When photographing waterbirds by a coconut grove in southern India, Sitara was excited to see three spotted owlets perched on a dead tree, preening one another. When a few mynas started to mob them, the owlets let out a shrill call. Quickly, two adults joined the young, and all five stood their ground. ‘I was moved by their togetherness when in danger,’ says Sitara, ‘and I wanted to capture the feeling’. To get an eye-level shot, she was forced to abandon her tripod and hand‑hold the camera. This was ‘challenging,’ she says, ‘as the lens was so heavy’. Selecting a wide aperture to blur the background, she focussed on the owls. Then, at the first click of the shutter, they all looked her way.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 300mm f2.8 lens + 2x extender; 1/400 sec at f5.6 (-0.7 e/v); ISO 640; Benro tripod + Jobu Design gimbal head.
Perur, Southern India
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Sitara Karthikeyan, India
Sitara’s love of nature and concern for conservation stem from the stories about wildlife and forests that she was told as a young child by her father and uncle. She now cherishes the time in boarding school vacations when she can visit the forest with her family, near their home at the foothills of the Western Ghats, India. She has a special interest in photographing birds.