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Introducing Shwetaparna Sahu, Emerging Photographer from Odisha

Retro Kolkata : First of all Heartiest congratulations for your selection in Retro Kolkata Magazine Green Edition. Please introduce yourself. Tell us about your background.

Shwetaparna : Thank you Retro Kolkata team for this opportunity to share my work on bird photography on your platform. I'm Shwetaparna Sahu, an avid nature lover & bird watcher, passionate about wildlife & bird photography from Sambalpur,Odisha. I have done my MCA from Sambalpur University, Burla.

Retro Kolkata : How important is photography to you? How did you start photography?

Shwetaparna : I'm a nature lover Since childhood. I always love to watch birds, animals & their behaviour from my balcony. The amazing animals, chirping of beautiful birds and sounds of nature always give me positive vibes and inner joy. I also saw many people started posting their hobby on social site during lockdown time. Then i thought myself why shouldn't I start this hidden hobby & share my work on social media. And This journey of photography started during covid time, & with the passage of time, this hobby turned into passion. Initially I was capturing & shooting flowers, nature,sunset,clouds on my mobile. Sometimes i use my father's camera for clicking birds and nature. Seeing my desire increasing in this field my father bought a DSLR camera for me in 2021.

Retro Kolkata : What motivates and inspires you as a photographer?

Shwetaparna : Before lockdown, my father used to go for birding with my brother in our locality. His strong dedication towards photography always motivates me. I must say he is my first inspiration. That's the main reason why I'm interested to this field. He always encourage me & tells me every time why shouldn't I join with them in birding as i was getting bored at home during the lockdown. Gradually I started observing birds & their behavior from my backyard & sometimes I go with my father for birding and clicking them through my lens ever since I started my DSLR photography.

Retro Kolkata : Which genre of photography do you like and What inspires you? Which masters of photography have inspired you in your photographic work?

Shwetaparna : My love for Landscape, creative & wedding photography is forever, & nowadays portrait photography is one of the most popular types of photography. It's comes up in several different genre of photography including wedding, engagement, family, fashion. As my father is a professional portrait photographer & also has his own studio, I often liked to observe his work and sometimes I go through the wedding & engagement albums of others & fascinated how their every beautiful moments memorized in one single photobook. Also During my spare time I follow many professional photographers and spellbound by their beautiful work. I will definitely say that Varun Aditya and Shaaz Jung are two best photographer till date.I love the way they compose their images. They have such amazing power to create life through their own photographs. Even Anyone who sees his work will be hypnotized. They are always my role model & will always be.

Retro Kolkata : What type of camera, lenses and lighting equipment do you use?

Shwetaparna : As I said before my father gifted me Nikon 5600D with Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens for Landscape photography & telephoto lens 70-300. Afterward he gave me his 200-500mm super telephoto zoom lens, which every photographer prefers to use for wildlife photography. Sometimes I use his Nikon Z6 camera with Nikkor 200mm f/2 lens(my favourite camera & lens as well) for best quality shots.

Retro Kolkata : What subjects inspire you and prompt you to look for the shot?

Shwetaparna :I focus more on the story, colour composition & perfect lighting than the subject, so I don't care if it is most common subject or rare subject. For me if the photographs shows unique story and have power to captive the audience, then I would rather choose the common subject for the shots, & i really enjoy taking pictures like this.

Retro Kolkata : What exactly is wildlife and natural habitat conservation & why is it important? How can you as a photographer help protect wildlife and conservation?

Shwetaparna : Wildlife means living things and especially mammals, birds & fishes that are neither human or domesticated. A habitat meets all the environmental conditions an organism needs to survive for an animal that means everything it needs find & gather foods, select a mate & reproduce successfully.

As a photographer we all should reach out to the people & enlighten them about the importance of planting more trees and wetlands for our bio diversity. You can also add native plants, shrubs & small tree to increase biodiversity for eco-friendly insects, birds & whatever else alight on your balcony. Also, we can keep a bowl of water in your balcony or outside of your house for the thirsty birds & animals. We all human being should always remember this "As much as human has the right on earth, the other living beings also have the same right". So it’s our duty to save wildlife and their natural habitat for our upcoming generation.

Retro Kolkata : Bird photography is almost always about the action. How do you get a good pose during the fast action? What should one look for? How would you prepare for such shots?

Shwetaparna : Behaviour and activities of birds I always look for no matter whether it is feeding, in flight, calling, mating or parenting. But capturing birds in flight is quite challenging. Initially I failed to attempt flight shot many times. But with constant effort, I started getting a lot better.

I must say while we are capturing birds in flight your shutter speed should be quite fast 1/2000, 1/2500 or even higher if light allows. If there is not enough light or you are shooting slower objects drop down your shutter speed to 1/1600,1/1250 if necessary.

ISO also play a vital role in bird photography, more no. of ISO can cause your photos to appear grainy or noisy, so better you should choose 800 to 1000 for birds in flight if the light condition is good. Increasing ISO allows you to use faster shutter speed & greater depth of field.

Next is Aperture, if you are using Nikkon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens, for fast action or flight shot then it's preferable to use f/7.1 or f/8 to extend depth of field If the light condition is very good, i always prefer to use f/7.1 in bird photography. If light condition is low or very low i shoot with maximum f/5.6.

Hence, we can say ISO, Shutter speed & Aperture which are interdependent on each other.

Retro Kolkata : What is the best project you have worked on and how did you get involved with it?

Shwetaparna : Recently I went to visit Subarnapur, Odisha for clicking summer migratory birds like Indian paradise flycatcher, Black-naped monarch and blue-tailed bee-eater, & this was my best ever project which I have done in last May. Many of western Odisha photographers were posting this summer migrant birds in social media site and I always mesmerized by seeing the beauty of summer birds and question myself when I'll get these beauty & get good shots as well. Then I told my father about this summer birds and he happily agreed to take me that place.

Retro Kolkata : Where would you like to be in 10 years time and what are you going to do in the next 6 months to get closer to that goal?

Shwetaparna : In these 10 years I want to reach the peak of mastery in wildlife photography. If my passion & dedication continue, then I'll definitely able to achieve this goal. & my second wish is to visit all national parks, Sanctuary and famous forest of India and have to observe & click new species of birds, Animals & their natural habitat as well.

My upcoming plan is to visit Chilika, Vetnai and Mandasaru for adding new species of winter migratory birds & animals to my list. I hope my all dream come true.


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We are thrilled to announce the upcoming 'AURA 2024 - The International Photography & Art Exhibition and Grand Felicitation Ceremony', following the resounding success of last year's event. This prestigious gathering will be held at Kolkata's renowned 'Nazrul Tirtha' Art Gallery (Action Area I, Newtown, Kolkata 700156) from January 13 to January 21, 2024. The event promises an international stage for artists and photographers handpicked globally to display their masterpieces alongside the mesmerizing works of esteemed artists from over 25 participating countries, all under the spotlight of national media.

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