Growing up in the lap of nature influences one’s life in a profound way. One learns to appreciate nature and all its wonders in a more special manner, than someone who has grown up in a town or city. It allows one discover and acknowledge the beauty in the little things that nature has to offer – in the pattern of a dragonfly’s wing, in every tiny droplet of rain, in the various moods of the weather.
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Raviprakash S S is among the lucky ones. As a young boy, growing up in the Malenad region, he was exposed to nature in all its beauty. The place that he hails from, Sringeri, is nestled in the Western Ghats, amidst beautiful streams, coffee estates and forests teeming with birds, beetles and butterflies; all of this accompanied by a never-ending battering of rain, almost through the year.
As a child in awe of the beauty around him, Raviprakash wished that he could capture those special moments that nature threw at him and savour them forever. His father, cognisant of the sense of wonder that was blossoming in his son, gifted him his first camera – a point and shoot Yashika.
Since then, there’s been no looking back. Earlier this year, Raviprakash’s photo of a spider web, made it to the shortlist of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
About the contest
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is an annual international wildlife photography competition owned by Natural History Museum (NHM) and BBC. Since its first edition in 1964, where it received 600 entries, it has evolved to become one of the most prestigious photography competitions in the world. The 2014 edition saw participants from 92 countries sending in over 42,000 entries.
To commemorate the 50th edition of the contest, the organisers instituted a new award category, the People’s Choice Award. Raviprakash’s photo, ‘Pure Magic’, is the only entry from India and the second from Asia, to make it to the shortlist in this category.
On photography and pure magic
In a telephonic chat with Citizen Matters, Raviprakash tells us about his passion for photography and about ‘Pure Magic.’
What got you interested in photography?
Right from my childhood, I’ve been interested in photography. It started with clicking anything and everything. Over time, my interest in the art got more refined. I was keen on catching water drops, dew, spider webs and the like, and that slowly that developed into a hobby in itself. I bought an SLR and a macro lens, and I began focusing on macro photography.
What do you like capturing?
Initially I was shooting everything that came under the purview of macro photography. Off late, I have started capturing pictures creatively, I look for a unique composition.
Considering you work in the city, where do you go to take pictures?
For macro photography, you don’t really have to go looking for subjects – they are all around. However, having said that, most of my pictures are taken back home. During weekends, I go out with a group to the outskirts of Bangalore – to places like Valley School and Thippagondanahalli.
Why have you called your picture Pure Magic?
I thought that the colours were magical and therefore the name was apt.
Where did you capture this particular spider?
This was in my hometown of Sringeri. This particular picture, people have said all sorts of things about – several people have told me it looks like a tunnel; somebody asked me if I shot this inside a theatre.
(Author’s note: One of us at office thought it was the Metro construction at first glance).
How do you feel?
I am on Cloud 9. This is a very prestigious competition. Of 42,000 pictures, they have shortlisted 50 and mine is among them.
Which pictures from the Top 50, apart from yours, do you like?
I like all the pictures. Each one has its own story and flavour. The moment I see these pictures, I feel proud that I too am a part of this list. My favourite pictures are Barracuda Swirl by Alexander Mustard and Ladybird Spider by Carsten Braun.
Do you have any advice for amateur photographers who are interested in macro photography?
Macro photography is not very common. There are many folks who are into bird or wildlife photography. What I want to say is that macro photography too is very beautiful. The best part about it is that you don’t have to travel very far to get your subjects – they are all around. The photographer only needs to be patient enough to spot the subject and should also practise in getting the technique right.
You can follow Raviprakash’s work on his website – http://www.raviprakash.co.in.
Considering that Raviprakash’s picture has been composed beautifully and that he is the only entrant from India, we think there are high chances that he could make it to the Final Five of the competition.
Click here to view the Top 50 photos and vote for your favourite picture. The last date to do so is September 5th 2014. Voters who share the picture on Twitter, are also eligible to enter a prize draw, for NHM’s special edition book, 50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year: How Wildlife Photography Became Art. Results of the competition will be announced in October 2014.
Addendum (as on October 27th 2014)
In addition to being a finalist in the People’s Choice Award category, Ravishankar was also conferred with the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in the Amphibians and Reptiles category.
On the picture, Divine Snake, which fetched him the award, Ravishankar says, “It is one of my favourite image as this was captured just ten feet away from my home. A vine snake tends to spend a considerable amount of time in the same location. It will wait for prey with divine concentration, before freezing in position once it has its prey in sight. The main challenge was to show the snake from this unusual perspective, without disturbing its concentration”. He adds, “It gives me goosebumps to think that I have won this award, competing with many accomplished, professional photographers”.
Raviprakash also has a word of advice for aspiring photographers, “I urge them to consider macro photography as a serious option. Macro can capture very colorful drama right in your backyard”.