The Photographer’s Blog interviews Vishal Jadhav – Wildlife Documentary filmmaker
Vishal Jadhav is a wildlife photographer specialized in wildlife documentaries. Here is an exclusive interview with Vishal.
Gaurav : You have been into photography from the past several years and recently your film Flying Rainbow got nominated for many prestigious film festival’s, Tell us more about your journey and your film “Flying Rainbow” ?
Vishal : I have been photographing for close to 12 years and filming videos for past 6 years, Flying Rainbow got nominated for 8 different International Festivals and has won in 2 of them . This film is more of my experience over last 6 years tracking a small bird called the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher in the Western Ghats, it has been a truly enriching experience where I got to learn a lot about Natural History just following this one species across the Western Ghats, the film brings about the relationship between this bird, Western Ghats, Monsoon and all other species who live in this region and are dependent on the Monsoon. The Life in India is so much dependent on the Monsoon and I found a unique relationship of the Monsoon with this small bird and it was very enriching to explore these unique relationships in the Western Ghats with monsoon and all the species who live around it including Humans.
Gaurav : Do you have any upcoming films ? We got a hint of another similar film in the making. (Documentary on needs to Conserve Grassland Habitat)
Vishal : After completing my first film I was offered to shoot a Documentary on the Grassland Habitat by a US Based Not for profit organization, as I had worked in the Western Ghats for a long time I felt it was a nice opportunity to shift to a different landscape, having seen grasslands and Great Indian Bustard in Nannaj (Sholapur) and also the ongoing diminishing population of such key indicator species, felt the need to work on this. Currently that’s the one I am working on, shooting in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat mainly but I may need to travel wider sometimes to cover some of the subjects. The objective is to show how impressive ecosystem these grasslands are with the Wolves, foxes , floricans and the other Bustard species and to portray their current state where there is a urgent need to conserve them as we are losing them at a very rapid rate.
Gaurav : Your Wildlife pictures are outstanding, When and how did you decide to get involved in wildlife documentaries?
Vishal : I began to observe wildlife nearly 16 years back and later that developed into me photographing this beautiful wildlife, in around 2010 when the static image wanted to move in my head, started with recording videos of nature/wildlife moments. Around that time I meet a famous wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri who really inspired me and that inspiration lead me to think on lines of making documentaries, guess that’s how the process started.
Gaurav : You must need to travel a lot for your documentaries, what are some of the places your filming has taken you? And how much time do you put into making a documentary?
Vishal : Documentary filming takes you to new places, depends on the research done for the filming, my first documentary needed me to travel in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka as my subject was around there, time taken for a documentary is a bit dicey to predict as it took me nearly 6 years to make my first one, however for the first 4 years out of that I used to work full time into the Field of Core Finance and shoot on weekends, 2 years back realized that this can only be done full time and left my full time job in Field of Finance and fully committed to doing documentaries. Now I am full time documentary maker and each documentary can take anywhere from 1 to 2 years to complete based on the complexity of the subject.
Gaurav : While out filming/photographing, what is one animal experience you have had that stands out. The one that touched you in a way others have not?
Vishal : In the 16 odd years I have been observing wildlife, there have been surely many moments that I still remember vividly, however probably the moment I think which may be the best is the one which needed nearly 4 years to take place, while I was shooting the Documentary on the Oriental Dwarf kingfisher I had never been able to see the chicks coming out of the nest hole or even outside and I kind of missed it every time. It was proving to be an enigma of some sorts, finally after a wait of 4 years when the moment came about and I saw the female kingfisher luring the chicks with a feed from outside the nest for them to come out, I knew that this might be the moment and one chick flew out of the nest hole, it had all colors of the adult but the flight was way different, was its first flight and I could identify that it’s a chick and I was able to see it finally after a wait of 4 years. I still remember that morning was one of those magical moments.
Gaurav : Wild life Conservation is a big topic, How can you as a photographer help protect the wildlife?
Vishal : Wildlife conservation is a topic where everyone can contribute in their own way, it may be by avoiding use of plastic bags or being aware of the need to keep the wild places protected. Conservation for me is not really done by only a few people and with few people nothing would be achieved in the current state we are, it’s for the whole community to work towards it and only then we can ensure conservation of our wild places. Also we need to look at conservation which is combination of protecting the wildlife as well as the people who are dependent on these places, only then can it be termed as conservation in true sense. We need to increase every bodies understanding of the wilderness and its in-habitants, people would protect something they like and know about is my view of conservation and as a photographer and film maker I always try to bring these beautiful wild places close to everyone so that they can appreciate natures beauty.
I contribute my images to various conservation organizations like Wildscreen Archive, NGOs, and even to Wildlife department so that awareness can be spread and I can aid in spreading the message of conservation.
Gaurav : Please give us an idea of what a day on your Filming safaris is like.
Vishal : Normally on a filming day the objective is to reach the place where you want to film early normally before sunrise, most of the time nearly an hour before sunrise. Most of my shooting morning begin at around 3.30 in the morning so that I get the time to drive to the place well before sunrise. Once some light come around you just wait for things to happen based on your instincts and previous experience with the subjects to be shot. Depending upon the places where you shoot will decide how much time you can spend in the field. During monsoon in Western Ghats you can shoot nearly from sunrise to sunset and even in the night sometime. Hence 12 hours on field is pretty normal day for me.
Gaurav : What’s in the future, where do we see Vishal 3 years down the line in the photographing scenario ? And any last wisdom words you would like to give out to your fans and aspiring photographers?
Vishal : I have really not kept any goal or objective for the future, the only thing would like to do it to improve the way I work to get better than what I am today, guess this is how I have lived all my life by just trying to be better myself in terms of outlook and skill than I am today and make it a progressive journey. I believe that other things will fall in place if that’s done with utmost dedication and sincerity. I would like to improve my skills and better my story telling abilities.
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