We at ViewBug see this a lot; how engineers, IT consultants and lawyers fall in love with something very distant from their own office surroundings. Namely photography. The same can be said about Manish Mamtani (manishmamtani) who came to the U.S. to work as a IT/Finance consultant and surprisingly also discovered his love for photography. It all started in a very famous national park, Yosemite, and since then Manish has travelled to many more national parks around the U.S. to take some extraordinary images full of color and beauty. Enjoy our conversation!

Tell us a bit about yourself, how do you describe your photography style?
I am a nature photographer, who has travelled 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, Night/Astro and Infrared and has been published in National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Better Photography Magazine, Digital Photo and many more.

I take Landscape images to show how beautiful nature is and Infrared images to show how I imagine this world to be. My love for night sky is the reason I ventured into Astrophotography. Hiking in the night sky not only fulfills my appetite for adventure, but also makes me appreciate my existence amongst billions of galaxies, where our planet itself is no more than a tiny dot.

In one sentence what has photography done for you in your life?
In one sentence, photography has taught me to appreciate the beauty of nature.

When did you start taking photos and what inspired you to get started?
I started taking photos in 2010. I visited Yosemite National Park in November of 2010 when I was still learning to use my first camera. I was awestruck by the beauty of this Majestic Park. After this visit, I looked up other national parks and started planning more trips. My experience in Yosemite was the reason my hobby of taking pictures turned into my passion.

What has been your favorite shoot and why?
My favorite shoot has been shooting “The Wisdom Tree” Image in Joshua Tree National Park. This Panoramic image shows the Milky Way rising over a Joshua Tree. I took about seven vertical frames and light painted the tree with a torch. I positioned myself in such a way in each frame that I do not show up in the image. The lone Joshua tree has an ethereal glow and stands out perfectly against the evening sky. What makes this image even more special is its composition. The subtle arch of Milky Way gracefully frames the tree and echoes it's shape. Rich gold, red and pink colors emanate from the horizon, contrasting with deep blue of the star-studded sky. This photograph uses Earth's Landscape to make us feel more connected to the greater universe.

Do you remember a difficult photo shoot session? What happened?
The most challenging photo for me was the one I shot at Delicate Arch on a moonless night. Taking the picture was not that difficult, but hiking up and down on a moonless night certainly was. I lost my way a couple of times, but finally made it to the top. The image shows the Milky Way rising over Delicate Arch with a Lyrid Meteor just at the right spot.

What do you carry in your camera bag?
It depends on what I am planning to shoot but on most of the occasions, I carry Canon 5d mk iii, Canon 16-35mm Lens, Canon 24-70 Lens, Canon 70-200mm lens, extra Batteries, Memory cards, polarizer, Flash light, water and some snacks.


Do you have a favorite location and time of the day to shoot?
My Favorite location is Arches National Park and I shoot there mostly in the night on a new moon night or after the moon set.


Can you share three tips with your fellow photographers?
My 3 tips for anyone who wants to try Astrophotography would be: to know where, when and how to shoot.

1. Where to shoot - Try to find a place away from the light pollution of the city where more and more stars are visible. If possible, scout the place during the daytime to avoid any last minute surprises. You can also use some smartphone apps to find the exact location where the Milky Way will rise.

2. When to shoot - Based on the location where you are shooting, try to find out the best time to shoot stars. It is usually 2 hours after sunset and 2 hours before sunrise. From the end of astronomical twilight in the evening to the beginning of astronomical twilight in the morning, the sky is dark enough for nearly all-astronomical observations.

3. How to Shoot - Know your camera gear and its limitations. High ISO sensitive cameras are required to shoot the Milky Way images. It is difficult to auto focus during the night, so you have to manually set up the focus. Night sky images usually require longer exposure times, so use a sturdy tripod to avoid any camera shake during the long exposure.

Please share one of your favorite photos with us with a short tutorial.
"Painting the Night” image is one of my favorites. I was in Arches National Park in the middle of the night to shoot Landscapes at Night but the clouds moved in. I sat in the car for about 2 hours when finally the sky cleared. After quickly setting up my canon 5d mk iii and Rokinon 14m f2.8 lens on a tripod near a cliff, I climbed up to what’s know as the windows section. I used the remote shutter release to take a long exposure selfie. I had to stand still for the exposure time of 30 seconds. To balance the exposure of the foreground with the starry sky, I used 2 torches. I positioned one on the ground and adjusted the beam so that the light was not too harsh on the rocks and kept the other torch in my hands to show that I was light painting. Obviously, I couldn’t move during the long exposure, so I angled the torch away from the arch to avoid creating a hotspot.

Please share some thoughts on your ViewBug experience as a photographer!
ViewBug is a great platform to share the images with other talented photographers. I love the whole ViewBug experience. It’s very well structured and full of really good contests.

For more photos taken by Manish, visit his profile.