I´m Gurcharan Roopra, ask me anything

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Jambo, I’m a wildlife photographer based in Nairobi, Kenya.

I’ve always been interested in art as I grew up, 10 years ago I moved back to Kenya and with it I picked up the camera and filled up my spare time. It was never a plan to be where I am today, but you can say one thing led to another.

Having grown up in Kenya, I had already spent a lot of time in nature, but after moving to the UK, I realised that its something I surely want more in my life. Now I feel greatly connected with it, while waiting for the photographic moment to come, I study my subject and work on predicting what might come next, something that really helps the photography.

By nature I get bored quickly and that along with the love and motivation for nature forces me to keep exploring, what started with a telephoto lens soon evolved into wideangle, it didnt stop there, in my attempts to get more intimate, I initially explored with an upside down monopod, moved on to more technical self made camera boxes that I could place on the ground and trigger remotely.

I’ve always loved helicopters and flying, this love made me explore aerial photography, from my first trip its grown to leading aerial safaris guiding avid photographers in getting amazing shots and a heart full of adrenaline.

My photography always focuses on the artistic side, I needed to learn a part of the technical aspect to make sure I’m on top of the camera and settings (Most of it is learnt from mistakes), which allowed the creative side to embellish.

Looking forward to your thoughtful questions, thank you for spending your valuable time with me.

Website: https://gurcharanroopra.com/

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Hi Gurcharan, I love your creative thinking. One question is, an area where I struggle a lot is to find creative scenarios or ability to think differently in usual/ common shot taking scenarios. What do you do to train yourself to think creatively ?

Hi Gurcharan, Some great shots here - I particularly like the one with the figure, tree and oval light painting. Just how did you achieve the lighting effect? Mike

Hi Deb,

Thanks soo much for your question.
I would like to say, it’s simple, think different, but we all know there is alot more to it.

Im the sort of person that gets bored quickly, for example if a lion is yawning you wanna nail the shot, the next time you see the lion yawning, I would ask myself, what is unique or different today that will get me a better shot than the previous one I nailed? This methodology or process will push you to get better shots.

Another important skill to get creative is understanding your subjects, when you know what the subject is going to do, ie a cheetah climbing a mound or leopard climbing a tree, you can review the best position to get the shot, cause you anticipate the action. On my insta there is a cheetah shot posted on 12th may this year, I saw the cheetah walking towards another tree first, expecting him to come sniff and scent mark, I asked my guide to position the vehicle, unfortunately, other vehicles bombarded the scene and the cheetah decided to moved away, this time heading to the bush in the picture, I saw the archway, reviewed the expected direction the cheetah would take, discussed it with my guide, and we parked up a couple of minutes prior to all the other vehicles. After a few interruptions, the cheetah did do what we anticipated and I nailed the shot, I have a few test shots prior to the cheetah arriving to make sure exposure and focal length are perfect.

Should you have anymore questions, please dont hesitate to get in touch.


Hi Mike,

thank you for the kind words.

The oval lighting effect is created by flying a drone above and using a slow shutter speed on the camera for the light painting.


How did you not scare the flamingos in your Elemantaita: Z7ii video flyover?

I really like your compositions in general and especially the B&W closeups of animals on your website – they are really fantastic and exciting! How did you eventually decide to use a low camera position for many of these shots? Can you view the image frame with your remote trigger or do you just hit go on a burst when the animals are nearby? And how do you keep the galloping zebras and enthusiatic elephants from knocking into your camera boxes on the ground?

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Hi Cathy, thanks for your question.
You can say that it was a slow evolution for me. I had this ambition to get lower and try getting the subject above the horizon line. At first I managed this with a monopod, by holding it upside down, but it didn’t allow intimate shots, one day I tried rhinos by placing the camera on the ground and triggering remotely using a basic Nikon remote that worked upto 10m away, and I’ve never looked back.
For a couple of years I did not have remote viewing capability and took tonnes of shots, but now I do, and can wait out for the moment I’ve been anticipating, I also have a tilt mechanism on the device which allows me to change for bigger or smaller animals.
Currently I’m loving colour, but there was a time that I processed everything in black and white, but some shots love colour and others BW. Leaving the future open as I don’t know which side I will weigh in on.

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Thanks John.

As I earlier commented, it’s all about knowing your subject.
I learned that when you approached flamingos from the shoreline, they would fly off, but when I did from the water they didn’t. I assume their predator’s come from land and hence the behaviour.