Sapna Reddy, who is driven with the belief that her best work is yet to come, took to photography seriously about two years ago.
To her, what appeals most are the images that portray the symbiosis of man and nature. Here we are in conversation with the talented photographer from California.
Q. How did you get into landscape photography? Was it a natural progression from your travels?
A. Interest in people, places and other cultures motivated me to travel around the world. As I did so, I started taking pictures to document my travels and that is what initiated the interest in photography.
Being a doctor, specifically a radiologist, my work confines me to a small dark room analyzing images with implications of disease and death. So when I am not working, I like to be in vast open spaces, with beautiful light, far from sickness and ill health, surrounded by nature and all of the goodness of this world. Perhaps it is to counterbalance the images that I study day after day in an attempt to help cure patients, that I seek out images that portray the beauty that is abundant in nature.
Q. What kinds of gear do you use?
Body – Nikon D90, Nikon V1 and Nikon D800
Lens – Nikor 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm f 2.8. 18-55mm and 70-300mm telezoom, 50mm, 85 mm and 105 prime and a Sigma fish eye.
Tripod – Manfroto
Filters – Singh Ray vari-n-duo, singh ray circular warming polarizers, Lee GNDs and NDs.
Camera Bag – Medium sized tarmac backpack.
Flash – Nikon 600 SB
Q. Which is your favorite lens? Why?
A. I change my lens based on the shot I wish to acquire. For each particular shot I have a specific lens. I love my trinity and use it extensively. I like the fish eye lens for its creative potential. I am not a fan of the kit lenses.
I prefer wide angle shots when shooting landscapes. The lenses I use most often in this setting are Nikkor 14-24mm and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.
Q. When you go in one of your travels, what all do you take with you? Why?
A. It depends on what I wish to shoot. I usually pack my trinity, the three cameras and the filters. I may add or remove a lens based on the plans for the day.
Q. How do you prepare yourself for a shoot before starting on the journey?
A. I do a lot of research beforehand with respect to geography, climate, varying light conditions etc. I look at images of others from the same place. I check the photographer’s ephemeris.
Q. In the field, what is your camera setting?
A. I shoot in manual mode and change settings for each shot based on what it is that I wish to portray. Lately I have started shooting in aperture mode, just for the fun of it.
Q. How do you post process your shots?
A. I use Photoshop CS5.
Q. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
The one I am going to take tomorrow.
There is nothing better than the anticipation of nailing a shot that you work towards optimizing in every way possible.
I hope and strive to improve with every shot I take, so the best, by logic, is yet to come.
The images that I like the most are those that involve significant creativity on the part of the photographer. When you have to take a mundane scene in front of you and create something extraordinary, I enjoy that immensely. I also love images that serve as reminders of special memories/experiences. I do use photography as a portal to “déjà vu” some special moments in my life, and several of my landscape pictures are associated with such precious moments that I get to relive every time I look at the images.
Q. Whose work has influenced you the most?
A. Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell inspire me, along with a large number of other photographers. As far as influence goes, my own work is the most influential in my growth. Every shot I take teaches me what I did right and what I did wrong and influences the next shot I take.
Q. How do you educate yourself to take better shots?
A. I ask for feedback from several peers and mentors. I share my work with the general audience on Facebook.
I analyze my own images critically.
From the feedback gathered from all these sources, I am able to derive constructive criticism about what works and what does not work with respect to each shot and grow from that experience.
Q. Where should a newbie start, according to you, if he/she is interested in pursuing landscapes?
A. Long before you learn the techniques, learn to love and connect with nature. Once you do that, the rest just falls into place automatically.
Q. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking landscapes?
A. The most important thing is to enjoy the process of acquisition of the image. The actual image itself is not as important.