.

Meals: breakfast, lunch & dinner


DAY 03: SATTAL - NIGHLAT - KAINCHI TEMPLE (APPROX. 20 KMS)

Another a marvelous morning to start with, cover the area near Sattal lake for Chestnut headed tesia. Proceed further to Kainchi temple. Ample possibility of sighting Orange headed thrush, Tickell's thrush, Common rosefinch, Pinkbrowed rosefinch, Crested kingfisher, Brown dipper and many more. Back to the lodge after a great day with your camera with Raymond. Overnight at Sattal Birding Camp.

Meals : Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner


DAY 04: SAT TAL - KATHGODAM

Today is the last day of your Raymond Barlow experience. One can see a variety of Himalayan species such as Red-Breasted Accentor, Chestnut-Headed Tesia, Greater & Lesser Yellow-Naped Woodpecker, Blue-Throated Barbet, Rufous-Chinned Laughing Thrush, Black Bulbul, Dark-Throated Thrush etc. After lunch you will be transferred to to Kathgodam Station to connect overnight train to Delhi or next destination.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch


TRAIN OPTIONS (NOT INCLUDED IN PACKAGE)

1. Delhi to Kathgodam - Ranikhet Express / 15013 - departure 22:40 hrs, reaches Kathgodam at 05:10 hrs on Day 2

2. Delhi to Kathgodam - Utr Sampark Express / 15035 - departure 16:00 hrs, reaches Kathgodam at 22:40 hrs same day

3. Kathgodam to Delhi - Utr Sampark Express / 15036 - departure 8:50 hrs, reaches Delhi at 15:20 hrs same day

4. Kathgodam to Delhi - Ranikhet Express / 15014 - departure 20:40 hrs, reaches Delhi at 3:55 hrs on Day 2


PACKAGE COST INCLUDES

1. 01 Night stay (Stay on twin sharing basis) at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge, Pangot
2. 02 Nights stay (Stay on twin sharing basis) at Sat Tal Birding Lodge, Sat Tal
3. Meals - As per the Itinerary
4. Dedicated services of Birding guide for 3 Days
5. Dedicated Services of Innova Car for 3 Days (Kathgodam - Kathgodam)
6. All Government Taxes

… and above all – a Raymond Barlow experience !!


KNOW MORE ABOUT RAY AND HIS WORK

http://www.raymondbarlow.com
http://raymondbarlow.blogspot.com
http://raymondbarlowhomepage.blogspot.com
http://photographersonlinemagazine.blogspot.com
http://www.pbase.com/raymondjbarlow

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Raymond Barlow comes to India - May 2012










The master of Creative Wildlife Photography techniques – ‘Raymond Barlow’ - conducting photography workshops for photographers around the world... Africa, Yellowstone, Newfoundland, Florida, British Columbia, Costa Rica and finally...

….. Dr Caesar Photography presents - Raymond Barlow to all my dear friends in INDIA.

Ray, an international celebrity in the field of wildlife photography, helps photographers across the world to polish their creative talents. Ray specializes in creative wildlife photography... highlights of his visit will be 'Exposure with Birding', 'Autofocus management for bird photography', 'Birds in Flight techniques', 'Creative imaging', 'Equipments', 'Hand held techniques', 'Understanding RAW files' and 'Digital medium processing and workflow',

Ray is coming to India and we plan to do a series of "RAYMOND BARLOW PHOTOGRAPHY SEMINARS" in three major cities - Mumbai > Kolkata > Delhi. I am afraid, seats are going to get exhausted too fast and I insist, you must register yourself now to secure your seats. You can register yourself without paying any money right at this moment. We will announce the payment process very soon. The tentative registration fee for these seminars is an unbelievably low Rs 1050.

Please note, we plan to extend these seminars to a 3 nights 4 days workshop to PANGOT, SAT TAL... the birding heavens... where we shall have only 8 seats ! Approximate cost for the field workshop would be Rs 25,000 for a Ray Balow experience in Pangot and Sat Tal …. !!! Hmmm … Raymond Barlow ... and Pangot, Sat Tal ... does that sound like a irresistible combination????

I know it does ... make sure you register before the seats are over.

(Mumbai / Kolkata / Delhi - 100 registrations will be accepted per location !)


DATES

  • Mumbai – 29th April 2012
  • Kolkata – 30th April 2012
  • Delhi – 1st May 2012
  • Pangot and Sat Tal – 3rd to 6th May 2012

* Subject to change under unavoidable circumstances


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS OF SEMINARS

  1. Auto focus management for Bird Photography
  2. Exposure balance in Bird Photography
  3. Birds and Wildlife skill set improvement
  4. The Digital medium - Processing and Work Flow
  5. Creative Wildlife Photography
  6. Understanding Raw files


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS OF PANGOT SAT TAL WORKSHOP

Day 1 - bird photography at Pangot and 1 night luxurious stay at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge, Pangot

Day 2 and 3 - bird photography at Sat Tal and 2 Nights luxurious stay at Sat Tal Birding Lodge, Sat Tal

The cost (Kathgodam - Kathgodam) mentioned includes all bird photography training, all meals as per the itinerary, dedicated services of local birding guide for 3 Days, dedicated vehicle for local transport for 3 days and above all ... a Raymond Barlow experience !!!


REGISTRATION

Registering your self is a MUST. Please click on the below link to register yourself.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER YOURSELF


Please select your preferred seminar / workshop and fill in all details to register yourself. In case you wish to attend in more than one location, please ensure you mention the same in remarks column.

For all inquiries please mail us at info@drcaesarphotography.com and ray@raymondbarlow.com


REGISTRATION FEES

  • Mumbai – Rs 1050 per head
  • Kolkata – Rs 1050 per head
  • Delhi – Rs 1050 per head
  • Pangot and Sat Tal – Rs 25,000 per head

* The cost of Pangot and Sat Tal (Kathgodam - Kathgodam) mentioned includes all bird photography training, all meals as per the itinerary, dedicated services of local birding guide for 3 Days, dedicated vehicle for local transport for 3 days and above all ... a Raymond Barlow experience !!!

PAYMENT PROCESS

Pay to : Caesar Sengupta
Account no. 911010061760341
Bank name: Axis Bank
Branch name: CBD Belapur
Branch address: Ground floor, Ellora Commercial Unit 1-4, Plot no. 27,
Sector 11, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai - 400614, Maharashtra, India
MICR Code: 400211068
IFSC Code: UTIB0000861


VENUE

Will be announced soon


KNOW MORE ABOUT RAY AND HIS WORK

http://www.raymondbarlow.com

http://raymondbarlow.blogspot.com

http://raymondbarlowhomepage.blogspot.com

http://photographersonlinemagazine.blogspot.com

http://www.pbase.com/raymondjbarlow

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dr Caesar Photography - from the diaries ...

Wildlife photography as a career in India, used to sound like a dream a couple of years back. Lucky had been those who could persuade their profession and passion simultaneously. For most, wildlife and wildlife photography remained as a childhood passion and one amongst the many lost dreams condemned by our professional pursuits.

However, building a career in wildlife photography definitely demands the photographs to stand out amongst thousands and hand holding and personalized knowledge sharing helps one to improvise and excel – and hence this effort.

Today the trend is visibly changing. More and more people have started thinking differently; many have started taking serious interest in learning photography and adopting wildlife photography as a full time career.


In the country, there are maestros in wildlife photography who have taken Indian wildlife photographers to an international platform. These masters are making their best efforts to disseminate knowledge amongst the new comers. Budding photographers and amateurs are enthusiastic about it but limited resources and the cost of it becomes a major challenge.a full time carrier. Today, we can see endless opportunities for a wildlife photographer from print media to graphic designing, from exhibitions to stock photography, from photo tours to guided expeditions, from organized camps to sponsored projects, from natural history to conservation photography, from research to film making – options are too many.

www.drcaesarphotography.com is now a strong team comprising of established wildlife photographers, naturalists, conservationists, biologists of the country and veterans in the field of digital photography. Having travelled through the same road, we understand the hurdles and challenges faced in taking this hobby to the next orbit. We, as a team, are putting our honest efforts to make wildlife and wildlife photography learning available to the enthusiasts and amateurs in multiple locations of the country at an affordable cost.

We have initiated a country wide chain of Wildlife Photography workshops, Photography tours and expeditions in multiple locations across the Indian geography with a focused objective of guiding and educating wildlife enthusiasts about natural history, biodiversity and importance of conservation.


I thank all for the motivation and appreciation extended since www.drcaesarphotography.com has gone live. We aspire to achieve newer heights in the coming years towards this objective.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lost Amphibians of India - Nationwide search !!



















Life happened on earth 3.5 billion years back and human life came in much later. In spite of scientific progress, about 70% of species still remain undiscovered and nameless. We have discovered about 1.7 million species on land and in water. So what remains undiscovered is a huge portion of our biodiversity. Against the background of still unknown richness of biodiversity, this century has witnessed rapid extinctions of species. Millions of species are disappearing directly as a result of human destruction of natural habitats.

There are about 7000 species of known amphibians. Among vertebrates, they are the third largest group – after fishes and birds. Many amphibians are yet to be discovered and many aspects of the known species are unknown. On the express road to discoveries, descriptions and conservation action is an urgent need.

Amphibians were the first vertebrates to venture out onto land. The earliest amphibians resembled modern coelacanth and lungfish both of which have leg-like fins that enabled them to crawl on land. Once acquiring solid land, these animals underwent drastic adaptations that sowed the seeds for the evolution of all higher group of vertebrates. Though small in size, amphibians have successfully survived the massive upheavals on earth which wiped out the midgets as well as giants like dinosaurs. Currently, these hardy survivors of cataclysmic events are helpless to handle habitat destruction that threatens them with extinction. As agents of this massive habitat destruction, it is high time that we take action and conserve these beautiful creatures before they go extinct.

Amphibians fascinate us not only because they have lived on this earth longer than us but also because of their beauty, behaviour and biological characteristics. Many amphibian activities have human friendly results: they control pests of agriculture and vectors of diseases like malaria. They contribute to healthy ecosystems by being a vital link between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Amphibians are also an asset to biomedical research; by studying the permeable skin of amphibians, scientists have made advancements towards potential painkillers, HIV and skin cancer treatments. Frogs are indicators of ecosystem health. Silence of frogs is a loud message that something is seriously wrong with our ecosystems.


SEARCH FOR THE LOST AMPHIBIANS

Teams of scientists and naturalists from India have started the lost amphibian search. This initiative is launched with the hope of rediscovering over 50 species of lost amphibians in India. These animals are feared to be extinct but there is hope that some may be holding on in a few remote places. This search, which is taking place in 15 states of India, is the first ever coordinated effort to find such a large number of lost creatures. Globally amphibian populations are on a shocking decline – with more than 30 per cent of all species threatened with extinction. Lost Amphibians of India (LAI) initiative currently has about 200 members . It has already conducted eight expeditions and is planning 25 more expeditions within two months before
monsoon ends.


ABOUT CHIEF COORDINATOR - LAI

Sathyabhama Das Biju (SD Biju) is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Biology (Systematics Lab http://www.frogindia.org/), University of Delhi. He has a PhD in Biology (Animal Science: Amphibians) from Vrije Universiteit (Brussels) with the greatest distinction, as well as a PhD in Botany from Calicut University in plant systematics. He is also Scientific Associate at the British Museum of Natural History, London and a visiting researcher/faculty at Vrije Universiteit, Brussels. SD Biju specializes in systematics of Indian amphibians, with over 25 years of field experience. He discovered over 100 new species of amphibians (46 formally described till 2011), including the description of a new family, six new genera and the smallest Indian tetrapod. SD Biju is the recipient of the prestigious IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group’s Sabin Award for the year 2008 in recognition of his amphibian research and conservation initiatives. The award carried a cash prize of 25,000 USD and a citation. Presently, he is the coordinator of Lost! Amphibians of India program, an initiative to rediscover 50 ‘lost’ amphibians which have been not reported after their original description, for a period ranging from 30 to 170 years.

http://www.lostspeciesindia.org/LAI2

For complete publication and research visit: http://www.frogindia.org