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Bird Photography Trip: Fifteen Hours in Bharatpur

I’m finally back and blogging again after a long break. I would have hoped to start of the first blog of the New Year with an exciting story about my first bird photography trip of the year, a trip to Keoladeo National Park in Bhratpur, land of birds. You would probably be scrolling down by now to quickly have a look at my new images from KNP before settling into reading this post. Well, this post is neither very exciting nor filled with images of the colorful birds, as you would have expected.

Do stay with me on this as this may be worth your while.  Barely fifteen hours after I arrived in Bharatpur, I was already on my way back to Delhi. The car ride was emotional for me, the unfortunate streak now extended to six. Six is the number of consecutive photography trips that I have failed to either start or finish in the last four months.

To start the year with a failure is not what I wanted, but then I have become accustomed to failures, they have become my friends and we go together every where. When you have a debilitating health issue that causes your body to not function normally, then everyday is a challenge. Regardless of whatever goals you set for yourself, the potential for failures is high. When your body is ravaged with pain from within day in and day out, it is easy to loose hope.


Canon ID X, Exposure: 1/1600sec, F/5.6, Lens 300mm +1.4x, ISO 800, Sapan Mori

Canon ID X, Exposure: 1/1600sec, F/5.6, Lens 300mm +1.4x, ISO 800, Sapan Mori

Back in Bharatpur, when I arrived in the afternoon it was cold and foggy. I only had birds on my mind and the rest was all blocked out. I headed out into the dense fog and on into the park. It is true that as a photographer I tend to photograph those aspects of the wild that in some way relate to me, it is the subconscious of the mind that pushes me to relate to an animal or a bird in a certain situation or a behavior. In the image above of the Black-necked Stork, the scene was very surreal. The dense fog had enveloped the entire land and amidst the silence and what seemed like a moment frozen in time, there stood a lonesome Black-necked Stork with it’s back to me and in solitude. This moment was a reminder to me that being in solitude can be peaceful, it was a refreshing moment and a feeling of calm settled over me.


Canon ID X, Exposure: 1/1600sec, F/5.6, Lens 300mm +1.4x, ISO 800, Sapan Mori

Canon ID X, Exposure: 1/1250sec, F/5.6, Lens 300mm +1.4x, ISO 800, Sapan Mori

Often, the pain of the mind or body will take us into a state of solitude; isolating one self when we are suffering can be both positive and negative.  Why me? Why now? Why can’t it stop? Constantly pondering over these questions will force your mind to focus on the pain and not the desire to heal, leading to further worsening of the situation. In my situation, I felt the world was a very lonely place. My body pain had taken over my mind and that it was only a matter of time. However, deep down there was a burning desire to let go and find a way out of the crisis, to fly like a free bird and free my mind and body of this pain.  I began to tell myself that everything is going to be all right; I need to have faith in myself. My health issues were overseen and looked at by a dedicated group of doctors and physiotherapists, who had the fighting spirit and a never give up attitude.


Canon 1D X, Exposure: 1/1250sec, F/8.0, Lens 600mm +2x, ISO 800, Kosi

Canon 1D X, Exposure: 1/1250sec, F/8.0, Lens 600mm +2x, ISO 800, Kosi

If you stayed with me up till this point then just hang on for a bit longer. That car ride back from Bharatpur was emotional, and yes the string of failures did continue, I was again failed by bad health. Here are however some facts, I believe that there is nothing in life that cannot be fixed. Giving up is easy, believe in yourself and keep moving forward. No matter how many times you fall, get back up and show your fighting spirit. It is because of this belief that I’m on way to recovery, there are bumps on the way but I’m riding them out as they come. Even in times when faced with failures, know that tomorrow is a new day and a new beginning. Last but not the least, set your mind on achieving something, weather it is to get back in good health or a career goal with determination go make it happen.

As much as I was keen on photographing the Sarus Cranes in Bharatpur, I didn’t get the opportunity. That ride back home from Bharatpur, well I looked long and hard all the way back and found a beautiful pair in a field close to the highway. I was humbled at what I did see and really not what I missed. Tomorrow, after all is the beginning of a new day and I will be back again and again.

Please click on the images to see a sharper version.

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