Q&A: Chikku Baiju, Photo Contest Winner (Again)

Chikku Baiju's grand-prize-winning photograph, made in Lost Dutchman State Park near the Superstition Mountains | Chikku Baiju

Chikku Baiju’s grand-prize-winning photograph, made in Lost Dutchman State Park near the Superstition Mountains | Chikku Baiju

Self-taught photographer Chikku Baiju is not only the youngest winner of the 2013-14 Arizona Highways Online Photography Contest; he’s also the first two-time winner in the six years the contest has been held. The 22-year-old says he shoots as a hobby but would one day like to make the hobby a full-time job. Baiju, who uses a Canon EOS-5D Mark II, gave us a little insight into the way he works his magic.

Q: As a photographer without professional training, how have you learned the art?
A:
I took a high-school class my senior year, and that’s when I got hooked on it. It’s mostly looking at other famous photographers. My main goal is to go to a popular photography place and try to come up with something different than what other people have taken there.

Q: You also won the 2009-10 contest; how does it feel to win again?
A:
I wasn’t expecting to win this year; there were a lot of good entries. I was surprised to win again.

Q: Tell us about the process of shooting the winning photo.
A:
This was the first time I’ve ever tried to shoot wildflowers at night. The shot was taken kind of away from the trail, a spot that not many people go to, I guess. It’s a lot of finding and luck. I liked what I came up with.

Q: What is the craziest situation you’ve found yourself shooting in?
A:
I was up in the Bishop area [in California], and I was trying to shoot some night shots. I was driving down the road, and I saw this one dirt road and wondered, “Where does this go?” It was a really great scene; it had a lot of wildflowers. I got some decent shots, and then I heard a huge breath. I thought it was the wind at first, and then it got louder and more animal-like. At that point I said, “I’ll probably just take photos in the parking lot by my car, just to be safe.” I had to run away to my car, because it’s bear country. I didn’t get the night shot, but I did get the sunset shot.

Q: Besides our book (100 Greatest Photographs to Ever Appear in Arizona Highways Magazine), where else can people view your work?
A:
I have a website, www.chikkubaiju.com.

— Kirsten Kraklio

2 Comments

Filed under Contests, Photography, Q&A

2 responses to “Q&A: Chikku Baiju, Photo Contest Winner (Again)

  1. Terry

    “Colorful Night”, is that a composite shot or a single exposure? Either way, it’s a wonderful image.

  2. Lovely image. I’m genuinely curious – how much post-processing work went into its creation? I can’t imagine getting a night shot this good without needing post work! :)

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