In to the Wild - My First Tiger Encounter

9/24/2010 02:11:00 PM

This thursday marked my very first visit to a national park when I decide to venture in to the forests of Bandipur National Park , with 29  other wildlife photographers/enthusiasts, all guys, from Youth photography society, bangalore. The three days long trip was my first ever wildlife shoot, first time safari, and my first visit with YPS as well.  with all these firsts, and that I have no idea about what to expect really, still, I was hoping for a sight of a tiger in this 900 sq.kms spread over thick forest where You really need to be lucky to see one! and boy wasn't I that lucky?

It was our third morning and our last day in Bandipur, and we still hadn't spotted a tiger. almost an hour and half long safari early morning, and I was actually sleeping half the time, only to wake up when we were returning, and we spotted an elephant family on the tarred road.

On the tiger road that we saw a bee-eater and suddenly I hear someone whispering -tiger, sir, tiger- I moved my camera on the right and there she was, a pregnant tigress, emerging out of the bushes in her royal style. Charmed by her beauty or it was her elegance that mesmerized me, well I simply don't remember anything after that..I was hanging in the window, I got down once to take the shots on the right across the road. and then she vanished.

Here I have 9 out of 10 shots I took..(as one got blurred) showing her moment from and till the time we saw her..Exif data below, No post processing as I found the natural ones the best.

CameraCanon EOS 450D
Exposure0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperturef/5.6
Focal Length200 mm
ISO Speed200
Exposure Bias0 EV
FlashOff, Did not fire


#1- The first time I saw her.

_MG_0095

#2- as she went behind the tree, I thought of a story to click..but next moment she was all gone, until I saw her again coming toward the road..

_MG_0096

#3- is the image which got blurred and then i took this shot half hanging off the bus window..may be she saw me :P....

In to the Wild - My First Tiger Encounter


so she gave me that look..and
#4- ...crossed the road slowly.. I am actually very proud of this image. hanging in a corner in a small safari bass full of more than 40 people, and all I had was an 18-200 to stick out, before this I was really cursing to come to a wildlife trip with no 400 zoom and better body because my 450 could hardly sample 2 shots a second.

_MG_0100

#5 - I had to get down.. as I was hanging on a small window on the left side, so I quickly got down.. we are 10 feet away from each other. no I wasn't alone. few other guys got down as well then. But she was peaceful.

_MG_0101

#6 - She kept walking ahead in the grass.. ...don't think she cared much about any of us, and well why should she?

_MG_0102

#7- and then she was near those bushes when we spotted a bison I thought she's gonna hunt..umm. may be..

_MG_0103


#8- But she kept walking..

_MG_0105

#9- Until we lost her sight...

_MG_0106

What an experience of this sort, does to you?... leave you wanting for more?..
I really don't know, but I am up for few more trip in to the wild.

P.S. I am no longer cursing my 18-200mm. :P its meant for BIG CATS and WILD BOARS.

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20 comments

  1. Hats off brave lady...... for getting down and taking those beautiful shots ...

    Cheers
    Sameer

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  2. Good to see all the pictures, was like a film in slow motion!

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  3. Its way rare and out of luck we happen to see these beauties in real life and in their real environment. This tigress looks so fearless! and you said you got down of the bus to get her picture?? oh my that is courageous for sure.

    I happened to be lucky on 31st of may 2008. My first and last spotting as of date! This is when we where transiting from Nagarhole to Kabini.. we where on the way to an interior forest dept. rest house where we where supposed to stay. The entire episode happened as if it was a TV soap and that we had just tuned into it!

    We happen to hitch a ride on the dept. jeep. On the promising day of 31st we got into the jeep and Jay Mohan (Jeep Driver)said "if you are luck i will show you the tiger, as the route we are taking is quite used by the big cats". Once the jeep was motile Jay Mohan started telling a story/incident on how he happened to see a tiger 15 days back and that a kid had spotted it even before he or any others could. It was a 30 degree climb and suddenly the jeep stopped and we could see only the treetops and not the road in front due to the angle we had stopped. The road was dark. Jay switched off the lights and said there is a tiger!!! we where like "don't joke ok". He was trying to listen something and after few seconds he started the engine and slowly we came to a flat road and we see a tiger walking just next to us 3 meters away. No one spoke! the tiger turned back looked at us and again started walking we where slowing down to let the tiger crossing the path. We saw him passing the path in front of us comes towards our right side, goes and stands behind a tree and started staring at us! He looked cool. Then he got into the bushes and our jeep started rolling towards the destination.

    Just around 500mts again the jeep stopped and Jay say's we are here!!! We where like did we see this tiger just walkable distance from the place we are staying??!!!

    The incident was unexpected and was just enough for not to complain my fate of not seeing a tiger!

    Pic: http://picasaweb.google.co.in/madhukar.br/Personal?authkey=Gv1sRgCN7mvOS4pPOsYQ#5512325606657956658

    I did not have a camera ready and was too exited to see the big cat and even think of clicking. This is the only pic i got by the end stage of all that had happened.

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  4. wonderful experience Madhukar and extremely wild too.. pic looks scary at the first look :P no wonder wildlife is so exciting.. and once people go wild they never come back.. :P
    thanks for sharing it :) hope to see another one soon.. :)))

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  5. It must be a truly hair raising and shutter happy experience!!!

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  6. Thanks lakshmi.
    it was great fun shooting this beauty,specially since its no second chance kinda experiece,I doubt if the sight did last any more than 5-7 minutes..A lot many of us came back with out any images .. so some shutters bound to be extra happy :P ;-)

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  7. Awesome ones!! Actually, i made it to Bandipur this july, went through the forest in those 45 minute trips, worth Rs95. That trip was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. The only thing i saw wild was a herd of wild buffaloes and then an elephant which was tightly knotted on to a tree. Great pics & i feel proud to have visited the same forest recently, though i missed out on a beautiful beast like this. Actually go through this link, it has those photos from my trip, which was to Ooty-Mysore & en route, Bandipur National Park. http://nkr4068.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-camera-speaks.html

    Do view & comment :)

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  8. @nkr4068 - Thanks for visiting and appreciating.. yes, I understand, its pure luck sometime to spot these big CATS in Bandipur kinda forest, which is deep and too thick to sight even its just few meters to you. and then you got to be more lucky to click at the right moment as well.
    there were many from our group, who came back with no image at all, but still were happy and giggling finally sighting the queen of the jungle.. include me..:P
    all the best to you.. hope you see it soon.. its charming and one hell of an experience. :)

    Keep visiting.

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  9. Nice. It's always a gr8 experience to see the majestic animal in the wild. But u shouldn't be getting out of the vehicle (an inviolable rule of wildlife lovers) as it sets a bad precedent. Read about my tiger experiences here - http://mybioscope.blogspot.com/search/label/Tigers

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  10. @The Legend Returns - I understand your sentiments.. sometime its a huge need. atleast 10 people were out by then, so i dint find it harmful to get down.. and funniest part was, our vehicle broke down just after the incident, and we had to get out of the jungle walking for 20 minutes.. so exceptions are always there. but yes I do appreciate your concerns.. noted. :)

    Your blog - checking..

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  11. Yeah I know exceptions are there...it had happened with us in Ranthambhore and we had to get out to push the vehicle! Luckily there was no carnivore around :) I am following your blog...looking forward to more pictures and will take tips on Bandipur from you :)

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  12. :-) sure, anytime..
    thanks for following..have a good day.

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  13. Excellent essay
    I really loved it

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