Home >> Podcasts >> A Conversation With Wildlife Photographer Neel Dass
Show Notes

Welcome to Photosynthesis – the podcast where we go deep in discussion with photographers, filmmakers and content creators in India about their art and everything that keeps them going.

In this episode, we dive into the world of wildlife photography with the talented photographer Neel Dass. From essential lenses for bird photography to expert techniques to blend seamlessly into the wild, Neel shares valuable insights for aspiring wildlife photographers.

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Check out Neel’s stunning work on Instagram – Neel Das

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Transcript

Vineet 

Hi and welcome back to individual series on our discussions with photographers. Some of the best photographers, All India. Today we have with us Neel Dass. I absolutely love the bird photographs that have seen of his across multiple stock video platforms in fact. And now also on individual and a lot of travel photography. I’ve seen a lot of fantastic. Photos from Kerala that actually I’m going to get into in the conversation. 

Neel Dass 

Thanks a lot Vineet for having me much appreciated. It’s it’s an honor to be here and it’s it’s a great feeling to be a part of your lunch here. So very happy to. Here, thanks a lot for having. 

Vineet 

Me, I’m actually going to start off first by asking you which cities you actually photographed the most in in India, which cities or which areas the you’re photographed the most and why. Yeah, I am from Kerala and I am from Toronto. 

Neel Dass 

In Kerala, capital of Kerala. So being my hometown, Trivandrum is where I have photographed most of my pics. Pictures. I’ll move around and stuff like that, but right now I’m residing in. And random and porche would be the what you call the maximum share of my photographic portfolio if you can. 

Vineet 

Say so like some of my favorite photos of yours are from, I think, a couple of zoos in Australia. I saw Kangaroos. I’m assuming that was from Australia. And I believe something from the gardens in Singapore. Yes, yeah. 

Neel Dass 

So I’ve been to Singapore. As well so. Those places, especially Kangaroos and koalas and the wildlife in Australia, it’s a little different and even that picture that I took of the kangaroo, it had a kind of an Australian wife to it, it’s it’s laid back. Yes, they are. Playing, playing, laid back, kind of a mood. And that is. Quintessential. What you what you call Australia? So that’s the attitude that the entire. Country have that’s. One thing that struck me when I. Took that photograph. 

Vineet 

So now I’m actually going to get into one specific area that you obviously love a lot, which is bird photography, which is 1 area. I have never been able to get into because technically I just can’t understand it. Tell me more what got you into bird photography in the 1st place and why does it attract you? So much. 

Neel Dass 

Yeah, it. 

Neel Dass 

Was kind of a chance kind of a thing because when I started off my I started off photography sometime in 2010 or something. That’s when I got my first camera. And it wasn’t. I wasn’t serious about it until about 2015 or so. So that’s when I started to. Study a bit about product. And that’s when. My I wanted to actually get into the wildlife from the active side because I’ve always had this love for wildlife and nature. I’ve I’ve always been a nature lover, so I’ve always had an affinity to follow a sense of love. When I finally got into into the proper photography stuff, I wanted to do wildlife photography, but then I didn’t have the right kind of equipment at that point in time. And slowly I I think for some time around 2017 when I got my the lens. Set up. And that’s when it started. And the reason I chose birding is because one thing bird birds are everywhere, like you. You don’t have to go to. A forest to birds. You can do birding in the back. Right behind your house or wherever you’re staying, there will be partner, of course. So that’s the reason I got into both. To be honest, I wasn’t too much. I didn’t. When I started off, I wasn’t in a position to identify different kinds of words. I like most people. I wouldn’t even have noticed all these variety of words that we have around us. It’s only after I started birding that I. Started to notice. There is so much variety of birds around us, even and in our own backyard. So there there was a funny, funny story that I and I had to I I went to a wildlife sanctuary and I had to. I had to travel some 5060 kilometers to reach there. And I photographed what we call the. Paradise fly catcher. So it’s a beautiful bird. It’s a. It’s a really beautiful. Bird. I like that bird. But now. I went there, protected him back home. And it was a. Few days later, suddenly I realized that this poor. Comes to my backyard in my home. All these years I haven’t. I hadn’t even noticed that. And that was. A huge eye opener at that point. Like we, we have so much of variety. So much of all around us that. We don’t notice it. 

Vineet 

Yeah, that’s actually really interesting. I’ve noticed that also I in my balcony. I would just see pigeons. And, you know, grows, I would think it’s all pigeons and. Grows, but there was one man who’s a birder. She visited and she’s suddenly like, oh, can you hear that? Can you hear that? Can you hear that? She pointed out, like, five or six different kinds of birds near my house. And I was like, no, no, it’s all pigeons. The crows heard nothing less. 

Neel Dass 

Yeah, exactly. So, once you start noticing the different parts of words and that’s when it gets into your blood like, OK, so you you start to listen or you’ll start to see, you’ll look out for the bird calls different types. You get into that groove so. You kind of move into that kind of an area and it’s like a drug you you start liking it, you start getting addicted to it. So that’s that’s very icy. 

Vineet 

But I I would say a lot of the like you mentioned equipment. So I’m going to ask you about that. I would say not the kind of photography. People get into. Is also determined when they start off by the equipment they have, so a standard lens is like a 51.8 that just comes. So people are either when they start or either they get an 1855 as a kit. Or on Sony for Framer, 2870, let’s say. In Canon, the first lens they buy the 51.8. Which is fantastic for portrait. They might buy an ultraviolet, which is not very expensive and get into landscapes. Birding would require, I would say. Like extreme telephoto zooms, right, which is which are the crazy expensive ones and the heavy ones our impacted your decision and. How you got into building in the first place? 

Neel Dass 

Was where you rightly pointed out the proper equipment for birding and wildlife. It’s very expensive. The professional level kit it’s it will be like insanely expensive. Like if you if you are looking at a professional floor level lens maybe 400mm F 2.8. Or something like that. The choice with you. Would be whether to buy a new car or not. That’s why you that’s so it’s that expensive. It’ll it’ll go to maybe around 10:10 lakhs 10/12/10 to 12,00,000. That’s the range that we’re talking. About so The thing is, when I started off the first camera that I bought, it was 320. And I bought 1855 kit lens along with it and there was an option to get a 55200. So it doesn’t when we when I look back at that 55200, it may not. Be a huge. Like like it’s not a professional level lens for any sort of imagination, but then it’s at least it’s something that you have in your hand and you try. You can try different things. And when you try shooting at birds and try wildlife with that particular lens, which didn’t even have a via vibration to the image stabilization, that’s when you start to realize that there are quite a lot of things that you would need to get a proper shot for the birds. And then that’s when you learn other things as well, like, what’s the proper kind of gear that you would need? What’s the budget that you would require and also? In a way, you would try to figure out what’s the best optimum combination with the kind of budget that you can spare. What is possible for you? So as I said, I started serious kind of photography in 2015. I had to wait until 2017 when I finally bought. 200 to 500mm Nikon. So that is kind of a budget option. It’s not a pro level lens, but it’s it’s phenomenal like it’s for beginning photographers when compared to pro level glass, this is. Very much affordable like I got mine for about 75,000 rupees ₹75,000 it’s still ₹75,000 but. 

Vineet 

But I and I was saying that’s not too bad for a super telephoto, right for 205 hundred than where it’s even much more expensive than that. 

Neel Dass 

Yeah, but I was. I was again lucky because there was an offer going on at that point in time. I got 25,000 off. That’s that’s how I thought that that 75. 1000 at that time. So that was that was a good buy and that’s when you still find that, OK, you have to find out millimeter reach, but even 500mm, it’s not enough for work. 

Vineet 

What is never in? So it’s never enough. So even with the final. 

Neel Dass 

If I can, if I want to give you. An example to get a good photo where the bird fill fills your frame. On a full frame sensor camera, the world has to be somewhere close to about 50 meters. So that’s how close you have to be to your subject. So out in the wild, in the open, it’s get that close to the bird. Without you first going there, hiding yourself and setting up your camera and waiting. If it’s just. Going on a track now for a spot and stuff like that, it’s. Very unlikely that you would get a. Really good picture. That’s that’s filling of of course you can. We can use a. You can use the crop the facility that you have these days, but then helping would. Obviously it will degrade your. You wouldn’t get the optimum quality printing and for social media it’s fine for sharing it’s fine, but then. Anything that requires much higher quality of the photo, you won’t be able to utilize crop. So that that one, that’s one thing that I that I noticed and when I started off again this is another thing that you that you learn. As you go in. By like. It’s still coughed, basically, so like what we study in NCC and scouts and stuff like that. So you there is a way you have to conduct yourself in the wild, where you go about approaching a subject, you have to be very quiet. It’s almost like a hunter you have to. Be very silent. You have to be very slow in your movements. You shouldn’t. What do you? Call starting the startle the bird or starting your subject. You have to ensure that the bird is comfortable with your presence, and that’s one thing that I learned. Even now when I go out on strikes and stuff like that, I learned quite a lot from the tribal. Guides that we have. Especially when when we go to the wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, we do get a guide who most likely he or she would be. These people, they know exactly what the behavior has of each species, where where they would be able to see this particular species. How can we approach it? How not? To approach it. All those things. You can. From these people, it’s quite a lot quite a huge learning. So yesterday I was actually in Kerala. I’m just back from. Our trip to. Actually, so we went on a track in the morning and it was a misty morning, so it was so misty that you wouldn’t be able to see on either side of your of your truck park, the guide that was with us, who was with us, he. Person he was extremely cautious when he reached a particular spot because he could smell the elephant and after taking a few steps, we could actually hear elephant breaking the branches. Of a tree. So you you learn how to conduct yourself in the forest, how to move about. In the forest. Respect the forest and all those things. All those aspects you can learn from these people, and I’ve been lucky to to be, to have been on a few trips like that. So yeah. It’s a it’s a learning. Everything is. A learning one life. 

Vineet 

Now that’s that’s really interesting. And you mentioned about how quiet you have. Too weak and how quiet you have to stay. And I’ve actually seen photos of like people. Of course, in full camouflage gear with a kit also in full camouflage. How important is that? And. How do you do that? 

Neel Dass 

You can see everyone going for camouflage, whole thing and some people even go for that kind. Of a Gilly. Suit that the kind of suit that the the military snipers would use so they they would just have their eyes out. The rest everything would they would actually look like a tree. So and again your camera also would be covered. And many of these. Aspects it’s it’s much similar to what the army would do, or someone in the army. If they want to hide if they want to be not seen. Kind of things that they do is exactly what the border, or while that photographer is doing, basically blend in with your surroundings and not show that you are a kind of a human kind of a form. The bird should think that you’re either a tree or a branch or something like that, but it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t know that you are a human as far as possible. The birds have. Really good eyesight and I’m I’m told that some words that they can even see you. So we we can see seven colors. They can see an 8 color that’s UV. And what we see the world that we see is a combination of these seven colors. And now add 1 more color to that combination. So basically birds can see colors that we can’t even imagine. That’s that’s. That’s how things are. So their eyesight is much, much better than us. And for birds to know that there’s a human there, it’s quite easy. So as far as possible, you have to be very careful with your clothing, your camouflage, and also how you disguise your camera, because especially when you’ve got a long lens. Uh, it looks like a gun. So all these birds, they are very often things that are long and pointy. So what I what I do is I use a rain cover so it has a camouflage pattern on it as well. And because it’s a ring cover it, it doesn’t look like a long point. I think it it will look like a maybe it will look like I’m carrying something in my arm. That’s it. It wouldn’t look like I’m carrying that basically. So that that is what my thought process is when I when. I go into. And again, being quite is very important. Being hidden is important if if it’s possible. If we can. Be in the height where where there’s a structure where there’s an opening and you can see the world, but if the bird can’t see you, that’s the best option that you. Can have for a bird. A place where you can see the bird but the bird can’t see you. And that’s where birds would actually come close to you. Otherwise they they would, they would just fly out. 

Vineet 

So now I’m. Actually, now getting to a slightly different area, which is now the regular progression. Of photographers is they take up photography as a hobby. They realize they absolutely love it. And then they start thinking, how can I turn this either into a career or at least a siding siding? Now and these things obviously be changing over the years. The opportunities for monetizing your hobby. They keep changing over years. Stock photography used to be fairly lucrative. Earlier, it’s gone down, especially with subscription plans, etc etc. We keep hearing, so of course what we are trying to do is one thing, but otherwise we keep hearing that income stream stocks have gone. How do you see this? Do you like and how does one become a full time photographer anymore? How does one become a part time photographer anymore? How do you see income streams and what all does one have to do if someone wants to go from the hobby states to the monetization stage, even if it’s not full time? Or should we look at it now? 

Neel Dass 

That’s a very good question that you asked. I’m happy that you asked. And I haven’t stopped to generate any income from my hobby yet, so it’s still a hobby. Haven’t gone professional. So when I say I haven’t generated any income, it’s I’ve generated a little bit. So over the past three years. Maybe I’ve sold the $400.00 worth of photographs, so that is what we that I that I have as a as a. Basically, as as you rightly mentioned, stock photography used to be good some time back, but then it’s gone off. Even if you go into a place like shorter stock and place, you wouldn’t get too much say like maybe 10 pens for a photo or maybe 25 pens for a. So that’s what it’s come down to and the photography. Has boomed so huge. Quite a lot of people have come. Into this market now. And the way things are moving right now, what I feel is people are moving, moving, moving more into videographic still photography. It’s still there, but then people are moving part of in a huge way, moving into video traffic. And content creation. It’s a huge area that people are looking at right now. Now for the buffer, the income stream will not be around sending stock photos or sending films or anything of that sort. It’ll be more around doing YouTube videos on photography blogs, stuff like that, so things are moving into the video space nowadays and that’s what I feel. So even if you look at the YouTube area photographers, most of them are running their. Courses like on YouTube courses and they also do have their subscription courses which you have to pay a higher amount. That’s that’s one area that people. Looking at another one, especially for wildlife and birding. People do guided tours, so if you look at the big shots and they do Masai. So they would have kind of a photography workshop, kind of a setup. And this person, this photographer, would act as a. Guide and mentor. And a teacher to these people. They would obviously would respect. That and. I believe when you have that name, you can you can make some good money right now that that’s where the market is moving. I hope so, I haven’t. Moved into that space at all, because even now it’s still a hobby. I haven’t seriously thought about making it a career yet. Maybe at some point in time, maybe I’ll start slowly, start moving into that sort of a space because along with. Photography and the nature photography I also love traveling. So all these places. Have talked about Ghana. I’ve talked about the corporate National Park, the national parks in Kerala. Entire stretch of tamer. I am a person who would love to talk about the geography, the history and Natural History and stuff like that. So maybe if I think about moving into a career along those lines, it may be as a. Person who would arrange trips to these places. That’s most likely what might happen. With with me. 

Vineet 

Oh, you should do one in Kerala. I would absolutely joy. So in fact, one of our friends, one of the in fact top wildlife photographers in India, Aditya Singh. We spoke to him. He does around these tours in Ranthambore. So maybe you should do that. In Canada. 

Neel Dass 

Yeah. Yeah, that’s that’s. Very much possible. But what I feel especially in Kerala is. 

Neel Dass 

If you go. 

Neel Dass 

To bandhavgarh or KANA or even Bandipur National Park in Karnataka company. All these places, they have certain areas set aside for tourists. So there is a zone where the tourists can go, and now there is that. A system that’s already in place where the gypsies are. There there are. Multiple plants where the gypsies can go and. Stuff like that, but. This sort of thing has. Not taken off in Kerala. So even if you if you go on a safari and in any of the world you wouldn’t get the same kind of a feel. Other places? But that that’s something that. Maybe so there are. Two ways that I look at it. One is from a traveler perspective, if I’m looking at it from a traveler perspective, I would want something similar to happen in Kerala. But on the other hand, if I put on my conservation camp on, I would I would start to think that OK, it’s better not to this term wildlife. 

Vineet 

Well, that’s exactly. What I was thinking when you like, because the couple of safaris that I’ve been to in on the organized circuits just seems like OK. All the Jeeps are going together. And any wildlife that is there, those poor guys are like, you know, this 5 keeps coming. Then we just go scoot off into the corner. So what’s it? Like in Canada? Do you are you completely on your own? 

Neel Dass 

That sort of a thing has not started in Kerala yet because the wildlife Department, the Police Department, they are still very, very much kind of conservation oriented. They haven’t opened up. To the areas as such. And wherever they are running. Ecotourism programs. They are running it in a restricted manner. It’s not. A huge volume that they. Here we are looking at a small volume but good kind of nature lover kind of thing. So for example there’s one program that I absolutely want to go to that’s in Periyar Tiger Reserve. So they have a couple of tracking programs where you can actually. Follow the forest watches and the Forest Guards on their feet, say like they have a petrol beat that they have to follow every week. So they’ll be. Gone for about two to three days. And they’ll be overnight camping in. The fastest 1. So basically this is this is done to. This is done as an anti poaching measure. So these guys they are going to find out whether there are any poachers around. Whether there is anyone coming into? The forest killing their animals and suffering. They are. They are going there to prevent any such intervention. And the best part is these people, these gods, they used. To be poachers. Cost. So these guys know exactly how a poacher is to do so, and these guys are. They are now. For a start. And they have intimate knowledge of 1st and there’s an opportunity you can you can pay that amount, they can go there. And one thing you are going there while nature, whatever. The other thing is you are also helping them as a person. Who is like it’s additional manpower. Like instead of five people going, going 5 forest guards going on the patrol, maybe the 2 Forest Guards would be there along with three other nature lovers. So in a way you are contributing to that conservation point. So that is that is one thing that that I want to. On time and I’ve I’ve spoken about the the the practices say like you have spoken about the practices where there is a lot more touristy kind of nature coming into the wildlife parks. That again, it hasn’t come into Kerala yet, but the moment the forests are opened up for tourism, this will happen. But that’s what I what I feel. So it has to be restricted in a way. If you look at it, why should only the forest? The question would be like, why should only the false gods or the nature lovers or? People like that should see the forest. Shouldn’t the layman? Then the public should, shouldn’t they also get a chance to see the forest? Yes, of course. They should get a chance to see the forest. But then again, the priority should always be towards consider. 

Vineet 

And so, but when you. Go in a National Park in Kerala. Then what is it like? How do you go? Do you travel by cycle inside you have to walk. What’s it like inside? 

Neel Dass 

So most of the time I go on tax, so here we go. So there are different programs that they have, so at times. It will just be me. So I’ll go to the office wherever the factory is, I’ll go there and they’ll allocate me a gun. As I said earlier, most likely this person. Would be at 5. So most often there will be minimum group size, so normally the minimum group size is going to be 3. So they’ll say that, OK. You can go only if there are three people. But then what I do is I pay for the rest as well. So like, if the charge is 100 per head, 100 per head, I may have to pay ₹300. And then maybe another 200 or 300 for the guide. So that’s how I normally do it, and most of the time I’ve been on tracks in national parks in Kerala. But then as I told you yesterday, we were in. So we went on a. A safari that was in a vehicle so. That’s not a gypsy, it’s. It’s kind of a kind of. A vehicle. So there are about 10 people. In the bus. And normally the safari in Param Sanctuary stops by around 6:30, but the practice that we have taken it had a. A tribal cultural program as well in it. So what happened was, after the tribal cultural program, which starts at 6:30, either 10 by maybe around 7/7/15 7:30. After that we have around one hour trip back to our tents. Based on BSD. And that becomes a de facto and night safe, even though it’s not a night safari, it becomes a night safari and these guides that we had with us in the bus, they are really good at knowing where to expect what. And on that trip on that. Way back we saw a leopard. We saw a leopard. We saw elephant. We we saw a leopard cat on a a bison that’s got. Quite a lot of deer and. Stuff like that so. 

Vineet 

And I guess that’s how you get to do your golden hour and do our photography also. Because otherwise when I went to Sariska 2 months ago, it was all. No, it has to be either a 7:00 AM thing or a three PM thing and you have to be out before sunset. 

Neel Dass 

So it’s a what you call even even though we talk about the morning and afternoon sessions, quite a lot of these animals. So they will come out only at night. So it’s even even if we go on early morning Safari or. Or you may not see the the full wildlife that. You have in any case, so. There’s a place. Called myopathy, it’s about 60 kilometers from here. I had an opportunity to go on a night safari there. That wasn’t a government sponsored one. It was a a pilot. They kind of a thing and they had a Jeep. And they crush on on night Spike and that’s that’s the time when I saw an animal called slender low. It has. It comes out only in the night. It has got huge ice like it has to have that huge ice because it it sees in the dark and the the interesting part is the slender loris and humans, we share a common ancestor, even though it’s a little animal. It may be this. It’s huge eyes. It wouldn’t look like a monkey or anything. It’s interesting that that it’s we share a common ancestor. It is in our in our what we call family. 

Vineet 

That’s quite amazing. How do you like so? Now you carry a. 100 to 501 fifty to five hundred 200 to 205 hundred. How much does that weigh? 

Neel Dass 

It’s around 2:00. 

Vineet 

How do you carry it around? I I I 100 to 150 to 600 No 200 to 600 Sony and I think it’s like it’s huge. 

Neel Dass 

So yeah, you have to like you, you the lens waves around 2 kilos. Yeah. Your camera always goes to around the hero. So in total about. 3 kilos. You have to, in my mind it it will be like a a soldier carrying a life. So I I use pretty much kind of the same kind of carrying methods. So I carry it, carry the lens on my. Arm this is. On my arm is how I normally. Carry it or I will be. Carrying it on my shoulder. 

Vineet 

What do you do? You like a shoulder like a sling strap? A shoulder ***** ** those rapture clip thingies. 

Neel Dass 

I have an extra but I don’t the next trap. You wouldn’t be able to rely on. The only reason I use the next trap is to ensure that even if my hand slips, it will still stay in my on my body. Otherwise I’m always carrying it with the handle of. The lens. It will be either on my arm. On the cook of my arm or on the on my shoulder. So that’s how I normally. I there are options available. There are companies like carrier and stuff like that where they have harnesses where you can actually fix. You want to adjust harness. That’ll be a really good thing to have, but I’m not sure whether I haven’t seen. Being available in India, you would have to get one from eBay. 

Vineet 

I got a shoulder. Strap from Amazon Tip 1. Bad idea. I I was last year, I’m in Sri Lanka on a mangrove visit. In one of those small. And the screw at the bottom, it just falls off. So my camera falls to the bottom of the board. Thankfully I caught it before it fled. Into the water. Yeah, people do not buy unbranded stuff from Amazon. 

Neel Dass 

No, it’s it’s. Pretty much unreliable. Never know what you, but when you go for. Capital font. At least you would know what you’re getting. So what I try to do these days is go into eBay and try to find the deal in eBay if that’s possible. 

Vineet 

And they deliver to India. 

Neel Dass 

Or the two delivered to. India, the the only popular it’s if it’s a lens of a camera, you’ll have to pay customs. You’ll have to pay about 30%. 

Vineet 

But straps, I would think should actually it is coming by FedEx and. Anything they’ll charge. You 30%, even if it’s a strap or anything. I would think right. 

Neel Dass 

I’m I haven’t bought. A strap yet? I’m not sure about. How that works in the straps? But then for lenses, of course, yeah, I have bought a lens some time back in through eBay, and they do charge 20%. 

Vineet 

Yeah, makes sense. And so with these. So what do you do when you just do you go hiking, trekking ever? 

Neel Dass 

Yes, mostly. That’s how I’ve been doing it till now. And as I said, there are also places where we can actually go and utilize the facilities of a. Hide. So there are. Around who have prepared bird hides. So the one guy I have been to in Monaco it’s his home. So the part of his home in a room in his home, he has got these wooden structures which you can open so. It’s like those leaves. So you open one leaf, you have a straight slit like opening on the on the wall and you can you can see into his backyard in his garden. His backyard is really good because it is sloping down. It’s a downward slope behind his house so that way. You you get the canopy of the trees as a background, the green background. And also you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t have much of 1/4 in that. So that’s one thing that you price for in, in good for when you have a nice clean background, that’s absolutely. 

Vineet 

But then do you miss? Like if you’re on a 200 to 500, do you? Miss not being able to take landscape. Like wider angles and 200 to 200 and even at 200, you can’t really do a landscape, you have to be very, very focused. Do you miss? How do you manage lenses? Do you have? Do you carry a wide angle lens with you or no, it is only going to be burning. 

Neel Dass 

So normally what I do is I I’ll have my 205 hundred along with me and I’ll also have my 2470 along with me. So even the 2470 is heavy nuts so. 

Vineet 

2470 heavy. Which one do you have? 

Neel Dass 

2.8. It’s around 9G or 800 grams something. Like that so. It’s not too heavy, but then? It adds on to. The wheel. So yeah. So that’s how I. Normally used to. Do it, but then the last step, the one that was on yesterday, yesterday I experimented with having the 200. Fixed on my DSLR and having a second secondary camera. So I have been gifted a Rico GA 3. It’s a it’s a street street photography kind of a camera. It’s really small. It takes really good pictures, especially for street photography and landscapes. You can have. You can use it as a secondary camera if you wish. It wouldn’t have the same quality as the full frame sensor. It’s a good camera. So it is and it’s what they call. Poor man, poor. Man’s like a kind of a camera. So it was a. Good opportunity for me to try. I’ve tried it out. I haven’t had a chance to look at the pictures yet from yesterday’s trip. We have been going into that. 

Vineet 

That actually is a good segue into the last part of this interview, this discussion. Which is looking at photos and editing like one thing. I love about your photos. Everything that you’ve uploaded to our platform is. They’re fantastically edited. 1 is what part of photography is the editing itself? How important is it? And secondly, how does one go from being an intermediate editor to A to a very very high level editor? So editing again is a different ball game. 

Neel Dass 

Together. So one thing you have, you have the camera, you have the lenses. You have to figure out the shutter speed, ISO and and stuff like that. There is technical aspects with the camera and the lens combination. And now you have another level to learn, which is everything. So you would need to learn about the colors, how colors interact with each other, what looks good, what does, and what colors complement each other. How does light behave and all those aspects. So that’s an entirely different. Because subject to learn and itself, so I use Lightroom so I don’t do very heavy edits. So basically what I do is I do the adjustments. Like mostly and the the intention of Mark edits is always to bring the focus to the subject. So getting the viewer’s attention to the subject as my point of view. As far as. Possible I would try to create leave the colors as such, I wouldn’t want to change the colors too much, especially with respect to nature product. We wouldn’t want to do that. You wouldn’t want to want to pick up to look different color all together. You wouldn’t want that. My intention always it’s with respect to bringing that. Subject into prominence. So Lightroom it’s quite adequate for that purpose. It gives you a good control at the light, adjusting the light levels. There are the new. Portions of Lightroom that you have it will also give you quite a lot of new masks. Masks are very handy when it comes to. And you can keep the subject at the same level. At your shop. But you can adapt in brighten the background so these kind of edits are possible with like from these days. So basically bring up bring the subject out and give. Are comments to the subject address to my philosophy when it comes to? 

Vineet 

Roughly how many photos do you end up taking and how many do you end? Up editing and how many are? You proud of very. 

Neel Dass 

So when you when you go on a on a track or on a board, hide if you’re on a bird hide especially you tend to take quite a lot of photos. On a single day I have taken somewhere close to 2000 plus photos. When you when you are in the height, when you are on a track, maybe around 607 hundred, you tend to go on that continuous high mode. Camera and you tend to click quite a lot, quite a lot. One reason why I do that is because most of the time it’s challenging conditions, so you may have to use high ISO. You may have to use high shutter speed to ensure that you get a sharp picture. So in that scenario, if you go on a continuous high mode, when you continuously click you would get you would minimize your chances for failure like at least one of your photos would be. So that’s how I end up with. With 2000 photos, or 500 or 600 photos. So it’s a. Chance now, once you have shot that many photos, it will become a challenge when you when you bring it into Lightroom and you have to select which is a good one. I hate deleting my photos. I also take like 5-6 hundred and I come back and delete this delete. 

Vineet 

This it looks so cute. 

Neel Dass 

That’s that’s the that’s the most. Difficult part as you rightly mentioned. And like don’t pass that functionality where where you can actually mark your photos like you can. 

Vineet 

Give those stars you give them stars. 

Neel Dass 

Or you can give the stars. You can rush through. Your photos check which one of them. The shoppers done stuff like that and then down select that and then edit only only those down select it. So that’s how I normally do that, but it will take take time. Yeah, I take at least about 1520 minutes maybe that’s actually that’s. Quick so I used to take quite a lot long earlier. The more you. Do it. The more you get a hang of it and more, you know, actually what matters. It’s a continuous improvement and everything is a continuous improvement you have. 

Vineet 

And and and. Would you recommend any resources for people to learn to get better there? 

Neel Dass 

YouTube guys who actually YouTube on how to edit and there are quite a few YouTube creators that I follow so. Yeah, watching them and learning and actually practicing what I’ve seen in the media, that’s how. That’s how. And basically you try to once you know what happens in the background, you know the tool, you know how Lightroom works, and then you’ll start to figure it out on your own, and then you can. 

Vineet 

Perfect. I think they’ll stop there. That’s this has been quite a fascinating discussion, Neil. Thank you so much. We started off with one area, but then this went so deep into birding and just going on safaris and shooting more. It’s been fantastic. I have learned a lot. And thank you so much and thanks guys for tuning in. 

Neel Dass 

No problem at all. And it’s been a pleasure talking to you. And it’s been an honor to be on your. Platform and looking forward to many more collaborations in future as well and best wishes for your. 

Vineet 

Thank you. Thank you. Thanks, Neil and everyone watching visit individual dot in. If your photographer sign up and start up. Thank you. Yes, thanks. Bye. Bye bye. 

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