How would it feel if you could capture nature forever, never to be subject to change or decay? A snapshot in the history of ecological succession; a forest in the making, a river in mid flow, sea spray in suspense over boulders in a sunset. No need to fret over not having a digital single-lens camera (DSLR Camera) to capture those timeless moments, so long as you have a mobile phone. Sounds like a high-end waterproof mobile phone advertisements? No, it’s all in a day’s work for Lahiru Madusanka, a travel cum mobile photographer.
“I usually travel everywhere by bike. Taking the DSLR camera would mean that I have to carry many things including the tripod and several bags. But when I am using my mobile for photography it’s easy in so many ways,” Lahiru explained the reason he took up mobile photography.
Lahiru started photography over 12 years ago with a Sony Ericsson K750 which has a 2 mega pixel autofocus primary camera. “Now mobile photography is easier. You can adjust the settings using the manual mode, like on a DSLR camera. But earlier there was only auto,” he recollected.
Lahiru is using a Huawei GR5 Mini with a 13 mega pixel camera at the moment. “I use my mobile for all types of photography. I’m interested in night long exposure, landscape and travel photography,” revealed Lahiru.
According to Lahiru mobile photography is not exactly rocket science. Anyone can take mobile photos using any camera phone. “Never consider the brand of the phone. You must get the best out of what you have. Whether it’s an iphone or a Huawei, the quality of the photograph depends on the angle you shoot from,” came a piece of advice from Lahiru, for those who are interested in mobile photography, but complain about the brand of their mobiles.
Lahiru, whose hometown is Matara, received his education from MR/Pamburana Shariputhra Maha Vidyalaya and continued his AL in the Arts stream. He then completed a technical course in the Matara Vocational Training Centre. Lahiru completed a 3D Max and video editing course from IT House, Matara.
“I never thought that I’d be any good at landscape and travel photography when I first started. But now I realize that I am better at this than any other field,” admits Lahiru. He has many other pastimes, such as music and painting. Before discovering his true talents in photography he has played in a music band.
“I travel because I love capturing these places through the lenses. I like to show someone else, the places I traveled to,” says Lahiru. Despite time constraints Lahiru makes it a point to travel whenever he can. “I want to do new things that no one ever has tried before. I want to see even mundane things in a different angle,” he added. Lahiru hopes to travel to every nook and corner in Sri Lanka within the next five years.
“Photography has given me a lot of chances. Many people know me because of photography.” Lahiru informs that there is a short cut to Horton Plains in Belihuloya through Nonpareil. Due to environmental concerns this rout is not closed off. “But when I showed the authorities my previous work as a travel photographer they allowed me to use the route because they trusted me,” said Lahiru recollecting an instance where he considered it a blessing to be a photographer. While travelling and capturing the beauty of places Lahiru is also very concerned about the environment.
“As a principle I don’t mention the precise location when I upload photos. There are some places where no one has been before,” says Lahiru. In many instances Lahiru had been guilt ridden when people visited a place because they saw one of his photos and then ended up ruining its aesthetic beauty. He mentions such locations only in private massages, only after rigorously stalking inquirer’s profiles to confirm that they are not the kind of people who are environmentally insensitive. Travelling with a passion to capture the nature’s pristine beauty had often resulted in unforgettable experiences for Lahiru.
“Bopath Ella fall which is located in Ratnapura District cascades in the shape of a Bo leaf in three stages. During the rainy season there is a risk of a sudden increase in water level,” related Lahiru. In 2016 when he visited Bopath Ella he went too close without realizing that it had rained in Sri Pada. The water level increased suddenly, trapping him in one of the islands with all his equipment. “I had nowhere to go till my friends come to rescue me,” Lahiru reminisced about one of those unforgettable moments that only travel photographers can boast of.
“I started photography as a leisure activity but I wish I could develop this as a career. Currently I am working in the private sector. And with my current job, the time I can allocate for travelling is limited. But if I could develop my career as a freelance photographer I would have more time and could produce better work,” says Lahiru.
Though Lahiru has not entered his photographs in any competition yet, he is eagerly waiting to try one. An innovative photography exhibition is also in the pipeline for later this year. Lahiru assures that it would be a one of a kind event, “something different and it will be the first time such an event will be held in Sri Lanka.”