When he is not juggling files, he is out in the wild. Meet Vivek Singh, district food marketing officer in the food and civil supplies department of UP, a self taught wildlife photographer, who shoots the wild, but with his camera.
A chance visit to the Bandhavgarh national park at the insistence of his daughter during the Easter holidays of 2007 sparked off a mission of a lifetime for him. In those days when internet was not the obvious source of primary information, one of his daughter's friends visited Bandhavgarh national park and her insistence for a similar trip landed him in tigers’ own country. The mesmerizing encounter with the majestic tigers of the park propelled him to think of bringing the magic of wild and the message of conservation to the larger audience. Photography was the obvious choice to bring this magic home, says Vivek. A nature lover to the core, he has been concerned with issues of nature and conservation from an early age. He was the editor of the school magazine on environmental issues and instrumental in forming a group of nature lovers for conservation cause in the college.
Meeting ace Nat Geo Photographer Kalyan Varma helped Vivek crystallize the vision and he took to wildlife photography seriously four years back, to bring forth the beauty of the wild and the message of conservation through his lens. His love for nature and photography and a burning desire to preserve the fast vanishing biodiversity of India in particular, made him take up wildlife photography as a mission. I discovered purpose of my life, says he. The Crying need for the preservation of the rich and diverse fauna and flora of the country requires awareness of the issues in the first place, believes Vivek. And none other than the tiger, the national animal of India, fits as the symbol of his conservation efforts. Sitting at the very top of the food chain, the fast dwindling population of the tigers worries him. With less than 2000 left in the wild, we are in real danger of losing this magnificent animal forever. And if the tiger goes, forest goes, warns Vivek, quoting from the Udyogparva of Mahabharata-"the tiger protects the forest and the forest natures the tiger".
He uses canon 7D Mk 2 camera canon 5D Mk 4 and canon 100-400 remains his favorite lens for shooting wildlife though occasionally he also uses 70-200mm/2.8 and 300mm/2.8 prime lens. For street &travel canon 16-35/2.8. Travelling extensively Vivek has covered almost all the well-known national parks of India with Bandhavgarh in MP and Ranthambhore in Rajsthan being his favorite. Shooting with some of the finest names in Indian wildlife photography like Kalyan Varma, Sudhir Shivram & Aditya Singh has given me an insight that helps him feel the jungle from the heart. He believes wildlife photography can prove immensely challenging as you do not have control over all the three crucial components of a good photograph-light, subject and the situation. It can prove to be emotionally draining and physically challenging experience and one must be ready to toil hard in the field and expect the unexpected. A deep understanding of the subject helps you connect with it and thereby bring to your pictures an emotional feel with which the reader can immediately identify. His work is put on exhibit regularly in India and he has also held two exhibitions abroad He publishes his work regularly online on various social media platforms.He is also mentoring one of the largest online photography group Camerena academy and is admin of DSLR group.
Vivek has his priorities set. What as a citizen can we do to redeem the dwindling forests and vanishing fauna? He points out that most of us think that preserving nature, preventing deforestation and reducing man-animal conflict are all issues related to government and hence individual initiatives are pointless. He finds this perception totally erroneous. An active and informed citizen alone can ensure that India's wildlife is preserved for posterity. As a first step visit the national park near you, says he. The visit will not only open one to the magnificence of Mother Nature and educate about the conservation needs but also generate the much needed revenue for the purpose. A vigilant tourist inflow will also help check the illegal nexus of corrupt officials and poachers. As with any other issue, conservation of wildlife especially tigers need to be tackled through the tool of education. Quoting Rudyard Kipling, Vivek insists that the jungle speaks to one who knows how to listen to it. His only worry is time. Time is running out. It's now or never. Can we do it for our kids? asks he. A transfer to the adjoining district of Varanasi brought him closer to the magic of street photography as he started documenting the life & times of this most ancient city on earth but wildlife photography remains his primary passion.Vivek considers himself to be the first generation product of the social media revoltion.Says he-it was simply impossible for a person like me to take up wildlife photography sitting in a small town of UP.But social media platforms like facebook,twitter and flicker has given an opportunity to learn from the masters of the art,sitting at home.In fact he loves to be called a "facebook photographer".
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