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Born and raised in Nagpur, Manish Mamtani moved to the US to work as an IT/Finance consultant. He has since then led two lives. When he isn’t working, Manish shoots breathtaking images that have been published in magazines such as National Geographic and Vanity Fair among others. In an email interview, Manish spoke about what piqued his interest in photography and why he turned to drones for capturing landscapes. Also Read - 5 Cases Of Omicron COVID-19 Variant Detected In New York

Which photographers have influenced you and how have they shaped your art?

I am influenced and inspired by Good Photographs and not by Photographers. A good photograph can be from a Professional or an Amateur photographer. I love the way photographers push themselves these days to capture a beautiful moment and this influences me to try and do even better. Also Read - Horoscope Today, December 2, Friday: Taurus Should Avoid Getting into Legal Trouble, Libra Should Take Care of Their Finances


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Please tell us a little about yourself

I am an avid nature photographer. I have traveled widely across exotic destinations in the US. Born and brought up in Nagpur – India, I came to the US to work as an IT/Finance consultant, and discovered my love for photography. My work includes Landscapes, Aerial, Night/Astro and Infrared and has been published in National Geographic, Vanity fair, Better Photography Magazine, Digital Photo and many more Magazines, Newspapers and online Media. I am in the process to convert my passion of photography into my full time profession.


What motivates you to take pictures?

For me, the main source of motivation has been the beauty of nature. I always feel at peace whenever I am close to nature. I still remember how excited I was, when I saw the Milky Way for the first time, or the Aurora Borealis or the meteor shower. I still feel the same level of excitement and this is what drives me to enjoy and capture the beauty of nature.


What does photography — landscape and drone — mean to you?

Photography is like Meditation to me. I feel at peace whenever I am close to Nature and that is the reason I do Landscape photography. Drone Photography allows me to see and capture the world from a bird eye view.


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What drew you to drone photography and how did you discover it?

I always used to wonder how birds see the world and I wished I could do the same. When I heard about Drone cameras, I was really excited to venture into it. Even though it doesn’t allow me to fly like birds, but it does allow me to see the way they see. That’s why I call it Bird eye view photography.


What do you think makes for a good drone photograph?

Almost everything looks good when shot from a drone as it provides a unique point of view but I think it is very important to have a good composition and creatively correct exposure to make a good drone photograph. I also suggest to shoot aerials when the Sun is low in the horizon to get beautiful long shadows.


How does monochrome work in landscape photography?

Before color photography started, everyone used to shoot in black-and-white. Although majority of photographers shoot in color these days, the art of Black and white photography is still alive with some. To shoot in Black and white, one has to develop the art of seeing the world in Black and White, master the art of composition and Understand Light, Shadows and the tonal ranges.


What do you want your audience to take away from your work?

I want my audience to experience the beauty and wilderness of Nature through my photographs, the way I did while taking the picture. I want them to live their memories and experiences through my photographs. I want them to appreciate Nature and visit the beautiful places I photograph.


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What are the difficulties practicing drone photography?

I didn’t experience any difficulties while doing drone photography rather I enjoyed it to the core from the very first flight. However, I am more careful while doing drone photography. I read the rules and regulation of the place where I am planning to fly a drone. There are not many rules and regulations when it comes to usual photography.


How much are your shots instinctive v/s planned?

I will say 50-50 but it also depends on the kind of photography I am doing. If I am doing Astro Photography, there is a lot of planning involved like finding a place away from light pollution. I use apps to find out where and when the time Milky Way will rise, and by scouting the place during the day, I try to avoid any last minute surprises. Some of the Natural events that I capture happen only once in a year, like capturing a specific meteor shower and if anything goes wrong (For example – bad weather), the wait time is one year. If I am doing Aerial, Infrared or Nature landscapes it is a little bit more of instinctive then planning.


Why do you take photographs?

I take photographs to get close to nature. I take Landscape images to show how beautiful nature is and Infrared images to show how I imagine this world to be. Aerial Photography gives a completely new perspective to a place that is shot a million times. I call it Bird eye view photography. My love for night sky is the reason I ventured into Astro/Night photography. To me, the stars are not just sparkling dots in the sky, they are prized jewels visible to those who seek them

How much role has social media played in your work?

When I started taking pictures, I posted them to various photography groups on social media. I got a very good response and people really liked my style of photography. This gave me a lot of confidence and improved my work a lot as well.


What cliches should amateurs avoid?

I have seen many budding photographers running after expensive camera gear. I want to tell them that it is “YOU” that makes a great picture and not the expensive camera gear so stop running after expensive gear and make full use of what you have got.

What gear do you use?

It depends on what I am planning to shoot but on most of the occasions, I use Canon 5d mk iii, Canon 6d (Modified), Canon 16-35mm Lens, Canon 24-70 Lens, Canon 70-200mm lens, Rokinon 24mm f1.4 and DJI Phantom 3 Drone. I use Manfrotto and Gitzo tripods with Really right stuff ball heads. I also use iOptron to track the stars.


Could you suggest five handy tips for amateur drone photographers?

Before flying, be aware of the FAA and Local rules and follow them. There are various apps available that can tell you the No-Fly zones and also the weather details.

If you are new to flying drones, fly in beginner’s mode and know all the controls before jumping into the advanced modes.

Be aware of the Histogram. Try to take bracketed exposures to get all the details in a photograph.

Shoot in Raw.

Be creative with your compositions. Drones can also help you take very unique and amazing Aerial selfies (Dronie).


What basic DSLR and lens kit would you recommend for amateur photographers?

I have not got a chance to review the entry level Cameras and Lenses. The choice depends on the type of photography one is interested in.

For Astro, I suggest cameras with good low light performance plus wide angle fast lenses with less coma.

For Infrared, The camera needs to be modified to capture the specific wavelength.

For wildlife, I suggest camera with good focus tracking and fast processor plus fast telephoto lens.

For Landscapes, a camera with good dynamic range plus prime sharp lenses produces best results.


When he isn’t working as an accountant, Manish Mamtani specializes in Landscape, Night/Astro, Aerial and Infrared Photography. Mamtani discovered his passion for photography in 2008, when he first visited Yosemite National Park.

Since then, he can frequently be found in National Parks all across America capturing the wilderness and beauty of the majestic parks. You can follow his work on his website and on his Facebook page


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