Hari Viswanathan was born in Suffern, New York in 1971. When he was 5 years old, his family moved to New Mexico. Hari's parents instilled in him a love of the outdoors and nature's creations, both big and small. Hari's mother Selvi was instrumental in this respect, by involving him in projects such as building outdoor ponds and transforming their backyard into a certified NWF wildlife habitat. Hari's love of the Southwest and its vast and varied landscapes was evident when he chose to return to New Mexico after his education and research took him to California (BS, University of California, Santa Barbara), Illinois (PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) and Germany (Visiting professor, Jena).
Throughout his life, Hari's travels have taken him to several countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. Hari's father made sure the family travelled extensively as a child and that he took plenty of photos. What began as a pastime documenting memories of family vacations has since sparked a deep passion for capturing the essence of various places in the world seen through the camera lens. There is also an unmistakable message of nature's beauty and the need to preserve it for future generations. His work has been featured regularly at the Art Center in Los Alamos.
Hari is employed at Los Alamos National Lab as an Environmental scientist. Hari and his wife Gowri currently reside in Los Alamos and they have a newborn son, Aditya. Both enjoy travelling and photography. In fact, Gowri has been instrumental in transforming a casual hobby into serious photography. Gowri also enjoys photography and a few of her pictures can be seen in the Gowri's Gallery part of the site.
“One of the keys to the pictures I take is that the aspect ratio varies to capture the scene. A typical camera takes pictures at an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 3:2. These ratios are artificial and were chosen since many devices such as televisions and lenses are designed assuming these ratios. We really see the world from many different perspectives ranging from closeups to very large scales that pictures often cannot capture. In the past, taking panorama pictures required costly lenses and printing techniques. With digital photography and computers, variable aspect ratios are now possible for the average consumer. This has been made possible because modern computer software can 'stitch' images together accurately and printers can handle many different sizes while maintaining resolution throughout the image. The pictures I take come in a wide variety of sizes and aspect ratios. Being able to choose the aspect ratio is a major advantage. For example, the mass ascension at the international balloon fiesta is difficult to capture without taking a panorama. This is also true of many scenic landscapes that are so vast that these are difficult to capture even with a wide angle lens. It is difficult to appreciate the size of a Sequoia tree in a standard picture. By doing so, I hope to depict the incredible detail or the grandness of scale that is present in nature and in many man made marvels.”
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