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Community Highlight: Sudipta Shaw

Did you know your neighbor, Sudipta Shaw, is a phenomenal wildlife photographer, even published by National Geographic!? His snapshots are definitely attention grabbing, including wild tigers, rhinos, buffalo, as well as striking geological formations fostered by his previous residencies in India and Utah.

Supita Shaw at Benson Marina in Cache Valley, Utah, in 2015
CTC resident Sudipta Shaw captures his love for wildlife with photography in his spare time as a UMN Postdoc.


Sudipta has always had a passion for nature and wildlife, favoring the outdoors since before he could remember. Sudipta discovered photography was the artful vehicle to capture his love of wildlife during his undergraduate studies at Allahabad Agricultural Institute: initiated by a casual purchase of two wildlife photography magazines while waiting to take a train home for a holiday break. “From then on, I read all I could about photography and began experimenting with an analog camera,” he says. “After moving to the United States for graduate school [at Utah State University], I purchased my first digital camera.”
 

In 2017, one of his images of Yellowstone bison was selected from more than 10,000 submissions for National Geographic’s “21 Captivating Pictures of Places Worth Protection.”
In 2017, one of Sudipta's images of Yellowstone bison was selected from more than 10,000 submissions for National Geographic’s “21 Captivating Pictures of Places Worth Protection.”
Sudipta curates a remarkable gallery on his own photography website, www.shawsudipta.com.
Additionally, Sudipta posts photos to Your Shot, National Geographic’s photo community.


Birds are Sudipta’s favorite subject: “I find bird photography is more challenging than animal photography,” Shaw said. “You can’t take a picture of bird without sitting for, maybe hours,” Shaw said. “You have to be extremely lucky to take a good picture, especially with birds. Animals are larger, so you can maintain a distance and take a good picture, but with birds, there are so many small birds that if you are not close, you are not going to get a good picture. And when you get close, they are going to fly. You have to be really patient.”
 

Taken at CTC: a starling escapes the talons of a distracted merlin
Taken at CTC: a starling escapes the talons of a distracted merlin.  


Coincidentally, his current Minnesotan home in CTC is a major bird hotspot and migration hub, largely attributed to the Sarita wetland next door. Sudipta captured the photo above right next to his apartment depicting a merlin catching a starling, who managed to escape due to the merlin becoming distracted by the cars on the road.
 

Another photo taken at CTC: a red-winged blackbird captured in the Sarita conservation area.
Another photo taken at CTC: a red-winged blackbird captured in the Sarita conservation area.
Birds of prey are Sudipta's favorite feathered subjects, such as the Northern Hawk Owl above from Sax Zim Bog.


In Minnesota, his current focus is owls, which he describes with excitement. “On weekends, I’ll head north to Sax Zim Bog, a popular birding area, which is famous for Great Gray Owls,” Shaw says. “I’ve also captured photos of the less abundant Northern Hawk Owl.” Closer to home, he’s observed snowy owls at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

In addition to birds, Sudipta magically captures Minnesota landscapes, as seen below in his recent trip to Palisade Head in in the Silver Bay area to view the Northern Lights and the high falls on the Pigeon River at Grand Portage State Park.
 

Norther Lights in Palisade Head, Silver Bay area - taken by Sudipta Shaw
Natural auroras from Sudipta's late-September trip to northern Minnesota near Lake Superior.
An overlook of a 120-foot waterfall, the tallest in Minnesota, at the northeastern tip on the US-Canadian border.


Sudpita discovered his calling of wildlife photography in his pursuit of an academic career in biological sciences, which he is still progressing today, a postdoctoral associate in the College of Biological Sciences, Biotechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Shaw is currently working to develop genetically modified bacteria with enhanced phosphate-capture ability that will be used to design a cost-effective bioscavenger for removing phosphorous from aquaculture effluents, agricultural runoff and waste water. Sudipta loves his work at the U; yet, he ensures us that he still has time to pursue his passion for wildlife photography – something we must hold him truthfully to for the benefit of the world!


Resources:

Sudpita Shaw: 

UMN Libraries: Fall Colors Walk at Sarita Wetland (Oct. 17, 2019) 

Waxwing Eco: Recent Bird Sightings at Sarita Wetland


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