The animals look for man's intentions right into his eyes.' Hiram Powers, American Sculptor (1805 - 1873) On that particular day, we were very lucky. Driving off-road in the Ndutu plains of Southern Serengeti, we spotted a leopard sitting high up on an Acacia tree. Spotting a leopard in these parts is rare because they live and hunt in the shadows and the dense forest provides ample cover. We had very little visibility of the cat because it was hidden among the thick high branches. After waiting for close to an hour, we were convinced that it would not come down before nightfall. However, it surprised us. Suddenly, this beautiful animal shot down the tree and ran across our vehicle to disappear in the bushes. But those few seconds gave me an opportunity to capture a moment - That day, those eyes spoke volumes.
My passion for animals coupled with my love for photography resulted in my pursuit of wildlife photography. My first safari in the wild impacted me in many ways. I wanted to capture it all - the expanse of the Savannah, the clear blue skies, the stark stillness of my surroundings. It was something I wanted to preserve forever. What started as an amateur endeavor– took on a more consistent role with each successive trip. I felt an urgent need to raise awareness of the myriad life forms that were threatened with extinction, not by natural selection or cosmic events, but by both the actions and inaction's of man. I believe that wildlife photographs are indispensable tools to inspire everyone towards a cause – conservation of the wild by creating a connection with nature and the need to protect it. I have traveled more than half the world and have lived in several countries including India, United States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. My undergraduate degree is in Engineering and Economics from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York and I have done a Masters from Columbia University, New York. Last year, I completed my PhD in Health Economics from the University of London. Before my PhD I worked for a few years at the World Bank in Washington. But my time in the wild has taught me several important lessons, among them patience and perseverance. I have learnt to push myself harder and while doing so remain unperturbed. I have learnt to accept challenges that are out of my control - the vagaries of weather, difficult terrain, and my subjects with a strong mind of their own and still persevere. Stay with the subject for as long as possible, often the whole day to get that perfect shot. It's that focus on pursuit that has been my greatest learning. Both fulfilling and exciting. Website: www.sonalinikhetrapal.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org