One early morning in Kovalam, just south of Thiruvananthapuram in southern India, when I strolled around in a wetland area and tried to photograph some Bee Eaters, I suddenly got an assistant by my side. A young lad with great curiosity and a thousand questions.

We talked about a little bit of each and I tried to answer his questions as best I could, the digital camera technology was new, and I did not understand it enough to answer his questions adequately. However, he seemed satisfied with the answers he received.

Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater
Brahminy Kite
Black Kite

Over time, the interest in bird photography cooled and he wondered if I didn’t want to take a picture of him instead. Of course, I gladly did. We studied the results on the small screen on the back of the camera, the portrait was not a masterpiece but still seemed to delight him.

It took a while before he dared to ask, but finally came the question that hung in the air for a while. Could it be possible for him to borrow the camera and give it a try. Of course, I answered, and after a short lesson on how to hold the newly purchased Nikon D70 with 300mm telephoto lens, he set off with a jolt of joy through the woods.

I saw from a distance how he rushed up to his grandfather, shot some pictures and then returned to show the result. Gosh, I was overwhelmed! Of the hundreds of pictures, I took home with me after the trip, only one was really good, and it wasn’t mine. The guy was a gift of nature. I sometimes wonder what he does today, twelve years later, hopefully he got the opportunity to become a photographer.