Indian Birds in Focus: Birds of the Indian Subcontinent and their Habitats
June 2009: Amano Samarpan has been a frequent visitor to India for the past three decades and he has a special interest in avifauna. Following the migration of the birds he loves to photograph, he has visited, studied and photographed them in a variety of habitat types. Indian Birds in Focus is a compilation of some of his best images and offers good value for money to anyone interested in the subject.
With this offering the author-photographer has added to the vast compendium of literature available on the subject and has managed to fill the large format book with close up portraits that offer the reader an intimate look at birds such as the Tawny Fish Owl Ketupa flavipes, the Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla, and the Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, that they would only get fleeting glimpses of in the wild.
Some images, such as that of the Striated Heron Butorides striatus with its prey (page 22), shot at a very high shutter speed, capture split-second action that is almost impossible to perceive with the naked eye, even when staring right at the bird in question. The text that accompanies the photographs is written in a simple, unpretentious style, that lay persons are sure to appreciate. The printing is competent, but several images could have done with better colour correction (for instance, the brilliant image of the three Great Hornbills Buceros bicornis and snake on page 81).
The book ends with a cautionary note with which all Sanctuary readers will agree: The threat to the avian population in the Indian subcontinent today as elsewhere on the planet, is largely a result of the destruction of their natural environment not just by the excessive demands of a burgeoning human population but also the increasing and far reaching influence of climate change; it remains to be seen how well both birds and man will respond to these challenges.
By Amano Samarpan, Published by Wisdom Tree
Hard Cover, 118 art paper pages, Open size 17”x11”, Price: Rs. 695/-
Reviewed by Bittu Sahgal