The YES BANK Natural Capital Awards: Where Pictures Became Conservation Stories


The fourth edition of YES BANK Natural Capital Awards (NCA) saw over 750 corporate entries, and the submission of over 38,000 photographs. As the initiative picks up steam, this edition certainly saw some stunning entries.  

“I captured this image in Tal Chhapar Sanctuary in Rajasthan which is known for its Blackbuck population. We were driving through an open field when I spotted a large and formidable Steppe Eagle descend towards a vulnerable Blackbuck fawn, running for its dear life.” Photograph by Baiju Patil

Baiju Patil took home the prize for the Pixel Perfect category for his picture depicting a tense chase of a Blackbuck fawn by a formidable Steppe Eagle in Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan. The first runner-up for this award was Naresh Singh, a naturalist and driver at the King’s Lodge in Bandhavgarh National Park. He captured a chilling image of a magnificent tigress wrestling a large sambar to the ground as dust rose from the earth around them. “I come from a village,” he said. “And when people from there see me receiving recognition on a platform like Natural Capital Awards, they too are encouraged to work towards sustainability of our natural resources.” The second runner-up was S Krishnamurthy who photographed an owl seemingly playing hide-and-seek with the camera in a field of mountain knotgrass.

The Trailblazer award for a series of photos relaying a narrative was won by Nikhil Tambekar. His pictures threw light on the treacherous life led by wild animals living close to our country’s national highways. Images of speeding trucks, and a desperate leopard and her cub feeding on the corpse of a cow at the edge of the tarmac gives an eerie sense of how perilous each day must be. At some point, Tambekar says, forest officials dragged the carcass into the jungle, where the mother and her cub continued to eat in peace. “After a couple of months, however, she was hit by a vehicle. The accident crippled her lower body and she didn’t survive the rescue operation.”

In an effort to create awareness around the environmental threats facing the river Ganga, a special category, ‘Capturing the Ganges’ was introduced in NCA 2018. With this category, YES BANK strives to demonstrate unwavering support towards the on-going collaboration with the National Mission for Clean Ganga. Narendra Kumar Pandey took home the award for his image of a single boat struggling to cope with the strong currents of the holy river. “While walking over the abandoned Lord Curzon Bridge in Allahabad, I spotted some boatmen rowing against the forceful currents of the Ganges. It was an impressive sight, but I was unable to photograph it at the time. So, I waited a year to make this image the way I had visualized it. The prominent sand waves and striking sunlight brought out the colours and textures of the water.” When asked about the significance of the awards, he said, “Natural Capital Awards has a very strong message. It is a great initiative to encourage young photographers.”

Photograph by Narendra Kumar Pandey

Besides honoring excellent photography, YES BANK Natural Capital Awards also recognised the efforts of organisations working to sustain natural resources. At the event, Adani Ports and SEZ Limited were announced as the winner of the Eco Corporate-Services award, Mahindra World City, Jaipur and GVK Biosciences Private Limited were the first and second runner-up respectively. The award for the Eco Corporate-Manufacturing category was given to Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies. The first and second runner-up were ACC Limited, and Ambuja Cement Limited. The winner of the Small Scale Organisation-For Profit category was Nano Bubbles Bangalore (OPC) Private Limited, while Shree Vivekanand Research and Training Institute won in the Small Scale Organisation-Not for Profit category. IIT Gandhinagar took home the award for the Eco Campus category. Finally, Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim was named the Nature Leader of the Year.

Tags: Wildlife, Nature, photography, YES Bank, Natural Capital Awards, Ganga