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The Dark Namibian Nights

As the sun sets in Namibia, the open horizons and minimal light pollution gave way to a sparkling Milky Way and countless stars that dazzle the black night canvas. Such scenarios are perfect for  night photography and for experimentations with your wider focal lengths.

During the recent Nature Wanderers Namibia Photography Tour, here is how we spent some of our nights – scouting for locations during the day for making the best use of absolute darkness.

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Wild Namibia

Namibia – Land of spectacular scenery, where the red Kalahari and the breathtaking Namibia deserts meet, where ancient trees, incredible bird life, and a diversity of wildlife is found, where desert, marine, and open plain mammals, birds, reptiles, insects abound. From Sossusvlei to the vast Etosha, Namibia has everything that a wildlife photographer could wish for.

Nature Wanderers conducted a photographic expedition in Namibia where we took our guests for a memorable journey showcasing the unique biodiversity of Namibian deserts as we photographed the landscapes, night-scapes, miniature world and the iconic Southern African wildlife of this African wild treasure.

The highlight of our photography tour was the in-depth training sessions on photographing wildlife in the night and making optimum use of technology for the same.

Here are a few images we created in the last 15 days…

Tiger Showers – Summers 2017

Have been constantly on the field of the past couple of months and haven’t had much time to sort images. Just back from back to back Corbett and Bandhavgarh photography tours and I must say both locations are teaming with wildlife action. While Paro – the river mermaid of Corbett – has been enthralling photographers with a consistent appearances in majestic Himalayan backdrops, Bandhavgarh has had some outstanding action with tiger cubs as Spotty – the reigning heartthrob of Tala – is in command with her young battalion of cubs who have made the grasslands their playground this summer. In the other areas of the part Bamera’s son (T37) has been displaying his affection for his offsprings as the 3 cubs of Kankati Jr. have been keeping shutters busy in the lone water body of the area.

 

Here is a quick preview for April and May 2017:

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Greens of Mara – March 2017

Just conducted a caracal expedition in Kenya. Though the focus was on small cats and the expedition resulted in 2 caracals and 15 serval sightings, but the week in the lush green plains of Masai Mara was action packed. The wildebeests were out of action and the river was calm. However action in the green pastures was supreme as usual with lions jumping around in the rains, servals scouting for morning meals and some excellent work with the rare and elusive caracals – one of the most elegant small cats of the African bush.

Here are some images to summarise my photo safari for March 2017.

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Nature… Devoid of colours

Black and white imagery looks stunning because of their artistic and dramatic appeal. I am frequently questioned about why I converted a particular image black and white. The process starts much before the image is shot as in my opinion shooting black and white images requires perceiving and pre-visualising a particular frame as black and white even before pressing the trigger. Here are some basic aspects which go through my mind during before shooting a black and white image:

  • Tonality & contrasts
  • Flat light and bland skies
  • Would the subject stand out without colour?
  • Textures and details
  • Leading lines and geographic compositions
  • Positioning of the light source

Do all images make good black and whites? I wouldn’t agree as a monochrome image is surely created in your mind and there are quite a few images that are meant to be photographed in colour.

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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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