Leaving a stable career to become a full time photographer?

Over the past couple of years Atul has gone from an office career to a full time photographer working with clients like Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Jaguar. Here he shares a few of his photos and a little bit about what led him to say goodbye to a stable job and hit the road with a camera and motorcycle.


Atul Haldankar

Mumbai, India

How did you get your start in photography?

Photography for me started off when I moved out to Bangalore from Mumbai for work, and met my then girlfriend Sonia, who had a digital camera. We would travel to city outskirts on a motorcycle, looking out for beautiful landscapes it had to offer, and somewhere between packed weeks and long hours at work, we would be thinking of our next travel. We felt the need to capture these landscapes that had such an impact on our lives so we both put in our savings and bought our first dslr together.  I instantly knew back then that this was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Six years down the line, I am married to both, Sonia and photography, inseparable parts of my life.

Tell us about quitting your job for photography.

I had worked for about 5 years in the IT Industry as a Human Resources professional when the photography bug bit me hard and I found myself at crossroads. One fine day, opportunity came knocking on my door as I got a chance to join PowerDrift, India's biggest automotive channel and above all a group of individuals determined to change the way people looked at automotive media, and I had a chance to bring timelapse to their already brilliant content. I did not waste a minute thinking and took the plunge thanks to a super supportive family who made this change from a working professional to an artist such an epic journey. Our undying love for our natural environments and to be surrounded by them, the desire to bring surreal beauty of our fragile and beautiful planet is a daily inspiration to be a photographer every single day. I have never felt better.

What about time lapse? What draws you to it?

I believe time lapse is the only way we can bend, if not break the time-space continuum. It enables us to step back from a world that moves at a second's pace to visit a world that would otherwise be impossible for us to view. It shows me that beautiful things happen, when time passes, and that itself tells a tale. Change of seasons, nature's bloom and landscapes both urban and natural come alive when touched by time lapse. It has almost become a life mantra for me - "Why take a picture when you can take a timelapse." It’s a way of life for me now. 

Time lapse in the last few years has exploded to everything from art to science. Across focal lengths, time lapse has the ability to go beyond an art, even aid science. Time lapse of satellite images is helping us understand how human activity is shaping the planet over time, while macro time lapses of micro-organisms and smaller objects is revealing nature's beauty and  secrets. I have watched time lapses of bees making hives, plants growing, seasons changing over months almost every focal length and have learnt something about patterns that are almost invisible to our linear lives. Time lapse, is constantly evolving thanks to help from technology and a global community that tries many things; into so many other forms today. Motion control, hyperlapse and astrophotography are evolving fast. It is changing the face of landscape photography. And this dynamic nature of this art is what makes it worthwhile! It’s amazing.

Any favorite gear?

When I took my first steps in the time lapse world, I was a bit worried about the sky-high cost of motion control equipment and even wondered if this was something for the masses - everyday people like me who pursued time lapse as a hobby - albeit a serious one. And I came across the Radian, which almost changed my life, and definitely changed my game. I spent the next 3 years with the Radian as a staple part of my equipment and it enabled me to create content that I never imagined. It took me from a hobby time lapse guy to a time lapse cinematographer, and is my inseparable companion on every assignment. It has never failed, or malfunctioned, from 40 degree (Celsius) summers to negative temperatures at 19,000ft, even when my cameras have refused to fire. It makes me feel proud to be associated with this brand, and the values your products stand by. Alpine Labs love for celebrating our precious environments is shared the family of artists they stand by, it feels amazing to feel like a part of this. I may have never met the people who make all this possible but I feel I know how they are, and that's the power of a good brand backed by solid values and amazing people. Three cheers to this team!

Whether it's time lapsing, taking photos or following other meaningful pursuits we hope that, like Atul, you find inspiration to chase after what matters most to you!

Happy Exploring!
The Alpine Team