Photos of tigers

Tour dates: 18 Feb to 6 Mar 2005.
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Diary | Tigers | Other animals | Birds | Forts | Taj Mahal and Khajuraho | People


In this park one is driven around in a large open truck, rather like an old-fashioned charabanc.
In the early morning it is one of life's colder experiences.


During the wait while your papers are checked there are plenty of hat sellers in action.
The balaclavas are probably the best buy.


We had four game drives in two days without seeing more than paw prints.
The number of tigers in the park is low, probably due to poaching. A little more attention to the welfare of tigers and less of the paperwork would help a lot!

[See a comment on Sariska Tiger Reserve, which lies between Ranthambore and Delhi]
"Most visitors do not realise their quest for a glimpse of the animal is doomed. 'No tigers? We had no idea,' said a group of French tourists as they climbed into open-backed vehicles for an afternoon safari."   Nos amis à Kanha peut-être? Quel dommage! - Gordon

Kanha National Park

Here the standard vehicle is a 4wd Maruti Gypsy.
Again we made four game drives each: effectively a total of 12 game drives for our party, since we travelled in 3 Gypsys.


Here we finally got lucky. There was a tiger in the bushes near a lower road. Our drivers charged round to an upper road and waited. After we saw the tiger walking near the road, our driver judged well where it would cross the road.

The tiger ignored us and strode out into the road.

A beautiful creature. A female tiger we were told.

Still ignoring us, she strode into the undergrowth.
          For a photo sequence, click here.


Leaving nothing but a paw print.
(I lie - this photo was taken elsewhere)


A glimpse of a tiger at Bandhavgarh

Our first morning there we saw a mass of parked vehicles. [01 March]
Quite close to the road there was a tiger, peacefully resting.


Up came an elephant, which went round the other side of the tiger and began shaking the bushes.
The tiger made off, on a direction sloping away from the road.


The Tiger Show - at Bandhavgarh

After your early morning game drive you go to a central point. If they have found a tiger in a place where an elephant can reach it, you may collect a ticket giving you a place in the queue to see the tiger.

You go to the nearest road point to the tiger and wait your turn.
An elephant will collect four people at a time and ferry them in search of the tiger.

If you find a tiger you will be billed 600rupees per person.
In most cases you will get a few seconds to see/photograph from each side of the elephant.

Here a group sets off on March 1st to visit a tiger.
We were sitting waiting. We were the last on the list and we expected the tiger to make off before it came to our turn.

Sure enough, as we set off, our mahout got a radio message to say the tiger had gone.
We searched for ages: our only consolation seemed that we would have a nice long elephant ride without anything to pay! (Not really what we wanted)


The Lunchtime tiger

Suddenly there he was. A young tiger fleeing up the hill on our left.

I fired off these few frames, hoping they would be usable.

...and as you can see they were!


The shooting starts

We circled round thicker cover, looking for the tiger.
And there it was, resting under a bush.

I knew I should be on manual focus and I knew I should be giving extra exposure - especially as this was slide film and exposure-sensitive.

But at any moment the tiger could flee.

Many thanks for scanners and image enhancement software!

As you can see, I kept firing away.

Later I scanned the images. Then lightened and sharpened them.

And we can see the changing expressions on the tiger's face!


The disaster 02 March

I could scarcely believe our good luck when we had a tiger trapped in a patch of grass. Again our driver managed to get to the front row as a park official moved vehicles back to let the tiger escape.

I prepared the camera carefully. I stood back and high, ready to shoot over the heads of others in the vehicle. I tried to guess how people might move when the tiger came out....

...and I got this crap photo! Full of camera-shake.

And this one!

Managed to hold this one.

Then got another fuzz!
All I can assume is that excited people were making the Gypsy dance on its suspension.

A few minutes later the tiger reappeared walking away up a fire break.
(Can you see it one the far right?)

It headed up towards the distant Cheetal.

It then crossed past the following elephant and headed off behind the grass.


The final (rather dopey) tiger

By our last day several people in the group still lacked a good view of a tiger. So we delayed the start of our journey north, so we could have one last game drive. Happily the Tiger Show worked and we all got a very close view of a tigress dozing in cover. The elephant was so close to the tiger it was possible to get ones own feet in the photo!

We were given a few seconds longer photographic time than I expected.

So, if I had known that, I should have done some manual focussing.

And I should have gone for a general view
instead of repeatedly trying to show the tiger's face.


My favourite photo

The tigress crossing the road at Kanha.


Diary | Tigers | Other animals | Birds | Forts | Taj Mahal and Khajuraho | People

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