Wildlife's connoisseur Kiran Poonacha is perceiving life better through Photography
M P Rohini
Late M P Poonacha
7th October 1974
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
Being born amidst nature in Coorg (‘The Scotland of India’), Kiran is obsessed with the faunal diversity of nature since his childhood. Growing up in a home full of pets, the passion for nature just kept on growing. Before getting hit by the buzz of photography, he used to draw sketches and paintings until one day his better half bought him a DSLR and since then there was no looking back. According to Kiran’s adventurous experiences, what we see expands more creatively when we put a camera in between our eyes and the subject. His love for birds and animals has got him so much accolades that it clearly proves, “nature is indeed a gift of god”. His skills as a photographer is what the budding enthusiasts must attain in order to master this craft.
We are really keen to know; how did your journey begin?
My love for wildlife, especially birds started at a very young age, also belonging to the western ghats played its role as I grew up amidst nature in Coorg, the way of life I was taught was all about respecting and loving the nature. I was very active as a bird enthusiast till my 10th standard (1990). Then I lost touch with nature as I got into college and further on started my real estate business. Then in the year 2005, my wife Neeta gifted me a small camera which had a nice zoom lens. Being an artist (I also love to sketch and draw) initially I used it to capture basic stuff like portrait and street photography. Then by chance I happened to visit a nature camp by herpetologist Gerry Martin. It was at that camp I met nature photographers and was exposed to the world of DSLR and long lenses. I was fascinated by the thought of capturing birds with a camera and here I am now.
What were the hardships / hurdles you have encountered during your journey? How did you overcome them?
Every journey has its hardships/ hurdles but if you love what you do, every pain can be turned into pleasure. For a wildlife photographer, most of the times you need to have another day job and that too a good one. This is because the equipment required for quality wildlife photography is expensive. So the real hardship is that you want to be out in the wild all the time, but your job keeps you grounded. This is my only hardship. Over time you mature and plan yourself better to make both, your job and passion work well together.
Know me Beyond Photography
"Hard work pays"
Lord Shiva, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Salim Ali
I draw inspirations from
Hard Working successful people
Food I Love
Food I Don't Like
Had I not been a Photographer then
I would have been a Farmer
Like Vacations at
Favorite Pass time
I Really don’t have time to pass
Favorite Movies / Series
Narcos, Vikings, Game of Thrones
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
My parents were my first influencers for this journey. Being nature lovers, they used to keep various injured animals at home. Especially my father, he loved keeping pets. This landed various beings like doves, parakeets, crow, black kite to our home and I grew around them. My wife Neeta also played a major role in my journey as a photographer. She always encourages me and keeps me very prepared for my outings and shoots.
Tell us something about your Guru…
My real guru is not a person, but a website called India Nature Watch. When I picked up my DSLR camera and knew that I wanted to photograph birds, I did not know how to begin, where to go. etc. Then I was introduced to this website called “India Nature Watch” by a friend in the year 2006. As there were no social media at that time, most Indian wildlife photographers used to share their work on this website and by actively participating in this medium, I could learn and grow as a wildlife photographer.
Success is incomplete without its share of setbacks. What advice would you give to others about handling them?
Setback is a state of mind, if you're focused on what you want to achieve or have real passion in what you’re doing, I don't think setbacks can stop your way forward. I always remember the saying “In every adversity, there is always a greater opportunity”. Most of the times, setbacks are good for matured growth.
Do you think Photography and its learnings can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career?
In today's stressed out world, everyone needs some time off for a hobby and photography is amongst the top hobbies at the moment. Photography teaches you to have patience, helps you see the world more attentively and also appreciate life better in perceiving things.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
More than age, I think it is the mindset, you need to have focus and real hunger to learn and excel.
How has technology transformed the world of Photography?
Technology surely plays its role in photography as the basic tool, that is the “Camera” is a product of technology and because of the continuous technological advancements, today photography is considerably more accessible to people. Also, today's technology helps people focus more on framing than the technical aspects as the camera takes care of the exposure and other settings by using artificial intelligence. This also encourages more people to take up photography.
What according to you is scope of Photography in India?
Like any form of art, photography too has a large audience. You need to be really good and talented to be on the top of your game in photography.
If you were to bring one big change in the way people get trained in Photography what would that be?
As a wildlife photographer, I would love to first make the person keen on learning wildlife photography, spend a lot of time with the subjects and surroundings without a camera. This I believe would set the foundation right for a wildlife photographer. If the person know his subject and its behaviour better, it would make him/her respect their subject and also help in making better frames.
Your piece of advice to parents who are skeptical about their children taking up a career in any co-curricular activities?
Today's parents are already looking at what other things their kids would love to do. Sure, the worry for any parent is that, basic education is the need of the hour and other hobbies can follow, I don't disagree to that, because if you need to be good and make a career in photography, the eye to see things and talent is a basic essential. This needs to be coupled with hard work to stay on the top. If you have the basics of photography right, there is no way parents can stop you.
What is your success mantra?
There is no shortcut to success and hard work always pays.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I Am The 1”?
As a passionate wildlife photographer, I have always felt “I Am The 1” as without that hunger, you would reach nowhere. There have been so many such moments. Be it making some of the best raptors’ photographs our country has seen, photographing Fruit Bats in total darkness using high speed triggers and flash, photographing wild mahseers, etc. It is hard to get raptors on a simple GoPro, I live for such moments.
Your piece of advice to the youth of our country…
Follow your passion, hard work never fails. Do what you love to do, and you will never feel you are working. Every pain is an actual pleasure when you’re following your passion. Two sayings I have always followed, “In every adversity, there is always a greater opportunity” and “with great powers comes greater responsibilities”