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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
I have a website, www.chikkubaiju.com.

— Kirsten Kraklio


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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