The Gentle Giant

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Elephants have been called gentle giants, primarily because of their graceful demeanour and large size. I’ve had the good fortune to sight, spend time and observe various behaviour of elephants at late Mark Davidar’s (a dear friend and inspiration) home.

img_2482Of the many elephants that frequented Mark’s home, was a tusker who Mark fondly called Rivaldo. He would visit daily to quench his thirst at the waterhole near the house but there was always the more enticing idea of being fed a fruit or two from Mark’s hands.

ele_relaxed_img_7843Though he would come quite close to the verandah where Mark and I would be sitting, he maintained caution whenever there were a few more people around. To see a wild elephant from such close quarters was an exhilarating experience.

On occasions, he would playfully chase away other visiting elephants and wild boar lest they steal his tidbit. And there were times he would have friendly interactions with other elephants especially males.

 

More stories about these gentle giants from home and around in future posts. elephant_comm_sjk_3501

The Rat-tled Snakes

 

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Rat Snakes in Combat | ISO 800, f8, Aperture Priority, Benro GH II mounted on a Manfrotto tripod

One evening when I stepped out for my usual rounds of the property (Forest Hills Farm and Guesthouse), I could hear something rustling within the fallen bamboo leaves towards one corner. As the combating duo made their way inwards, I followed them for an hour and a half witnessing this ritual from far and close quarters. One of the most difficult shoots too. There were very few moments when these two would actually stay still. This one picture was worth the wait.

 

The Showstopper

On 1st Jan, I landed in the front seat of the safari van for my maiden safari of the year.

As the vehicle turned onto the track leading to the closest waterhole, our driver Siddhu suddenly stopped the van and loudly whispered “Kittu Sir! Kittu Sir! Leopard!! Leopard!!” Having slept in the wee hours of morning after welcoming New Year 2016, I was fast asleep. I woke up with a start wondering what was going on! He then thrusts the camera on me and points towards the leopard.

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Leopard at dusk | Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

In my groggy state, I focused and fired away! Thankfully the leopard was stood still, contemplating his next move. A minute or less later, he decided to walk beside the track.  Disinterested as he was with our presence, he walked casually into the bushes and disappeared. Everybody in the van rejoiced… a fantastic beginning to the year!

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The Showstopper

Two things here, the image was shot with the same settings applied at the birding hide earlier that morning. Exposure -1.3 (yikes!) and ISO 400 (thank god!). Lesser ISO resulted in retaining the details and hardly any noise in the image.