He gets up close to the king of beasts, then... Snap!

Dhruv Anant Wadkar, 16, is holding an exhibition of his work this week.
Dhruv Anant Wadkar, 16, is holding an exhibition of his work this week.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Dhruv Anant Wadkar, 16, has come as close as 1.5m to a lion.

In the past two years, the young photographer has made two trips to the Sasan Gir National Park in Gujarat, India, the only home to the Asiatic lion. Each time, he spent more than 10 days at the park.

"I had always wanted to photograph the lion, as it's the king of the beasts, but I never had the chance," said Dhruv, who started wildlife photography at the age of seven.

He is displaying 50 of his best works at The Art Space @ Suntec. The exhibition, titled Vignettes Of The Asiatic Lion, opened on Tuesday and ends on Saturday.

"It's like a common space, although we are taking a risk by going into the park. You need to be mentally prepared - it might kill you if you let down your guard," said Dhruv, who was born in Hyderabad, India. He now attends the ISS International School Singapore here. His father is the regional director for commercial operations for a global animal health company and his mother is a vice-president in a local bank.

At the park, Dhruv would spend four hours in the morning and two hours in the evening - every day - waiting for and observing lions.

"Once we found a lion at the outskirts of the park at 1 am. I had just fallen asleep and got a call to go there quickly," he recalled. "All I had was a small torch and I could see the lioness' eyes glittering in the dark," he said. "I shot as much as I could, knowing that I might not get this opportunity again."

Dhruv, who has taken photographs of a wide variety of animals, from birds to leopards and bisons, said: "I see similarities between animals and human beings, in their expressions and greetings, and in the way that they interact."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'He gets up close to the king of beasts, then... Snap!'. Print Edition | Subscribe