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The ‘big five’ game animals are favourite photography subjects of Dr Nihir Shah of Knight Street Dentists in Shepparton, Victoria.

“I love to photograph elephants. They’re at the top of my list but I also enjoy photographing leopards, lions and rhinos. It’s intriguing to watch them in the wild as opposed to a zoo. Whenever we go back to the family home in Kenya, we book four or five days out in the game reserves. We’ll spend all day in the car, driving around looking for game. 

“To be a wildlife photographer, you need patience. Lots of patience. You need to be still and wait for just the right shot. You could take a hundred photos but if you didn’t wait for the right moment, none of them are going to be any good. Digital photography has made it a little easier compared to when you could only take 30 photos, then had to change film.

“I started with photography when I was a young boy back in Kenya. I used a little Nikon camera and really enjoyed it. I moved to the UK when I was 18 and after completing my undergrad in dentistry, I moved to Australia. Over the past six years, I’ve been investing in high-quality gear and lenses. I use a Canon EOS 6D Mark II camera.

“Living in Australia, I’ve been thinking about photographing native birds but need to organise a trip to the bush. Another thing on my bucket list is to do some astro-photography. I’ve taken one nice photo of the Milky Way. I had to travel to country Victoria to find an area with no artificial light. You also need a wide angle or fish-eye lens to make it work. It’s another area of photography where patience is required.


“It’s funny but being a dentist keeps me involved with photography. We’re constantly taking photos of teeth and recording cases. Of course, with dentistry, you don’t have to change the settings because you’re in a controlled environment. When you’re in the wild, you’re constantly readjusting all your settings to suit the moment.

“In all honesty, for me photography is all about the animals. It’s about being out in the wild, being quiet and appreciating that there’s no people around you. It’s peaceful and you have the time to take it all in. Then you do your best to capture what you can see with your eyes. A good wildlife photo is difficult to take, and I enjoy the challenge. I also like looking at the photos I’ve taken over the years, seeing how my skills have evolved. It’s a wonderful hobby.” 

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