Landscape photography is filling the prescription of Dr. Karamjit Koko Khanduja's motto to maintain "a healthy mind and a healthy body."
Khanduja, 63, a surgeon and director of the Mount Carmel Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship program, said photography has become a fulfilling hobby and passion in his life.
The Blacklick resident, known as Koko, said he began to take the hobby seriously after taking photographs in 2013 at Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River near Page, Arizona. The site is within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and a slot canyon at Antelope Valley.
"I'm just a surgeon using a camera on vacation, and now pointing at parks and pretty areas around me," he said of the experience.
Khanduja said he began taking photos when he was in college.
"I have eight brothers and sisters, and I took my camera to weddings," he said. "Family said my photos were better than the professionals. I'm more comfortable with landscapes."
Khanduja said his wife, Gurgit, likes to travel, so he has taken photos on their trips to Italy, Greece, South Africa and areas in the western United States.
In January 2018, he took four weekend photography lessons from Bobbie Teal, an adjunct professor at Columbus State Community College, on the recommendation of one of his patients.
"She taught me how to appreciate nature like I have never done before," he said. "She really helped me grow as photographer. Now instead of going to Italy and Greece, I take photos of things around me -- beautiful images."
In a review of Khanduja's work, Teal wrote, "Upon first viewing of Koko Khanduja's photographs, the viewer is drawn to the center of an aesthetic that has been acutely framed with the eye of a surgeon and the soul of an artist.
"Koko exacts the bold colors of the sea, the blue found only in the golden hour, and the exquisite colors of a variety of cultures. He expertly hones his images to pull a viewer past the center into a world of visual delights."
Khanduja currently is working on photographs of Rocky Fork Creek in Jefferson Township, which he has called home for about 20 years.
Jefferson Township trustee Mike Rowan, a longtime friend, asked Khanduja to donate some images to the Jefferson Township Fire Department, where public meetings are held.
"I noticed that Koko took lots of pictures of beautiful landscapes from all around the world, western United States, Canada, Central America, Europe," Rowan said. "We have so many beautiful sites and landscapes right here. I know how much I enjoy his art, and I thought Jefferson Township residents would enjoy it as well."
Khanduja said it makes him feel like a kid to be asked to take images for the township.
"I'm having blast," he said. "I can't get enough."
He said he especially enjoys shooting sunsets as well as landscapes in national parks.
"I was home in 2017 on Easter Sunday and saw the sky, and I ran to my car and drove to one of my favorite spots," Khanduja said. "I took a shot that warms everyone's heart."
It's a photo of John Glenn Columbus International Airport with a pink cotton candy-colored sky.
"It's what your eye sees and how you can capture it," he said.
Khanduja said people have liked his photography so much that they've wanted to purchase it.
"I have a friend, Jim Davis, who does framing in his basement. He's vice president of physician relations at Mount Carmel. He and I played squash together 30 years ago.
"I would have him frame. We have our own professions. Once people started buying, it became more of a challenge to produce something people like enough to buy."
Khanduja said his first exhibition was held at Jefferson Golf and Country Club, to benefit its patio extension.
He said he had the price of $800 on a framed photo for a silent auction item.
"There were 250 to 300 people there," Khanduja said. "One of my business partners came and bought it for $1,400."
Rowan said Khanduja can take an ordinary object or scene, and -- using shadows and reflections, fog or snow, brilliant colors or shades of gray, black and white -- turn it into something visually inspiring.
"Some of his images capture conditions at a moment in time that may never exist again," he said. "He is an exceptional person."
Born in Burma, now called Myanmar, Khanduja has lived in the United States since 1980.
When he was 25, he came to Columbus and started working with Mount Carmel Health System.
He has five partners at his practice at the Taylor Station Surgical Center, 5965 E. Broad St. in Columbus.
Khanduja said he likes to help his community in any way he can.
He practices the Sikh religion and helped build a place of worship on Wilson Road in west Columbus.
"That's a community that's dear to me," he said.
He also recognizes business partners who help him with his hobby, including McAlister Photoworks at 6646 Sawmill Road, where employees critique his work and advise him on the latest equipment, and Midwest Photo Exchange at 2887 Silver Drive, where he buys his equipment.
"Whether it is the woods and exotic shapes that are found in the mist of changing weather or the haunting path across the snow-covered greens, Koko definitively shares his passion for life through the window of his lens and the beauty of his photographs," Teal said.
Khanduja's photography can be found on Instagram at @drkokophoto.