Beyond just code: Capturing the Photographer behind the Entrepreneur
Anshul Bhagi on clicking the perfect shot
31-year-old Anshul Bhagi, Founder, Camp K12 has always preferred mountains and green pastures to urban centers. The vastness of landscapes has proved to be a great way to zoom out and forget about the smallness of day-to-day concerns, and observing wild animals in their habitats has proven to be a refreshing window for his perfect shot and giving a break from the regular grind of life of an entrepreneur. Here’s the edupreneur on his inspiration behind photography.
Since when have you been pursuing your passion of wildlife and nature photography?
I started traveling in college, where my summer and winter break projects took me across the globe. I used to carry a point-and-shoot camera in my pocket wherever I went, and what started as an experiment soon became a hobby. I discovered great joy and gratification in trying to capture what I saw, and yet always felt that there was no way the camera’s eye could mimic the human eye and capture nature in its full glory.
This pursuit -- of trying to capture nature’s fleeting moments -- got me hooked, to both wildlife exploration and to photography. I eventually bought myself a DSLR soon after graduating from college and the rest is history.
Your Favourite Destination to click the perfect shot?
Above the clouds. If you can get high enough on a day when the quirks of air pressure and temperatures are just right, you’ll see a blanket of fog or clouds roll in over the water/land around you. And then you’ll get to see the clouds dance. They move much like the waves in the ocean. They reflect off of mountains, they ripple, they roll over the hills taking on the shape of the land beneath them.
Which is your favourite clicked shot and why?
The northern lights I saw in Iceland shook my world. They made my heart race, my jaws clench, and my mind explode. As a human adult, you are trained to form patterns from what you observe. And for most of us in the world, what we observe in the sky is a moon, a sea of stars, maybe some clouds, but otherwise darkness. You see this darkness day-in and day-out for tens of thousands of nights and so you convince yourself that this is how the world works. And then, you witness something that breaks the laws of science and nature that you have come to believe in. The northern lights played that role for me. I had studied the northern lights in my chemistry and physics classes, I had seen them enough in movies, and yet I had never really experienced them. Seeing the green, pink, yellowish lights in the air above me, flickering and dancing like a snake, seemed like an act of magic. They reminded me how little I understand about the world around me, and how impossible it is to ever really know and understand everything. They made me feel small, and in a weird way, light. They were also the most beautiful sight I have seen in nature to date. I consider it a gift to have been able to be at the right place at the right time, and I would travel far and wide to see them again.
The camera I am using currently
Nikon D600. I’ve had it since 2013. I gifted it to myself on my birthday in anticipation of my Everest Base Camp trek and it’s been a companion for me on every wildlife adventure since.
Photography gadget I wish to have:
A tripod (the last one broke), an ND filter (the last one got scratched), and remote control are solid 3-piece combo. They open up the world of long exposure shots during daytime and nighttime.
Being an entrepreneur you do you manage the time to pursue your passion?
I take my camera along wherever I go, and I try to make the most of the smaller opportunities. E.g. pulling over while driving to my parent’s home in California to photograph a scene. Photography does not require international trips to exotic locations; it can be done in your backyard. Even in my current home, which happens to be NCR, I’ve enjoyed taking out time to photograph the animals (deer, peacocks, monkeys) of Hauz Khas and central Delhi.
The second way in which I’ve been able to do this is by finding like-minded friends and catching up with them over a nature hike rather than an indoor scene. It’s harder to do this in Delhi but I used to do this all the time in San Francisco. Night-hikes and day hikes.
Podcasts before sleep. If the podcast is good, you’ll learn something. If it’s not, it’ll help you fall asleep faster.
Do you find any similarities between photography and entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship and photography are both driven by a desire to create something from nothing. They are acts of creative expression and production. In some ways, both can also be lonely pursuits and you have to have the personality type that is ok with being with yourself for long-ish periods of time. Some of the best photographs I’ve taken were taken on trips where I had to part ways with the bigger group to go climb a mountain the others didn’t want to climb or wake up at 4 am in the frigid cold for a sunrise the others didn’t care to see. Those moments take effort and a little extra activation energy but they are defining moments in the founder’s journey and in the photographer’s journey.
(This article was first published in the February 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)