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Captured on film - beautiful wildlife

24 March 2015

Wildlife Photographer Sitara Karthikeyan Owlets picture

Lots of things are turning 50 this year, for example: Saturday Night Live, the American comedy program; the bag-in-a-box or cask wine, which was a South Australian invention, and The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards on at the Australian Museum in Sydney from March 28, 2015.

The museum will also celebrate in June this year the creation of its New Gallery, Wild Planet, which will add approximately 630m2 of exhibition space. It’s the first time in more than 50 years that permanent exhibition space has been added to the Australian Museum. Wild Planet will focus on biodiversity and feature more than 400 animal specimens from across the globe as well as look at what climate change will mean among other environmental concerns. Recently, the museum took delivery of its zebra – ‘an animal bigger than you think’ – but it’s the housing of their giraffe that still fills staff with awe. Wild Planet will also highlight Australia’s unique mammal fauna and creatively use technology to showcase the scientific work of the Australian Museum Research Institute.

Back to the wildlife photography of the museum's exhibition opening in March and running until October. Photographer Sitara Karthikeyan, who was photographing waterbirds by a coconut grove in southern India, says she spied three spotted owlets perched on a dead tree, preening one another. When a few common Mynas started to mob them, the owlets let out a shrill call, whereupon two adults joined them and all five stood their ground.

“I was moved by their togetherness when in danger,” says Sitara, “and I wanted to capture the feeling.”

To get an eye-level shot, Sitara explains she was forced to abandon her tripod and handhold the camera – "challenging," she says, "as the lens was so heavy". Selecting a wide aperture to blur the background, she focused on the owls. Then, at the first click of the shutter, they all looked her way.

Pictured above, Owlets united; Photo by Sitara Karthikeyan © Sitara Karthikeyan/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

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