Seema Suresh has always been close to nature. The daughter of a farmer, she says she grew with the “nature around me, throughout my childhood.” A former television journalist, Seema found respite from her busy life as a journalist by going on forest treks. “I found going on these treks therapeutic. As each trip left me energised, the trips began becoming more frequent.”
However, soon the journalist in her began to kick in and she started documenting her trips with a camera.
“I love a good challenge and nature photography is nothing but that. It is tough to take a good shot of animals in the wild. Add the varied fall of light and shadow in the forest, clicking a good picture gives you a sense of achievement. My husband, Suresh, who is a cameraman, encouraged me. He gave me his old camera to start off my tryst with photography,” says Seema, who adds that when she entered the industry 10 years ago there were hardly any female wildlife photographers.
Seema who quit the field of journalism to pursue wildlife photography has travelled and photographed numerous animals in the wild, especially elephants, throughout India. Amongst the wildlife sanctuaries in the country, Jim Corbet National Park is her personal favourite. She chuckles saying: “It has almost become a pilgrimage site for me as I visit it each year.”
She is the founder-member of Greencap Safari — a group of like-minded people from different walks of life who are united in their passion for wildlife photography. Greencap Safari, says Seema, offers trips to the forests for aspiring nature photographers and lovers of nature.
Seema, who has held photography exhibitions in Kochi, Thrissur, Germany and Dubai, visited Maasai Mara National Reserve last year. She was hesitant to go at first though “as I thought about the expenses. Also, Africa seemed so far away from India. But I am glad I did.”
Seema who spent six days at the Reserve says she was fortunate to observe a coalition of cheetahs hunt. “It was fascinating to watch them stealthily take down their prey,” says Seema, who adds that there is no risk while clicking photographs of the wildlife there. “Trained, licensed guides accompany you on your trip. Maasai Mara is a photographer’s paradise as there are unique sighting of wildebeests, the big cats and other game species. The open Savannah makes sighting the animals easier. Among the various snaps I clicked during the trip, that of a leopard leaping over a stream, which I didn’t think I had managed to click right as it was sudden, and that of a lioness stroking her cub are my favourites.”
The Thrissur-based photographer hopes to start focussing her lens on theme-based photography. The photographer, who recently captured pictures of frogs at Munnar, plans to train her lens on elephants next. “I also hope to concentrate on conservation photography; photographs that can engage the mind and spread a story to highlight issues facing various species in the wild,” says Seema, who has served as mentor for various nature awareness camps conducted by schools and colleges in the state.
The photographer shares a few pictures of her trip to Maasai Mara.