23 January 2017

Responsible Wildlife Photography Tips

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In the spirit of Wildlife Month we got in touch with one of our favourite photographers to discuss wildlife photography tips for Asia.

Palani Mohan is an Indian born photographer who grew up in Australia and gained his big break through a newspaper competition. He was lucky enough to win the competition at 17 years old and spent the next decade working with the City Morning Herald and learning all he could about documentary photography. In more recent years he has worked across the planet, capturing stories of both humans and animals.  His work with the Anantara Group and their community of elephants and mahouts caught our eye.

Anantara Elephant close up Palani MohanHere are his 5 wildlife photography tips to help you capture inspiring images of animals in Asia and beyond:

  1. Find the aspect of wildlife photography that you love

Palani doesn’t consider himself a wildlife photographer in the traditional sense but is passionate about capturing the relationship between animals and humans. He is fascinated by the love, and also the misunderstandings, between the animal world and us. This has been the basis of many of his big photography projects, including the captive elephants of Asia and eagle hunting in Mongolia. His passion for understanding these relationships is evident in the emotion and detail seen in his photographs.

When you are passionate about your subject, you will capture it more clearly.Anantara Elephant and mahout Palani Mohan

  1. Consider the story behind the image

Rather than passively capturing the first scene you come across, Palani suggests thinking about the story you want to tell before you start shooting. What is most interesting to you and how can you adjust your style to show that?

  1. Be patient

Animals, both in the wild and those living among us, are unpredictable and have their own agenda! Be patient when setting out to capture them and understand that you might not get the shot you are looking for.

Really, in contrast to the tip above, you should be open to spontaneous moments that you weren’t expecting!Anantara Elephants and mahout Palani Mohan

  1. Be cautious

In a similar vein, it is also important to be cautious around both wild and domesticated animals because they are unpredictable. Keep your distance and use a zoom rather than moving into the animal’s personal space. Tread softly and speak calmly to respect the animal’s environment. A frustrated or uncomfortable subject will not make a great picture.

  1. Be respectful

Being respectful of animals is not only tied to being cautious and the tips above, but by taking the time to understand them and their habits. Give the animals the respect they deserve and learn about them; your images will be all the more authentic because of it.

When documenting the relationships between humans and animals, do the same thing. We go into detail about the relationship between mahout and elephant in our recent blog post to help you understand the long and complicated history of elephants in captivity.

To put these tips to the test, why not consider adding an animal sanctuary to your next trip to Asia or talk to our team of travel experts today to find the best interactions in your destination of choice.


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