Born and brought up in the remote town of Beed in Maharashtra and today settled in Mumbai, I Ruta Kalmankar would like to share my personal journey of photography with the greater audience. I have always waited for an opportunity to reach out to more people about my experiences. Since my childhood days, I have always been attracted to wildlife with a great magnitude which today has become the fuel for my passion for photography. I got married at the age of 19 and had two children after my marriage. Bound with the responsibilities of looking after my children and maintaining the balance between being a successful entrepreneur in the wine and liquor business I still remember watching myself lose track with my personal interests such as traveling and reading. Over the years reading was my only companion throughout till the age of forty.
However, life took a sharp turn at the age of 40 when I saw myself free of all the shackles that held me behind. This is the time when I introduced myself to photography for personal development and for the sake of learning a new skill. The reason I chose photography is my first possession after marriage was a Nikon camera which I used to picture and capture moments with my family. Little did I know that this new undertaking would later turn into a tremendous passion that I would be proud of. After being introduced to basics I started practicing at the age of 42 when I led myself to self led excursions in the vivid forests around India. My first excursion was Tadoba tiger reserve in Maharashtra. I still remember the first sighting of the magnificent beast and our national pride ‘The Royal Bengal Tiger’ I was fascinated by this carnivore and decided to undertake photography that was focused on endangered species. To fuel my photography with knowledge I started researching on its feeding habits, lifecycle and predatory characteristics this also helped me in understanding a lot about this animal rather than just being able to click aesthetically appealing pictures.
I then quickly decided to excel in this field of photography unknown to the fact that this was rather a male photographer territory. Over the several tours I have been on such as Ranthambore, Kanha, Bandhavarh, Masai Mara, Ambesoli, Nakaru, Tadoba, Pench and other wildlife habitats I have always maintained high interest and witnessed and upward trend of self development acknowledged by professionals in the field. On the other hand, while practicing tiger photography I have also kept in mind the other wildlife life ranging from several types of herbivores, carnivores, birds and reptiles. I have also managed to capture some of the rarest forms of the above listed with grace.
During this I realized that I was among the few female photographers driven by self enthusiasm who got an opportunity to visit the tropical forests of Costa Rica and was able to witness some species limited to the particular habitat. Over the span of five years my ‘to do’ list in photography just gets longer and thus I travel as frequently as 6 times in a year to protected areas. Now feel the need to showcase these captured moments with the greater audience. According to me some of these pictures have an enchanting story to itself and with the help of these pictures I want to create interest and spread knowledge amongst various age groups about wild animals as animals in captivity show changed behavioral patterns.
I would like to take this opportunity to showcase my work til now. However I still crave for self development and do not feel that I have achieved a lot and would like to explore a lot more In this field.
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