A tale between the lens and wildlife

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Ramganga Musings

Nothing could have been a better start to a new year. Reliving some magical mornings of Corbett… the music of a Himalayan river with sparkling waters cascading down the white stones which slowly get lit as the sun peeps from the horizon and fumes of mist mingles with the first rays of the sun to create a seraphic landscape which has been forever embedded in my memory for more than a decade.

Over the years, while photographing this splendour a variety of subjects came and added a flavour to the glowing ambers of the Ramganga on a daily basis. Days normally start with redstarts, storks, greenshank and slowly graduates to a pied kingfisher and finally on one of the days a crested kingfisher takes over the misty throne of the Ramganga. However that particular morning of January 2017 was steaming with a thick layer of mist which made the light softer than usual. As I was waiting for my routine kingfishers, a group of smooth coated otters distracted me on the opposite direction as I observed their morning chores while they merrily swam braving strong river tides in search of a meal. For quite some time, I avoided the distraction but the otter antics were hard to resist and for a change I prioritised subjects over light and changed the direction of the camera. As soon as I looked through the viewfinder of my camera, behind my back, a ghostly figure royally stood on the smoking orange stones of the river. The subject was 200 times the size of the expected kingfisher and as soon as I looked back, we both stared at each other in shock.

At the blink of an eye the ruler of the Ramganga – a huge male tiger – traced back and ran back towards the bushes from where it was making up its mind to cross the glowing river. Some photographic opportunities remain edged to your memory even when you miss them. The frame was blank but the memory of the soul of the river in that dramatic set-up will remain forever.

For the records, here are few images from the year-opening photo tour to Corbett National Park.

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Canon Wild Clicks – Season 6

Canon Wild Clicks Season 6 – India’s Only Live Photography Contest concluded in Dudhwa National Park. With identical shooting conditions, defined themes and a defined timeframe, over 100 contestants came together to test their creativity and think beyond tigers during the 4 day competition. The event was conducted in partnership with Uttar Pradesh Government and Forest Department of Dudhwa.

 

It all kickstarted with the Honourable Chief Minister, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav flagging off Canon Wild Clicks as Nature Wanderers along with the Government of Uttar Pradesh welcomed 100 chosen photographers from all corners of India to be a part of the mega event from Nov 17-21, 2016. The entire group was divided in 3 parts to be mentored and guided by ace photographers – Shivang Mehta, Tejas Soni, Sandeep Dutta and Saurabh Desai.

This year jury comprised of award winning photographers Ganesh H Shankar and Jagdeep Rajput who spent countless hours judging over 500 images being submitted as per 5 themes given to the contestants.

CWC 6 has always been a great platform for knowledge sharing and this year the contestants got to be a part of talks on photographic compositions by Ganesh Shankar and some interesting panel discussions with Jagdeep Rajput.

Pratik Pradhan from Mumbai was judged the overall winner of Canon Wild Clicks Season 6 and won a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and some exciting goodies from our sponsors WulPro & Sirui.  Along with the Grand Winner, Canon Wild Clicks – Season 6 had five themes winners & 12 honorary mentions.

Presenting  brief visual gallery from Dudhwa:

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October Expeditions Recap

It started with a brief photography tour in Ranthambhore wherein we inaugurated the post monsoon season with some lush green images of tigers in a monsoon forest. The sightings in both the batches were awesome and the greens added a punch to the images. It rained heavily during batch 2 but photographing a young male tiger in the rains was absolute fun for our guests.

I then changed gears and moved to Eastern Himalayas in the Indo-Nepal border to track down red pandas in the wild. A bunch of photographers who roughed it out in the tough terrains to photograph the elusive red panda and the efforts yielded rich dividends in the form of 5 individual sightings over a 3 week period.

Getting ready to judge the Canon Photo Marathon in New Delhi as of now before setting of to Easter Himalayas yet again for some more hardcore sessions with the pandas.

Here are some images to sum up the month:

Shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV at ISO 4000

Shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV at ISO 4000

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Countdown to Tigers…

India is geared to welcome a fresh tiger season as most of the national parks of India would be opening after a 3 months monsoon break by October. While Ranthambhore National Park will be commence tourism from October 1st, central Indian tiger parks like Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Satpura and Tadoba would be operational for tourists from mid of October. The popular Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand would be back in business by November.

What is in store in the world of tigers for the 2016-2017 season? While a lot of mysteries are yet to unfold, as per June tiger sighting trends, the graph for Bandhavgarh was at its peak with multiple breeding females and cubs in various zones of the park. Ranthambhore also had an impressive summer and so did Tadoba and Pench.

Stay tuned to this space for updates from various tiger lands of India and in case you want to plan a photo safari or join a photographic expedition, drop me an email at shivang@naturewanderers.com

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Migration Uncut 2017 – Pre-Bookings

The plans for the 2017 Migration Uncut photo safari series in Masai Mara are on. All you serious photography enthusiasts who wish to join me in my Aug-Sep 2017 Migration batches to witness the Great Annual Wildebeest Migration in Masai Mara can please send me an email on shivang@naturewanderers.com

Migration Uncut 2016 – Week 4

We wrapped up week 4 at Migration Uncut 2016. The trans Mara is teaming with wildebeests and the yellows of the Savannah are sprayed with black dots stretching right up till the horizon. Such sights are visual treats during the migration season. The week saw some river crossings yet again and the crocs did have a good time in the Mara river. A cheetah at the doorstep of our camp kept us busy on a few mornings by sprinting across the grasslands in search of his breakfast. The highlight of the week was a good session with a leopard at Double Cross. The young female I photographed as a cub last year has shaped up quite well by occupying a territory close to her mother’s area. We caught her mating in August 2nd week and this week she stalked majestically one evening but failed to catch the gazelle she was targeting.

Here are a few images summarising week 4.

My bookings for Migration Uncut 2017 are open. Feel free to send me an email on shivang@naturewanderers.com to reserve a slot and be a part of the African photography fiesta.

 

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Migration Uncut 2016 – Week 3

_W2I6584_W2I7038_W2I7589_W2I7758_W2I7724_W2I9099It was a week full of action packed river crossings, brutal crocodile attacks and some scintillating hunt sequences. Malaika’s offspring from her last litter sprinted on multiple occasions and caught hold of Thomson gazelles at will. The highlight was Musiara and her 3 cubs bringing down a wildebeest after a long 1 hour effort where they attempted warthogs, gazelles and an impala herd.

As I am recouping energies for week 4, here are a few images to summarise the week.