16 Questions about One Photo with Hari K Patibanda

A Himalayan Monal on a roadside tree

1. Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been into

My Name is Hari K Patibanda. I am a technology professional in love with nature. I was interested in
photography for the past twenty+ years, and occasionally dabbled in landscape and macro
photography. But I found my calling in nature and bird photography during Covid Lockdowns and
since then have spent a considerable time in this area, growing my hobby as well as travelling across
the country to see new bird species and habitats.

2. In one sentence, please describe what you captured in this shot.

This shot is of a male Himalayan Monal – a member of the Pheasant family – while it was roosting on
a tree and getting ready for the day.

3. Why did you select this photo to share?

Photographs of birds like this Monal – unusually colourful and vivid, attract viewers making them
curious about nature and the wildlife around them – something I like to achieve with my
photography. This is the type of photography I am into.

4. What style of photography would you describe this as and do you typically take
photographs in this style?

This is a typical bird / wildlife photograph highlighting the subject in its natural environment. And
yes, most of my bird photography shots are like this.

5. When and where was this photo taken?

The photograph was taken near the small Village of Chopta, in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in
the state of Uttarakhand, North India. This is part of a vast Himalayan Forest range – an important
biological reserve that hosts around 800 species of birds and 240 species of mammals, 10,000
species of plants and a lot more. Many of these bird species migrate 1000+ of kms in winters and
reach the southern part of country where I live – so it was an exciting experience for me to see the
home range of birds that I photographed several times – the habitats are quite different.
I went there on a 7-day birding trip during the 2 nd week of Dec 2021.

6. Was anyone with you when you took this photo?

There were around 4 of us – all part of the 7-day birding trip across the forests of that state along
with a bird guide and driver.

7. What equipment (hardware and software) did you use?

I used my trusty Canon EOS R5 and an EF 500 mm F4 IS II Lens for my bird photography. For software
I primarily use Lightroom, Photoshop and Topaz DeNoise.

8. What drew you to take this photo?

Even before the start of the trip, this bird was in my target list of must-see birds – there are few birds
that are this colourful, metallic and in purple colour. So, when we sighted these birds in the forest
slopes on the hilly roadside roosting in a tree about 35-40 m away, I was delighted and waited for
the birds to get a bit comfortable before taking this shot. There were about 5 birds together, 4 of
them behind some leaves, while this male – a watcher probably – was sitting on an open branch. He
slowly walked towards the trunk giving a brief clean view before he got down from the tree and

9. How many attempts did it take to get this shot? How long did it take you to get one that you
were satisfied with?

It took me several shot and tries to get this right. I must have taken around 50 – 60 shots maybe. The
temperature was very cold at around minus 4.0 deg C / 25 deg F that day – the coldest day for me till
date – I had trouble handholding the camera steady. The light was also quite low in the canopy
where the bird was roosting. And the bird started slowing moving, so I had to wait for the right
moment hoping it would pause briefly. So, I did re-adjust and experiment with settings several times
to get a good sharp shot.

10. Did you edit (or do any post-processing/production on) this photo?

I processed the picture in Lightroom, denoised it in Topaz Denoise, cropped, tweaked colours,
exposure and curves.

11. What encouraged you to share this photo online and with others?

Flickr and other online websites help me in building networks where others can see my work and I
can draw inspiration from other’s work. In find that they are particularly good for connecting with
people with similar interests.

I also joined my city’s bird watchers / photographer’s forum online and the help of that network
made a significant difference to me in building my birding and photography skills!

12. Did you learn anything in the process of taking, editing, or sharing this photo?

Yes. Seeing these Monals in snow, in the forests or on trees, interacting with each other, roosting,
pecking the ground for insects – that was a memorable experience and learning. I learnt a lot about
the bird’s behaviours, habitat, its social nature and diet as well.

Also, shooting in low light and in such freezing conditions was new to me. And this was my first visit
to that region, and we were on day 2 of the trip. This shot helped me prepare for the rest of the trip.
(The previous day, we were mostly trekking up a snowy hill, so the challenges were different!). I
needed to figure out camera settings – slow shutter speeds and medium ISO’s. Also, I carried a
monopod for the rest of the trip wherever possible since the light was quite low. Lastly, I learnt
about managing my breathing in the cold to get a steady shot with the heavy gear where monopod
couldn’t be used. This was quite different to shooting in nice sunny weather in light clothing back

Editing the picture was not a challenge once I got the shot right, I just followed my standard
workflow process.

13. Do you remember what you had for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) the day you took this

I do. In that area, we had the same food for the first couple of days all the time – there was no
choice. On this day, I don’t remember having a breakfast at this point. We stopped a while later for

breakfast at a place where we got the Eurasian Wren with a spectacular backdrop – that was also a
memorable experience.

14. What would you like people to take away from this photo?

Appreciate the nature and be aware of the co-habitants of this planet – make it a better place. Our
nature and planet are amazing and there is so much to learn, enjoy and explore.
15. Is there any feedback that you’d like to get on this shot?

I appreciate any kind of constructive criticism I can get on my pictures. Be it composition, sharpness,
exposure, noise, colours or anything else.

In the past, there were several times when Flickr viewers had shared some critical feedback on my
pictures that helped me to improve my photography. A viewer who went through several of pictures
remarked on the close crops that I do of my pictures, so I did make those improvements. Others
feedback on the noise levels in my pictures, I also learnt from that and improved my shooting and
processing techniques.

16. How can anyone reading this support your work?

People can follow my photography and browse through my work at Flickr and share feedback.
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/krishnacolor/
Instagram: @hari_patibanda

All my pictures are also licensed under Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution and hence
are available free of use for any educational, NGO, non-profit users and organizations. It is said “a
picture is worth 1000 words”. I believe that a good picture can make a significant positive impact on
the viewers and can help in piquing their curiosity towards nature.

About Hari Patibanda

Hari Patibanda is a technology professional and lives in the South Indian city of Hyderabad with his wife and two boys. During the weekends and holidays, he loves exploring the countryside and the forests around the region photographing birds in their natural habitats.