I am India’s most prominent Aviation Photographer.
Its a hobby of mine which has made me some incredible friends from all over the world, taken me places i otherwise wouldn’t have been to & seen things i normally would not have.
Its now something that basically Defines me.
My Photos have been used by (Among Others) Boeing, Airbus & The Times of India.
Here’s an article on me that featured on the FRONT-PAGE of The Hindustan Times
Here’s another article featuring me & my friends in The Times of India published on Feb 26th 2012 :
They wait for hours near an airport and then, suddenly, they are propelled by the scruff of their collar. Some are slapped, others beaten. Some are branded terrorists, others hauled to the police station. And all because they love taking photos of airplanes. Welcome to the world of planespotting — an innocent pursuit whose followers are now being forced to do it surreptitiously, thanks to the ignorance and short-sightedness of authorities.
For many of them, capturing a majestic A-380, a dreamy B787 or a noisy IL-76 on film is as heady as flying.
Mumbai-based financial analyst Vishal Jolapara says, “Planespotting is an enthralling obsession world over. But what few realize is that not only are we capturing aviation history, but we can often also be the eyes and ears of the police and the airport community.”
A case in point: On February 15, 2010, two British planespotters were detained from a hotel near IGI airport, Delhi. The police claimed they were tracking flights. The duo insisted they hadn’t done anything illegal. They were released, of course, but the incident just proved how risky, especially in these days of high and incessant security alerts, planespotting can be.
Rutvij Talavdekar, a 23-year-old who lives in Mumbai, remembers being questioned inside a police jeep in 2010 while he was shooting. “The police tried to confiscate my camera and it was only when I began speaking in Marathi that they let me go.” Jolapara asks, “Why would a potential wrong-doer venture into the open with a big, expensive camera when a tiny digi-cam can serve the purpose? If the authorities are so touchy, why not ban Google Earth?”
Abroad, though, the scene is slightly different. While Manchester airport has created artificial mounds for spotters to have a good view of planes, Sydney airport launched a planespotters’ website on January 11 where photos of aircraft and information on vantage points can be shared. The Australian Federal Police promised to reward them with free airside bus tours and simulator flights if they informed them of suspicious activities around the airport. In the UK, the Bedfordshire police gives planespotters ID cards and car disks which have to be displayed on the dashboard to help security forces identify unattended vehicles.
Arpit Agarwal, 24, a business analyst from Chandigarh recounts: “In 2010, when I was taking photos outside Manchester airport, the police questioned me. But when I told them that I was a planespotter, they let me continue.”
It’s only the Bangalore airport that has an official planespotting group of around 400 members. All permissions from regulatory and security agencies for photography are obtained by the airport. A special platform has been built for spotters and I-cards issued. “Our thinking has always been that the airport belongs to the city and its citizens should feel a sense of ownership,” says an airport spokesperson.
As for other airports, they’re a tangle of bureaucracy. A spokesperson at the Mumbai airport says planespotters should get prior approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to shoot pictures on the air side. E K Bharat Bhushan, D-G of DGCA, however, says no planespotter has approached him for permissions. “The community can get in touch with us and we’ll take it forward. But security is the first priority.”
That’d make people like Anand, who was willing only to give his first name, happy. Two years back, as he was photographing near Delhi airport, the police caught him. “I was thrashed and treated like a criminal. My parents were called and I was sternly told to lay off this activity. I haven’t done planespotting since.” But he can still identify a plane just by its sound. “A Russian IL-76 with its four engines in full throttle is a roar that tingles my senses,” he says, excited like a kid. It seems a shame to douse such passion.