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Snapping My Dream Shot

By Shiva Kumar

My passion for photography grew to extreme levels when I moved to the forest. I knew right away that I wanted to live my life as a full-time nature photographer. Nature photography is an art, but it is also about education: An image graphically captures a decisive moment in time and helps explain the world in which we live. I want to tell a story with my pictures to help preserve the wonders of the natural world—I feel blessed by nature when I get my dream shots.

I captured one of my dream shots recently when I found an Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus), the Indian National Bird, at Osman Sagar, a lake in the Indian city of Hyderabad. I was working during the golden hours—early morning around sunrise—and was wondering if I could capture a picture of the dawn. Then I saw the peafowl. I was mesmerized and captured this shot. The photograph tells a story of how a bird interacts with its natural surroundings. And shortly after that, nearly 150 of the birds settled at this sacred place!

Shiva Kumar explains how he photographs birds and wildlife in India. He discusses how he captured his dream shot of an Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

An Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Osman Sagar, a lake in Hyderabad, India, at sunrise.
(All photographs courtesy of Shiva Kumar)

Tips on Wildlife Photography

Knowing the habitat helps us understand the birds we see in them. Try and visit as many different habitats as you can. Forests, farmland, scrub, lakes, reed-beds, rivers, coasts—all have their own characteristic birds. The edges of fields, streams, and rivers are all excellent spots to see birds. The best time to see birds is sunrise to early morning, and then again in the mid and late afternoons; birds tend to rest during the day.

At places like lakes, we can observe birds throughout the day. While it is possible to watch birds at any time and any place, it is helpful to know when and where to look. When I shot the peafowl, most of the bird activity occurred in the opening and the edge of the forest near human habitation. Most of the species in the area were either insectivores or omnivores feeding mainly on the ground in open patches. The birds preferred the forest edge, which provided them with mixed habitats, open spaces to feed in, and suitable perching points to capture the aerial prey.  

When we think of bird photography, we think of tight-cropped, detailed pictures of birds. However, using silhouettes in wildlife photography can provide beautiful and artistic photos. Bird photos created using silhouette photography techniques can produce stunning images, especially at sunrise or sunset.

Shiva Kumar

Shiva Kumar is a professional wildlife photographer & Wikipedian from India. He uses innovation and technology to achieve fresh perspectives in his work and is passionate about wildlife conservation. You can follow Shiva on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Use BirdsEye.Photo To Up Your Photography Game

BirdsEye’s free photography website is a comprehensive library of photos submitted by a nature-enthusiast collective from across the globe. Thanks to users like you, we have amassed one of the most complete and high-quality photo collections of birds, odes, butterflies, and more!

If you aren’t already using BirdsEye.photo, here are some of the benefits of becoming a contributor:

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  2. Keep track of your photo life list. BirdsEye.photo is a great way to keep track of the birds, odes, and butterflies you’ve seen and photographed. Plus, you’ll be able to easily sort through these photos taxonomically, alphabetically, or by submission date. 
  3. Share your photos and get credit. If you’re anything like us, your photos amass, unseen by the public, on your computer. Here’s a way dust off those digital photo folders and share them with one of the largest birding and nature communities on the planet! The photo site allows other users to browse, rate, and help identify the birds in your photos. Plus, your photos will be eligible for use in our newsletters, on our website, and in our Apps! (With due credit given, of course.)
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    Dragonfly ID, BirdsEye Finding Guide, and Daily Bird all feature photos submitted by users on the BirdsEye.Photo website

Sign up for a free BirdsEye.Photo account today and begin contributing to the collection. To get started, visit Birdseye.photo and follow these easy steps: 

  1. Create a free account;
  2. Add your name and website to your profile so people can find more of your work;
  3. Submit your first photo!

By now you can tell how much we want you to contribute to Birdseye.photobut not just to help us complete our collection! While your photograph submissions will help refine the quality of our apps, they’ll also help motivate you to lengthen your own photograph life list and educate the nature-enthusiast community.