by Editor Yvette Depaepe (photoma)
Usha Peddamatham is a passionate nature and travel photographer. The more she travels the more she is in love with our planet and hopes, prays that we don't take it for granted and preserve the beauty for future generations. Usha has visited all seven continents and is currently doing country by country.
She quotes Ansel Adams expressing her sentiments eloquently: “A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, there by, a true expression about what feels about life in its entirety" .
Let's discover more about this fine lady and her work.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, dear Usha.
I was born in India and came to the US 40 years ago which is our home now. I have been married for 40 years to a wonderful man. Photography has been my greatest hobby that I have dabbled in for over 30 years. My other passionate hobby is travel. Combining my two passions keeps me quite busy.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
Since I was a child I loved being outdoors and nature has always been my saviour as it gives me immense peace and joy. My photography started as nature photography which included landscape,flowers in my garden. Travel has added different genres to my interest like travel,wildlife and birds. That is why I have never developed a style as I love photographing a lot of different things. Since my travel takes me to locations all around the world I have included many kinds of photography.
My love for nature has had the greatest influence on my art. Getting up at ungodly hours to witness sunrise and staying till the last ray of light is gone to shoot Sunsets has taken me all over the world to experience those sublime moments.
What first attracted you to photography?
I picked up my first SLR camera to photograph my newborn son. Soon after we started travelling. Camera became a tool to bring home memories of our travels. Because of my love for nature we picked locations that are renowned for natural beauty. That means going to New Zealand,Patagonia,Canadian Rockies,China etc., But I find my own country to be the most beautiful. I wanted to call myself a landscape photographer if anyone wanted to pigeon hole me. But that meant a lot of dedication and physical stamina. Now I call myself a nature photographer.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I am not sure if I have an overall photographic vision. I know conveying beauty in my images is quite important for me. I tend to avoid people photography as I am quite intimidated by people. I do candid shots of people on my travels. But street photography is most difficult for me even though I admire that genre.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
Mostly I have a very emotional connection to my subjects. Watching a spectacular sunrise evokes in me a wonderment of who the creator may be. And I feel the presence of higher power in that moment of peace and solitude. I am also highly emotional when I see wild life. I am overcome with a desire to protect them and with sadness by what we humans are doing to our fragile world and its non human inhabitants. Every time I hear what is happening to all the wild life because of us, one species causing Sixth mass extinction, it breaks my heart. I cannot imagine the world without all these beautiful creatures.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I have been a Nikon user for over two decades. But recently I have switched to
Mirror-lesscamera OMD-EM1Mk11 as I have had shoulder problems. I own several of Olympus pro lenses.
Equipment has never been my focus. I am aware great imagery has been produced with very limited equipment and technology, by human brains. Often times I shoot with an iPhone to see what I can produce with its limitations.
What software do you use to process your images?
I use both lightroom and photoshop and Nik collection of Plug-ins. I also use Luminar filters to see if it has a creative advantage.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I always upload my images into Lightroom and add the keywords,rename if needed and use the develop module to process my images. Often times I stop if I have accomplished the end result. If I want to get creative and then I use Photoshop to take advantage of the layers and masks.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
Since I indulge in different genres, for landscapes Marc Adamus is my favourite photographer. Having taken a photo workshop with him I have come away with lot of admiration for his pre-visualization skills and his amazing ability to compose.
Since I am also a passionate flower photographer I find Jacky Parker to be a very gifted floral artist. She has definitely influenced me in floral photography.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
I have two images that are my most favourite because of my emotional connection to them The first photograph was taken in the Falklands. I was on a high cliff overlooking the beach. I spotted a raft of 60 or more so Rockhopper penguins coming ashore. Once they reached the shore they all started running to go their nests up on the cliff. I was so emotionally moved to see so many of them running on the beach to do the steep climb. It was an overwhelming moment to see this beautiful animal scape. This image won 1st prize in 1x.nature monthly theme.
The second image is of a herd of elephants running for cover in a sudden downpour. I just got one shot. But the mood created by dark stormy clouds,pelting rain and the herd running with the baby in between is very dear to me.
What do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
This is a proud moment for me to be asked to be featured on 1x.magazine. When I joined, almost 75 of my images were rejected. In fact my first publication was the image of the Rockhopper penguins running ashore.
1x is indeed unique because we get to see amazing photography by so many gifted photographers from all over the world. That is the place to come to for inspiration as well as moments of despair. I would love to quote Antonio Salieri from the movie ‘Mozart’ :“God why give me the desire but deny me the talent “
I am awed and humbled by the mastery of craft here.
I am deeply indebted to Yvette Depaepe for giving me the opportunity to be featured as photographer of the week on the 1x magazine.