Wild Chase from Bellary

YPS Meet | June 17 | State Youth Centre

The 50 odd people who attended the YPS Meet “Bellary Wildtrails” on June 17 had plenty to see, hear, think and ponder over. The slideshow and presentation by Dr. S K Arun stretched to 9pm with no one wanting it to end.

<Please check Bellary Wildtrails for an Into on Dr. Arun>

Chance Association

The Association with Dr. Arun began when he participated in Jan 2017 Karnataka Tourism contest on Karnataka Wildlife. His image “Ramp Walk” won the Picture of the Month Award.

Dr. Arun then became a member of YPS Bangalore and since then the association with YPS has only been skywards. We invited him to speak at the YPS Meet. Despite his busy weekend schedules, he drove from Bellary to Bengaluru to present at YPS. YPS thanks Dr. Arun or his commitment as well as or the excellent knowledge that he shared with us.

We Make Pictures

Dr. Arun began his presentation y narrating how he was drawn to photography by Shri. Vijay Mohan Raj,  IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka . Dr. Arun started his journey of photographing wildlife during 2009-10 with a desire to do something different from medical field.

Dr. Arun made a statement that he “makes pictures” and am sure every member who was part of the show will agree with his statement. Rather we can say that “he makes stunning pictures of wildlife”.

Bellary to start with

He gave a brief introduction about the variety of wildlife found in Bellary district and started off by showing his pictures taken in Bellary district. Unlike typical slide shows, the most striking feature o his presentation was that he had a story behind each of them, making it more enjoyable and insightful. His pictures from Bellary, especially from Daroji Bear Sanctuary were very special, it was treat to watch the images of Sloth Bear he had captured in various moods.  He also expressed that he was lucky to have captured the moments which he wanted to, but had least expected the Bear to co-operate, like the Bear coming up close, standing pose, climbing a tree etc.

He had some informative tips on the behavioural aspects of Bears to explain and also as to how one can fend bear attack by carrying sprays made for the purpose. I had been told on several occasions that when we come across a Bear we should become still to avoid an attack, it was enlightening to know the proper reason behind it. Dr.Arun explained that bears had poor vision and so, when they see a moving object they tend to come close to ascertain as to what it is and to defend themselves from any possible danger. Another basic aspect he explained was that one should not run in any situation, as normally animals see the moving object as potential danger and tend to chase and attack.

After showing some classic images of Bears, he moved on to exhibit his collection of bird images he had captured. He gave very interesting narration about a particular picture he made of Bush Quail at a very low angle after having imagined the frame quite some time and finally capturing it after lot of efforts. He had to practically bury his camera in the sand to be able to get this view.

He made it very clear that he always made pictures at eye level, be it birds or mammals or any other variety of wildlife, as he believed that it makes an interesting angle to look at and most people liked them. The picture of Bar Headed Geese in huge numbers all looking in one direction and some of them in flight as well filling the entire frame taken at Magadi lake near Gadag exhibited his skill in making beautiful as well as interesting pictures with different perspectives.

Of course from outside Bellary too

After showcasing some wonderful wildlife images he had captured in Bellary district, he exhibited his pictures of big cats like Tiger, Leopard and Lion taken at various sanctuaries in India as well as in Africa. All the images were perfect in every respect be it the composition, lighting, exposure or post processing. The colors and details of the subject had been very well brought out to depict the nature as he witnessed while making the pictures. The points he explained about the picture of Lions mating and the reason as to why Lioness makes a grunt and shoos away the male was very interesting to listen, and am sure that every member present would have been fascinated by the details he revealed.

The picture of Leopard pair curiously posing for his camera was real great take. He considered himself lucky to get some super poses from wildlife, but I feel that he is bestowed the chance of making those stunning images as a result of his hard work he under takes before making every image.

Dr.Arun undertakes a trip to wildlife sanctuary to make pictures of cats once in every two months and he proudly stated that he has never returned without sighting them in any of his trips in the last few years.

Camera Trap Photography

Dr.Arun mentioned that in his journey of making pictures, he started to have an urge to make something more and so he started to explore about “Camera Trapping”. He explained as to how he started reading about camera traps and also that he attended one of the workshops on camera trap techniques. After doing lot of research and acquiring appropriate gears he started experimenting and displayed some stunning pictures he had made using camera trap techniques.

Camera trap is a technique used to automatically trigger an exposure when an animal steps into the view of the camera. This is done by setting up sensors that detect animals and trigger a camera that has been set up to take pictures. Apart from the technical aspects, it also requires that one studies the movement of animals and set up the camera and trap  in a place and angle that maximizes the chances of making a picture. With heavy heart you have to leave your photographic equipment in the jungle unattended hoping that none of the animals damage the equipment.

One particular picture which caught attention of one and all was that of a Bear with Stars in the background sky (a night shot). It was an absolutely stunning frame which was loved by each and every one present. The picture was a night image taken using the camera trap in which a bear is standing against a constellation of stars in the background. This was taken by using a long exposure with the bear being frozen by light from flash.  Dr. Arun added that the Constellation appearing in the background was “Ursa Major” also known as the Great Bear Constellation.

He had lot to talk about and explain in respect of his adventures in making camera trap pictures. I had goose bumps all over my body when he was explaining about how he ventured into caves frequented by Bears to set up his equipment and waited for months together to get one good image. The set of pictures he exhibited made by him using camera trap was like icing on the cake and every member enjoyed the pictures as well as the story behind Dr.Arun had to narrate.

Also, members had quite a few questions as to how he managed to get the focus or the exposure right in all those frames he had captured. Dr.Arun explained that it is not that he got everything right at the first instance, but it’s the result of in-depth study about the animal behaviour, timing & exact point or the path of its visit to the spot and experimentation which gave him results after months of experimentation.

Surgical Precision

Members were very much impressed about the perseverance he had shown in making those stunning images. To sum up, members of YPS had great opportunity of viewing images of very high standard presented by a person who took up photography as a passion. A Surgeon needs lots of precision to execute a surgery, likewise, Dr.Arun being a specialized Laparoscopic Surgeon has undertaken photography also with equal precision and ended up with some breathtaking images. YPS members were lucky to have witnessed one of the best shows in the recent past and will remember it for days to come. Shri.H.Satish President of YPS presented Dr. Arun with a memento and had lots of appreciation to make on behalf of everyone present there and thanked Dr. Arun for having taken time out of his busy schedule and coming down to YPS, Bangalore and making it a memorable day for members of YPS.

Summed up by Girish Ananthamurthy, Director, YPS