Thursday, October 14, 2010

Glimpses of the first Wildlife Photography workshop

Wildlife photography as a carrier used to sound like a dream a couple of years back. It remained as an expensive hobby for years. For the enthusiast, the call of the wild always posed a subtle magnetism but he always found it difficult to be serious about it. But I see today more and more people are taking interest in learning photography and adopting wildlife photography as a full time carrier.

In India there are maestros in this field. But I sense a lack of systematic knowledge distribution / channelization. Wildlife photography workshops are being conducted only focally in some major cities, viz. Bangaluru and very occasionally in Delhi and Mumbai. Charges for such workshops range from Rs 4000 to Rs 10,000 because it involves hiring experts for lectures, hiring costly gadgets and infrastructure. Budding photographers and novices are enthusiastic about the art but the cost of it becomes a major challenge.

This was for the first time someone made a bold attempt to dissipate knowledge in a non commercial way with an intention of helping the budding photographers. There are plans to take this ahead to all major cities if not free but definitely at an extremely affordable cost in a non profitable manner.

The workshop was conducted on the 10th of October, 2010 in Hotel Sharanam, Thane. Mr Amit Rane obliged to be an invited speaker.

Since it was a free workshop, we had to keep the availability of the seats limited. Although there was a huge list in the waiting – a count of 15 participants were finalized. The crowd was a mixed one. There were enthusiasts who are planning to take up wildlife photography seriously and there were amateurs who are already well versed with the basics of a DSLR. Hence the challenge was tougher to simplify as much as possible and impart knowledge as much as possible. There were participants who travelled from Solapur to Mumbai and they deserved an appreciation for the keen interest shown.

The workshop was conducted in three sessions. The first session was on PHOTOGRAPHY BASICS from 9 am – 11 am. The highlights of this session was knowing your camera well, exposure control, what is shutter speed, what is aperture, what is ISO, exposure settings – histogram, depth of field, focal length, tones and contrast, white balance, what is pixel, metering etc. Practical examples of composition and framing were demonstrated – the session was appreciated by all and it ended with useful field tips on wildlife photography.

Second session was on gadgets. Different types of camera, the difference between compact and digital SLR, different types of lenses, choices available and commercials, various storage Media (Cards), file types, accessories, camera care were discussed. It was an overall interactive session and the participants were happy to have a one to one interaction in this session.

Following the lunch break, the third session was on post processing techniques. This proved to be the star attraction. It was conducted as a live demo and step by step image processing was demonstrated live on screen and this was highly appreciated. Various modules discussed included controlling Contrast, Saturation, Sharpening, Cloning, Noise Reduction, Framing and presenting your images and more.

The session ended with an interactive session – overall satisfactory