In late April/early May I completed two back-to-back Indian trips. The first being our Tigers of Bandhavgarh Safari Holiday. I always look forward to our annual trip to photograph tigers & this year was no different, apart from the fact that I was more excited than usual.
We took a break from Bandhavgarh in 2016, so I couldn’t wait to get back there. I can honestly say that I have never been more excited about going back to what I consider to be my second home.
We have been visiting the park for 7 years now & have gotten to know its residents very well. Along with the drivers & guides who have become our friends, we have mourned the loss of favourite tigers & celebrated the birth of new cubs.
In the beginning of May 2017, it was time for us to make our second attempt to capture images of the impressive Bengal Tigers of India, when I write second attempt it’s because Linda – my wife – & I, had previously been to Bardia National Park in Nepal for the very same reason, but, because the tigers in Nepal are much wilder, it was difficult to get as close to them as we would like.
So, on this occasion, we joined NaturesLens on a trip to Bandhavgarh National Park in India. Bandhavgarh is one of the best tiger reserves in the world, with the highest population of Bengal Tigers, so the odds seemed good & the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of India Photography Holiday looked to tick all the boxes of what we hoped to achieve.
We met with Pui Hang & David of NaturesLens in New Delhi airport, also with them were Jayne & Simon, two guests from the UK, meaning that we had a nice little group of 6 persons in total.
The flight from New Delhi to Jabalpur is a relative short flight in a small plane. Getting the gear to fit in the overhead luggage compartment could have been a problem, but it turned out to be no problem at all, even David managed to persuade the cabin crew with a rather loud “IT WILL FIT” that his bag would fit, & it did!
After the flight & a drive, we arrived to Tala & our wonderful accommodation, which would be our base for the next 7 days. & a very nice base it was, large rooms, nice bathrooms, &, of course, a pool to cool off in.
My first visit to India was in April 2016, also with NaturesLens, & I fell in love with the place, we had some excellent tiger sightings in Tadoba, but let’s just say I came away with some ‘unfinished business’ so it didn’t take much persuading to book myself onto the Indian Wildlife Photography Holidays that NaturesLens had arranged for May 2017.
In the weeks before our trip there had been many posts on social media showing some incredible tiger sightings, so the anticipation grew, & Bandhavgarh didn’t disappoint. It has to be said, however, that nothing is guaranteed – we heard of a few people who had seen very little. Still, NaturesLens put everything in place to give their clients the absolute best opportunity, securing top-class drivers & guides. They, over our time in Bandhavgarh, became part of our ‘Team Tiger’ group.
When I refer to ‘sightings’, I mean ‘photographic opportunities’ not a shadow in the bush which is hardly distinguishable or a bum shot! When I say ‘photographic opportunity’, I mean time to capture an image of quality that meets my standards & that I would be happy for others to see. In total, over the week the group encountered 17 different tigers, some shared moments with numerous other folk & some exceptional exclusive moments with no one else around other than one Gypsy vehicle – just you & the tiger – those are moments to treasure.
This image is very much one shared with practically everyone else on safari. For several days Kankatti & her cubs visited the waterhole at pretty much the same time each day, so naturally, everybody gathered to witness this special event. We sat & we waited for over an hour in the blazing heat – about 45˚ – & then suddenly the sound of camera shutters. I couldn’t see anything to start with thanks to the beautiful growth of bamboo, but then the family appeared, walking around the waterhole & bathing in just the perfect spot.
As we mentioned earlier this week, we took clients who were participating in a NaturesLens Photography Holiday in India to two locations in India in late March; the first week was spent at Tadoba Tiger Reserve, whilst the second was spent in Nagarhole – Kabini, we also promised to share a series of photos from Jayne, here they are.
Some of the beautiful Bee Eaters that we took clients to photograph at a location near Mysore Continue reading →