There is nothing that compares to seeing a tiger in the wild – no, not even any of the African big cats! Their impressive size and power is only matched by their stunning beauty. And given that there are so few of them left in the wild it is also an overwhelming privilege to sit so close to one, especially when it makes eye contact without showing any fear whatsoever.
I photographed this tiger, known as the Nigha Nallah male, in Bandhavgarh National Park in central India. I visited during the height of the dry season in May 2013. It was absurdely hot, and definitely not comfortable. But the tigers’ behaviour is much more predictable during this time of the year – they just love to come down to the waterholes for a drink and a soak before sunset.
While I did have some nice sightings of the tigers, they did not really cooperate with me photographically. They showed up in the shadiest and darkest spots when there was already little light to work with. The places where they chose to “pose” were not too inspiring either. So the level of my images is not what I was hoping for. But at the end of the day who cares about that? They are some of the most unforgettable moments I have witnessed, not to mention a childhood dream fulfilled. Setting off to see animals with the sole purpose of good photography will inevitably lead to disappointment, and sometimes we forget to simply live and enjoy the special moment. I hope that you too will still enjoy this moment despite my shortcomings in capturing it.
Techs: Canon 7D | Canon 300 2.8 IS II | f2.8 | 1/250s | ISO 800