On Wednesday 8th January 2020, Dunchurch Photographic Society were very pleased to be able to host Tal Chohan from the West Midlands who came to talk about his wildlife photography undertaken in both the United Kingdom and in India’s Tadoba National Park.
After the customary introduction to the evening, the floor was handed to Tal to introduce himself, to talk about his style of photography and to show us a wonderful selection of his images.
In the first half, Tal provided details relating to the type of nature/wildlife photography he undertakes in the United Kingdom, describing his camera gear, camera settings and general workflow to achieve results he is rightfully proud of in terms of both uniqueness and quality.
There were images of owls, kingfishers and ‘raptor’ species, with examples photographed in a different style to the well trodden set pieces we come to expect in competition and exhibition realms. Tal showed examples of his work featuring not only close up portrait work but also birds in the context of their environment and under a range of different lighting conditions, often captured after many photographers would have left for home.
Tal was a big advocate of patience… putting the time in to get that ‘moment of serendipity.’
It was an engaging presentation, given in the style of a conversation that sought participation from the audience. He explained how some shots were composed and set, with some particularly inspiring images of ‘raptors,’ squirrels and foxes using lenses that I, for one, would not ordinarily have considered for wildlife photography – a 15mm fish-eye lens proving particularly effective in giving a very intimate, ‘in your face’ look to some subjects.
There were also some lovely colour images featuring low, sunlit conditions, such as at dusk when his subjects were back lit, providing wonderful sky colours, with the subject nicely in silhouetted profile. The message that Tal stressed consistently was to be different from the norm and to find originality rather than simply conform to the stereotypical expectation of traditional wildlife photography.
After the customary tea break (thanks to Liz and to Andrew Evans), Tal continued his presentation, switching the emphasis from wildlife in the UK to something very spectacular… Tigers in the Tadoba National Park in India. He explained that as well as undertaking his own photography in the Park, he also conducts tours to the area to allow fellow photographers some access to the environment in which these big cats live.
Leaflets are available and here is a link to Tal’s website.
Tal spoke at length about tiger conservation and the environmental linkages they have with the operation of the Park, the surrounding villages and the local way of life. He explained about the behaviours of the animals and that by showing them respect, spectacular photographic opportunities can be a big reward.
Tal again adopted a conversation style presentation in the second half, engaging the audience with questions, and providing attendees with a wealth of superb and thought provoking images of the tigers, supplemented with images of sloth bears and other animals found in the Park. Tal presented images that were taken in very low light, low down at ‘eye level’ and as close as a handful of metres away from the subject. It was clear that Tal knows his subject very well and is well practiced in capturing their mood and posture in a variety of styles.
When Tal completed his presentation, the audience took some time to ask further questions, most of them relating to the tigers themselves rather than dwelling on camera settings. Tal certainly appreciated this interest in the animals.
In summary, Dunchurch Photographic Society was treated to a wonderful and diverse presentation by Tal Chohan, showcasing some very different types of UK wildlife photography in the first half, as well as a detailed look at Indian tigers and their behaviours in the second half.
We look forward to welcoming Tal back to Dunchurch again in the future and wish him well on his next adventure to Tadoba in April this year.
Thank you Tal!
Report compiled by David J. Bray (Chairman).