Aishwarya Sridhar, 23, is the first Indian woman to win the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. Her photograph is becoming a social media sensation, which was declared first among 50,000 entries from over 80 countries across the world. The announcement was made on October 13 at the Natural History Museum in London.
Out of all the entries, about 100 were shortlisted. Sridhar won the award for her photograph in the Behaviour Invertebrates category.
More about Aishwarya Shridhar's work: 'Lights of Passion'
Her entry was titled 'Lights of Passion' and it won the coveted 'Highly Commended' award at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020. Her photograph showcases a tree, which is illuminated with fireflies. The entire impact feels like a surreal galaxy around the tree.
The photo's description on the website of Natural History Museum, which organizes the competition, reads, "After two hours of hiking, she found a tree-dusted in gold from the bioluminescence of thousands of fireflies. Shooting 27 images over a 24-second exposure and combining them using focus stacking software, she highlighted the vibrancy of this scene."
The invertebrate category is about showcasing a behavioural attribute of small animals without a backbone. It can be either on land, in water or in air. Sridhar hails from Panvel near Mumbai and had taken the shot during a trek in Bhandardara last year in June. She is a wildlife photographer and her photo will be put on display from October 16.
Sridhar was quoted as saying, "It was a dream come true when my name was announced at the virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday night."
She added that though she had made up her mind on clicking fireflies but she wasn't sure about the frame. Fireflies are found in Bandardara during a short two-week window.
She captured the shot with Canon's premium DSLRs -- EOS-1DX Mark II.
Sridhar is a wildlife photographer, writer and filmmaker by profession. She is also a conservationist. There are many feathers in her cap; few worth mentioning here are the Diana award by the Princess Diana foundation for her efforts in wetland conservation at the age of 14 and becoming the youngest member of the State Wetland Identification Committee appointed by the Bombay High Court.
Participating in photography contests is a great way for photographers to get recognition and benchmark their work. Photography contests provide the perfect platform to hone skills and evolve expression.