The Nature Aperture

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By Shafiya Nawzer

When it comes to photography subjects, nothing could be considered more beautiful or difficult to capture than wildlife and the environment they live in. Wildlife photographers are highly skilled in taking images of wild animals in their natural habitats.

Historically, photography has always been a discipline under constant innovation. Drone photography has been around for several years, yet the gravitational pull it has had on the industry continues to grow. It is quite revolutionary as the ability to capture images from the air, while the photographer’s feet remain on the ground.

Drone photography has been one of the fastest-growing photography trends in recent years. Using drones can give you a new perspective to photograph landscapes, cityscapes, and nature. This bird-eye view look will add an extra touch to your photos.

Ranul Deelaka Thantilage is cybersecurity and digital forensics expert by profession; among his many expertise is his passion for wildlife photography. He goes by 

@thenatureaperture on Instagram, where he has shared a glance of his captures. His passion for nature, flora and fauna is clear in his images. His photography includes aerial shots, nature, travel, and of course wildlife. Some of his photos are very candid and his choice of composition is often out of the box, but that’s what makes his work so interesting. 

Not only are his images great, but his work shows his love for nature and his concern for the environment. There are no simplistic portraits in his beautifully lit images. All show some behaviour or have an eye-grabbing characteristic. Ranul’s images are more than eye-candy, each tells a story. Most of his shots are moody and dramatic.

His family is involved in making documentaries of wildlife since his childhood, this allowed Ranul to have hands-on experience with all the work that they did and the equipment they used. When Ranul’s family wanted to record aerial footage of wildlife parks for their Wild Asia documentary series, it was his idea to use drones to capture videos, because it would be less intrusive to the animals residing in the national parks.

“It was around the year 2010-2011, and at that time, the use of drones was a very foreign concept for Sri Lankans,” he recounted. “The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) licence given to the drone we brought in was 001; we had nothing before in the country,” he added. Ranul continued his interest in using drones for recording footage of wildlife, even during his years in university.

Ranul is the Chairman of Crate Adventure. South Asia’s first All-Terrain-Vehicle (ATV) Adventure Centre in the Gampaha District. He shared that when Crate Adventure was first launched in late 2017, their main insight was having identified the gap in Sri Lanka between general tourism and adventure tourism. He stated that numerous travellers seek out adventure activities and opportunities to spend time with nature. He added that a majority of the tourists that arrive in Sri Lanka are looking for adventure; given Sri Lanka’s diverse terrains, wildlife, and overall thriving biodiversity, they are looking to explore the great outdoors.

Going forward in 2020, Crate Adventure got the opportunity to expand its services to Colombo by building the first sand dune ATV adventure centre in Sri Lanka. They recently launched Colombo Dunes at the Port City, Colombo. Visitors can drive the ATVs through sand dunes and experience a one-of-a-kind beach ride on Sri Lanka’s only artificial beach.

Ranul has always been exposed to wildlife and high-end photographic equipment at a very young age. He explored different national parks and scenic locations hidden in the depths of forests in Sri Lanka. He is a photographer with a unique vision. Many of his images are shot wide and show wild animals in their environment. His feed also contains some magnificent images of birds of prey in flight. All of his images have a very clean and crisp feel to them that makes them very pleasing to the eye. His work on birds draws particular attention.

Featured here are some of Ranul’s stunning captures.