Life & Style

Three wildlife photographers from Coimbatore win top honours at Smithsonian’s Nature’s Best Photography Asia contest

Sitara A Karthikeyan

Sitara A Karthikeyan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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What does it take to win accolades at Smithsonian’s Nature’s Best Photography Asia contest? Three of winners who are from Coimbatore relive the moments leading to the perfect shot

J. Wewin Pandian

Award: Winner (Youth category)

Photograph: A painted stork feeding her chicks

J. Wewin Pandian

J. Wewin Pandian   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I was at the Bharatpur Sanctuary in Rajasthan. I spent over an hour watching the painted storks flocking around the lake. Some of the birds took off and circled around the sky, while a few remained on the lake. I was looking for the perfect shot. I couldn't get a sequence shot as there were just a few birds. Then, I noticed it. A mother teaching her chicks how to eat. I froze that moment and captured it on my camera.

I am drawn into wildlife and nature photography but from an artistic point of view. Something akin to creating a painting. That's how I created the moment with the painted storks.

Sitara A Karthikeyan

Class 11 student of SSVM School, Mettupalayam

Award: Highly honoured ( Youth category)

Photograph: Four owlets and an elephant herd

It was fascinating to observe the elephant herd with calves. I was at Corbett National Park. The calves were playful while the mother elephant hovered around protectively. As I was watched, I noticed another baby elephant came out of hiding and it seemed to me that she was calling out to the mother. I caught that moment. I spent over an hour but capturing that emotion made the wait worth it.

I shot the owlets at a coconut farm in Perur, near Coimbatore. There was a dead stump of a coconut tree where the owlets had built a nest. I saw hill mynahs mobbing them. One of the owlets let out a shrill cry. Another three emerged and resolutely stood their ground. I managed to get a shot of their togetherness after a wait of nearly four hours!

I am into wildlife photography since I was 10. Now, I am 16. My outings in the wild have taught me about conservation. I ensure that I don’t carry any plastic when I enter the forest. But, there is still a long way to go.

Photographer R. Prakash

Award: Highly Honoured (Senior Category)

Photograph: Slender Loris

It was evening. I was in a jeep at the foothills of Anaimalai Tiger Reserve. All of a sudden there was cacophony of birds around a tree. I walked there and was surprised to see equally curious birds flocking around the unusual visitor. I got my first ever shot of the mammal in my 14-year journey as a wildlife photographer. It was the endangered Slender Loris, the smallest primate. It was an accidental encounter, but this image won top honours. I have seen Loris at nights but this was the first time I saw the shy animal with big eyes in daylight. The animals are threatened because of habitat loss and poaching.

Such global recognition puts the spotlight on conservation. Wildlife photography is my hobby. Sometimes, I click images to convey a thought on conservation.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 7:14:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/three-wildlife-photographers-from-coimbatore-win-prizes-at-smithsonians-natures-best-photography-asia-contest/article30297604.ece

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