Ruta R Kalmankar

Nature through my Lens

Life begins after 40, Ruta wanted to make it real, surprisingly her inner curiosity and love for wildlife photography blessed her with an adventurous chapter in her normal life.

Born and brought up in the underdeveloped town of Ausa, Latur, in Maharashtra and today settled in Mumbai, I, Ruta Kalmankar would like to share my personal journey of photography with the greater audience. I have always waited for an opportunity to reach out to more people about my experiences. Since my childhood, I have always been attracted to wildlife with great magnitude which today has become the fuel for my passion in photography. I married a handsome man at the age of 19 and had two children after my marriage. Bound with the responsibilities of looking after my children and maintaining the balance between being a successful entrepreneur in the wine and liquor business, I still remember watching myself lose track with my personal interests such as travelling and reading. Over the years reading was my only companion throughout until the age of 40.

However, life took a sharp turn at the age of 40 when I saw myself free of all the shackles that held me behind. This is the time when I introduced myself to photography for personal development and for the sake of learning a new skill. The reason I chose photography is my first possession after marriage was a Nikon camera which I used to picture and capture moments with my family. Little did I know that this new undertaking would later turn into a tremendous passion that I would be proud of. After being introduced to basics I started practicing at the age of 42 when I embarked on self-led excursions in the vivid forests around India and worldwide. My first excursion was Tadoba tiger reserve in Maharashtra. I still remember the first sighting of the magnificent beast and our national pride ‘The Royal Bengal Tiger’. I was fascinated by this carnivore and decided to undertake photography that was focused on this species. To fuel my photography with the knowledge, I started researching on its feeding habits, life cycle and predatory characteristics this also helped me in understanding a lot about this animal rather than just being able to click aesthetically appealing pictures.

I then quickly decided to excel in this field of photography unknown to the fact that this was rather a male territory. In several tours, I have been on such as Ranthambore, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Masai Mara, Amboseli, Nakaru, Tadoba, Pench and other wildlife habitats. I have always maintained high interest and witnessed an upward trend of self-development acknowledged by professionals in the field. On the other hand, while practicing tiger photography, I have also kept in mind the other wildlife life ranging from several types of herbivores, carnivores, birds, reptiles. I have also managed to capture some of the rarest forms of the above listed with grace.

During this, I realized that I was among the few Indian female photographers driven by self-enthusiasm who got an opportunity to visit the tropical forests of Costa Rica and was able to witness some species limited to the particular habitat. Over the span of five years, my ‘to do’ list in photography just got longer and thus I travelled as frequently as much as six times in a year to protected areas. I now feel the need to showcase these captured moments with the greater audience. In my opinion, some of these pictures have an enchanting story of itself and with the help of these pictures I want to create interest and spread knowledge amongst various age groups about wild animals as animals in captivity show changed behavioural patterns.

I would like to take this opportunity to showcase my work until now. However, I still crave for self-development and do not feel that I have achieved a lot and would like to explore a lot more in this field.

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