ON her 51st birthday, Shashi Sood was gifted a professional camera by her son. While she was elated with the gift, she hardly knew how to use it. “I used to love photography during my college days but had never used a professional camera. I decided to take the plunge and the first picture I clicked was of a bird (myna) near my house and this is how I became a birder over the years,” says 57-year-old Ludhiana-based Sood.
Gradually, she learnt how to use the camera. A post graduate in political science, in the last six years, Sood has photographed and documented hundreds of species of rare and lost birds across Punjab, Bharatpur, Harike Pattan, Rann of Kutch, Nanital and Australia, where she has travelled extensively. She is a member of Punjab Bird Club and her photographs of birds seen after a long time in Punjab have been showcased as part of several exhibitions. “These include Indian Nuthatch, Long-tailed Minivet, Indian Scops Owl, Stork-billed Kingfisher and many more. There are several rare birds in the surrounding areas, waiting to be discovered. All we need to do is follow these winged beauties regularly. I go for regular photography trips across the state and country, and the camera is my constant companion. Travelling solo has given me confidence to explore my talent, experiment and look at the world outside with new eyes,” says she.
Sood has inspired many young girls to pick up the camera and discover their talent. “I share my work through exhibitions across the country and don’t charge any money for the pictures,” says Sood, who is open to feedback.
Apart from photography, Sood shares her culinary skills with food lovers. She is now looking forward to photographing migratory birds that will arrive in India in a couple of months. “We need to live our dreams, follow our passion and live for the self rather than expecting anything from others,” says she.