Shah Jahan is an IT professional who takes his hobbies very seriously. He has traveled to a lot of countries just to photograph wildlife. Asked him about the experience on photography he says he loves to take photographs in the night and his favorite species is The Owls.
Shah Jahan is from Kerala, India. He has lived most of his life in the Middle East. Now he is running a software development company in Kochi, Kerala, India. It is almost a routine for him to do wildlife photography trips on a weekly basis.
Shah Jahan also co-authored a book and contributed his photographs to a number of magazines, books and journals. His photographs are used by various government and non-government organizations for educational purposes and awareness programs.
How long have you been photographing wildlife?
I started birding since 2006. Ever since I have transformed into a better photographer. There is still a lot more to learn and I am still a beginner when it comes to photography. As far as wildlife is concerned I have been always passionate about animals and birds. I always found it interesting to watch them. Ever since I started taking photography seriously, I started learning about animals in more depth. It is a continuous process.
What are the countries you have visited to take photos?
I have traveled to a lot of places in order to take photos. This includes Kenya, my favorite place on earth as far as wildlife is concerned, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Tanzania, Nepal, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and of course India.
How many species of birds have you photographed so far?
I have photographed around 1500 unique species of birds. In India it is around 250 species. I have not traveled much inside India. I have photographed around 350 species of birds from Kenya which is the highest for any country in my list. Even though I concentrate more on birds I have also done photography of mammals, snakes and insects.
Share with us an unforgettable experience.
I have had a few unforgettable experiences while touring for wildlife photography. It includes the getting lost in the Arabuko Sokoke forest in the middle of the night while searching for Sokoke Scops Owl, getting trapped in between 27 Asian elephants while doing a photographic trip in Parambikulam National Park, a friend who is a Masai walking to a lion without any precautions, etc. These experiences gave me a better understanding of nature and its inhabitants. I believe understanding the nature is a must for a wildlife photographer. He or she can perform better if they know their subject well. This is called experience. And with experience and dedication you become a master of your art.
What is the kind of support you get from your family and friends?
Initially it was hard. As time went by they understood my passion and they started supporting me. Today I can very proudly say that even my kids support me. My family sometime join me on my trips. They are also interested in wildlife.
Which photo is your favorite?
It is a very difficult question to answer. It is easy for you to pick a photograph from my albums but for me it is a tough job to do. Most of my photographs are very dear to me. There are a lot of efforts and pain I put in order to capture these moments into the canvas. Sometime the effort is the time. Waiting for hours for the shot you want. Hence picking one out of it is going to be very difficult. Not only that if I pick one it going to biased. That is mainly due to the fact that when I do that I will pick something that is close to my heart and not the best photograph. For others they may feel that particular photograph is not my best. So I leave it to you to pick my best photograph.
Which is the toughest photograph that you took?
As I told you earlier there were a quite a few incidents that had happened during my photography trips. When things get tough that becomes an unforgettable memory. My personal favorite is the Sokoke Scops-owl photo that I took from the Arabuko Sokoke forest in Kenya.
What are your future projects?
Currently I am doing a documentary on the birds of South India. It is a difficult task. I have almost completed the shooting and now in the process of editing the documentary.
All images in this blog are used with permission from Shah Jahan. If you are interested to know more about Shah Jahan’s photography, please visit his Facebook page Wild Wild Shah.