I have been avoiding tiger safaris for this reason — the large crowds and the fact that one is restricted to the confines of the jeep.
This was my first “tiger safari” — 8 in all, in Bandhavgarh National Park (in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India) between the 27th and 30th of April, 2017. We saw a total of 8 different tigers in 3 of our 8 safaris. The joint experience of our driver and naturalist made this possible.
New Kankati had crossed the road to get to the other side — to join her 3 cubs who had made this crossing about 30 minutes before her. Neither of the 3 cubs are apprehensive about people, or jeeps — go about living the tiger life with no apprehension.
Our driver was a young entrepreneur having great love for tigers. He has been photographing tigers with his Nikon P900 camera and posting daily reports on Facebook. He has clicked almost every tiger in the region — some portraits, others crossing the track.
And the 200 odd cameras that make their way into the forest everyday also record similar photos. A couple of hours into our first safari, I lost interest in clicking portraits of tigers, tigers drinking water, and tigers lounging around the watering hole, all at fast shutter speeds.
I yearned for some “action”. But there wasn’t any.
So I decided to use a technique called panning — it’s when the photographers sets a slow shutter speed and pans the camera along with the movement of his subject. In doing so, the subject appears sharp, and the background gives us a sense of motion.
The tigers were only ambling across us, still I used slow shutter speeds in an attempt to establish a sense of motion.
The image on the left is a crop of the above picture. Notice that the tiger’s face is sharp, but its feet are blurry.
I am encouraged to do more tiger safaris and try again.
I returned from Bandhavgarh with not a single picture that I’m proud of. But I’m sure that the knowledge about tigers, light and panning that I have gained on this trip will help me in the future.
I must mention that I am not an expert on tigers. The names of the tigers and other tiger related information that I have written is as per my limited understanding about the subject. It can be incorrect.
I will write a blog post about “the chase” soon.