Coimbatore:Small is cute. And big is beautiful. Wildlife photographer K.C. Gowthaman knows just how breathtaking the tiny creatures can be. While most wildlife shutterbugs trail the big strides of tigers and elephants, Gowthaman prefers to explore the world of the small, tiny and the minuscule.
This February, Gowthaman drove to the Dadeli-Anshi tiger reserve in Karnataka. Not to capture the striped majesties in his camera. But one of the smallest birds that flutters in India - the black lored Tit. It is smaller than an adult’s finger. From 6 am to 9.30 am, he stalked the bushes with his telelens, tripod and camera. Just as he clicked the tiny tit, another small creature, the black naped monarch, descended. "I framed two tiny birds within two minutes," says Gowthaman, an MBA graduate.
Another sleepy dawn, as he was driving down the Valparai ghat road, he chanced upon a flock of tiny birds. They turned out to be the brown fly catcher. The sun was just emerging on the horizon and the veil of darkness was yet to lift, so Gowthaman had to capture them in "low lighting".
Another wild outing to Anamalai tiger reserve, but Gowthaman did not return with awesome images of the prowling big cat. He preferred to frame the humble nest of the small white-rumped munias.
An entrepreneur with a managment degree, Gauthaman enrolled with the Nilgiri Wildlife Environment Association when he was an undergraduate student of visual communication.
The lure of the lens turned the conservationist into a wildlife photgrapher. However, he did not want to disturb the small creatures on the pretext of taking pictures. So, he trained himself to camouflage and hide in green cover and capture the wildlife, causing least disturbance.
It was a bird census in 2010 in Nilgiris that drew him to the enchanting world of the winged creatures. In 2010, he bought Canon 600 D with sigma 70- 300mm lens and wandered around Mudumalai national park, Koonthankulam bird sanctuary, Bandipur tiger reserve, Dandeli-Anshi tiger reserve, Nagarhole national park of Karnataka, Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary in Kerala and Ranthambore tiger reserve, Rajasthan.
And, he always came back home with a collection of the tiny birds’ images. “I have taken pictures of the Pale Billed flower pecker, another tiny bird that feeds on nectar and berries, found in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka."
From dark fronted babbler to little spider hunters, spotted owls, crested serpent eagle, great hornbill and common kingfisher, he has captured them all in his camera.
“My most memorable experience was at Nagarhole national park in 2010. When I was waiting to capture the birds, a leopard crossed me. I was just taken aback. But I quickly took 25 frames at one go," he says.
Apart from capturing small birds, he faced a wild tusker charging their vehicle on way to a forest. However, they were able to escape from the charges in a very calm manner. He has captured the image of a sloth bear in Ranthambore tiger reserve while waiting for a shot of a tiger.