Moments of bliss need not be grand, says Ruta Kalmankar, but can be as simple and quiet as they can get, and they exist irrespective of our disregard.
Not too often does one notice how inspiration strikes when least expected, and in the simplest of forms, but Ms Kalmankar does, and always so.
It all started when she bought a digital SLR camera with her husband and later attended a photography workshop in her locality. She started to use different features her camera was equipped with, but wasn’t satisfied completely, because she knew there were many more features to be used in the process of creation.
When she was leafing through the pages of photography magazines one day, Ms Kalmankar came across a Toehold advert, and called in to speak to the Skippers. She was excited by the idea of Photo Tours and wasted no time to decide going on one.
“Toehold Skippers showed me how to exploit every photographic opportunity, and when the viewfinder is best avoided.”
Her first Photo Tour with Toehold was to Bandhavgarh, a land famous for its sightings of creatures synonymous with majesty – tigers. Ruta got to learn more concepts of photography on the field, and more so, during the learning sessions at the end of each day of the Tour, when the Skipper would discuss how to exploit every opportunity to make a good picture, and when the viewfinder is best avoided and the sight in front simply enjoyed with the naked eye.
Ruta attended the Advanced Photography Workshop offered by Toehold and asserts that she was able to learn more of the technical aspects better than she previously had. She learned how best to make use of light and appropriate angles for different kinds of shots.
She says that although the world of tigers was one of her special interests, she did not know much about it before going on the Ranthambhore and Bandhavgarh Photo Tours with Toehold. She says that she now understands the life of a tiger better than ever: its territory, habitat, cubs, family, and behaviour.
“Beholding the richness of wildlife in a forest is ethereal.”
Ruta has also acquired a special passion to watch and photograph birds. After seeing them and the tigers from unbelievably close distances on the Photo Tours, she now claims confidently that wildlife photography is her favourite genre.
And Ranthambhore has been her favourite destination because it has allowed Ruta to observe the life of tigers in the glorious setting of the forest and its changing hues of sunshine and raintime. Beholding the richness of wildlife in a forest is something akin to an ethereal feeling for Ruta.
She has also been on an international Photo Tour to Masai Mara, Kenya, where she could enhance the possibility of making even more creative images than she had on the smaller Tours.
Ruta appreciates the individual attention that everyone on the Toehold Photo Tours gets from the Skippers, and explains how the acquaintance with them verges on friendship during the course of the first Tour itself.
Photography is much more than a hobby for Ruta: it is a way of communicating with those who show interest in considering her work. And in two years, she aspires to exhibit her pictures to an exclusive audience in Mumbai. Many of the pictures she has made have been featured in some Marathi newspapers and magazines of repute, which will further fuel her desire to hold an exhibition in the near future.