Sukumaran Menon – Art Perspective Photography

Based in Bangalore, Sukumaran is a seasoned travel enthusiast and a hobby-photographer. He started off using a point & shoot camera and moved up the value chain to professional gear. As his work involves travel – both within and outside the country, he manages to find the time to give his passion for photography newer and more exciting frames of reference.

Sukumaran refers to the black & white medium as a distinctly unique form of expression, and often takes this visual route in his explorations of period architecture, and the great outdoors. He is particularly fascinated with “trees” as a subject, and how he can capture nature’s works of art from a whole new viewpoint.

What does travel mean to you? Vacations? Seeing new places? Discovering the world? Could mean all of this, but let’s have your version of it?
Travel is about the path you will take that will ultimately define your journey – whether it’s going somewhere that is only two-hours away, or a destination halfway across the world. Travel is also about trying something new – especially if you can manage to escape from the predictable routines of everyday life. Traveling therefore gives you something different to experience, and can be like a breath of fresh air.

To me, travel also means spending the day in a new city and exploring all of its history, its museums and parks. It brings in the magic of spontaneous adventure and participation in activities that you normally would not have the time for.

Does work enable travel? Do you add on a travel segment when you travel within the country, or on visits abroad?
As an engineering consultant my work entails a fair bit of travel – both within the country and outside. On work, my travel schedule is invariably packed to the gills – not allowing time for any kind of detour. The only other option would be a planned photography excursion to a place I always wanted to visit – one example here is my week long trip to Kenya, to capture the annual migration of animals in the Maasai Mara.

Having said that, work related travel sometimes presented opportunities to explore cities and places of interest that I had only heard of before – this was indeed a big blessing. I am thankful that I have got to see some amazing places both in India and overseas. Being able to take pictures “in transit” is the proverbial icing on the cake!

This interview was done for the All India Resort Development Association
You can read the rest of the interview on the AIRDA website>
Sukumaran Menon – on Art perspective photography

Surya Ramachandran – Naturalist

What’s an electrical engineer doing, deep inside a tiger reserve? Well, Surya Ramachandran is training young aspirants to be successful guides and tour leaders. Surya says that he was interested in wildlife right from childhood – his first trip to the zoo with his art teacher sparked off a whole new interest in him. He has been visiting various national parks ever since, both as amateur and professional. Surya currently works at the Singinawa Jungle Lodge in Kanha. He was earlier with the Forsythe Lodge near the Satpura National Park – one of the finest tiger reserves in the country.

Surya’s interests include birding, butterfly watching, herping and frogging. These are terms used by naturalists to describe their research areas of interest. Smaller mammals and other hard-to-spot species form the basis of his treks into areas that are still nature’s preserve. His interest in photography and video help him capture and document all his work, which he shares freely on social media.

We now chat with Surya about developing new interests, trips to forest reserves and protecting wild life in our forest lands.

Q: As a naturalist, are you concerned about the intrusion of tourists into natural habitats?
To answer your question, when a large number of people enter a national park on a daily basis, there is always a case of intrusion into a very private world. I too take groups of people inside the park – twice-a-day, through most of the year. But I always manage to keep forest etiquette in mind, and the need to be non-intrusive during these visits.

The role of a naturalist is all important – and has a lot to do with exploring, understanding and interpreting the magic of the wilderness. We also need to explain our findings using simple, easy-to-understand terminology. In addition to guiding tourists in and around the park, a naturalist also helps people build meaningful relationships within these spaces – the objective here is relate to your surroundings in a constructive manner.

At another level, any amount of good or neutral presence in national parks is useful, and necessary – because we also need the kind of awareness that goes with it – to protect our parks from poaching, and infuse support measures such as manpower and funds.

This interview was done for the All India Resort Development Association
You can read the rest of the interview on the AIRDA website >
Surya Ramachandran – on the role of a Naturalist