Bengal Tigers, Indian Rhinos a bunch of great people travel India for Wildlife Photography!
Arriving from Swissyland in Delhi with Carole Deschuymere after midnight, 1:00am, our first “Incredible India” surprise was… waiting in a queue to get our passports checked – go with the flow! The waiting was dragged to one and half hour!! Pffff… great start indeed, never mind to this experience, we spent each other company to chat or for synchronised yawning. Kaziranga National Park was still far away from us! Finally through passport look & look, finger prints & prints, stamp here and there, grabbing fast our belongings, running out of airport. Stopped by a heatwave, which hit us right into our face – uffff, accompanied by quite a few people, which wanted to help us to carry our bags to a taxi. Well, my “donkey” rolls on wheels, Carole’s too. So no need for all these nice friendly helpers! Arrived in our hotel, taking fast a shower and a very fast sleep until the alarm woke us up after 2.5 hours sleep. 6:30am meeting our “party – go with the flow” at the breakfast table 😀
Our table got filled up quickly. Jeske & Jan van der Greef were already there. Irina & Evgeny Garhskov were shortly after us. Breakfast was on, yeah, after the long wait at the the customs, very fast sleep our tummy got something to work with. After our check out from the hotel, our first adventures journey for Wildlife Photography to the Kaziranga National Park could start. Photographing Bengal Tigers, Indian rhinos and more, with a bunch of great people.
Asian Elephant Calf with mom. FujiFilm X-T2; XF 100-400mm & 1.4xTC
First stop Assam, visiting the famous Kaziranga National Park
a World Heritage Site, habitat to the endangered Indian Rhinoceros, Bengal Tigers and the famous Jungle fowl. What you do not know the Jungle fowl? Just wait and see what Jan has accomplished with this “chicken of the jungle”. The Jungle fowl was one of the wildlife of Jan’s wishlist to photograph, besides Bengal Tigers, of course. Well, he was able to do the trick for this jungle fowl after many hours searching, waiting, sweating the reward was indeed fabulous. (Wildlife Photography is not just to go out and push a button! It needs also patience.) Not only that Jan was able to capture this very shy bird the way he wanted, also for me. Second or third day, Jan’s jeep got a little bit far behind. Never mind, we knew that they saw something interesting. When they finally reached us again, Jan showed me 2 thumbs up, big smile from ear to ear, as well Jeske his wife, Evgeny and Irina. All 4 passengers glowing of happiness. This was one of my greatest rewards on this trip. With their happy faces I knew that all was sitting perfect. Most needed, that the jungle fowl will be patient enough, to dare to be a photo model and as dessert that beloved light, we Photographers dream of. Ooooh don’t we all Wildlife Photographers (and Landscape Photographers) want to have THAT light? Yes pleaaasssse 🙂
Indian Rhino crossing the road. FujiFilm X-T2; XF 100-400mm & 1.4x TC
Kaziranga National Park is one of the most beautiful and Zen parks I have seen in India. We came across so many wildlife to photograph, especially Indian rhinos – one horned rhinoceros. Sadly the “forgotten dinosaurs” are highly endangered animals. They are as big as a jeep and quite aggressive. No messing with “forgotten dinosaurs”! We even were able to see and photograph Bengal Tigers due to our stay in Kaziranga National Park. Tigers in Kaziranga are very shy, you get a glimpse of them, one two seconds later the tiger is gone in the high elephant grass. We were once lucky, when a tiger came out of the elephant grass walking along a lake of many. A beautiful setting for a landscape photograph, huuuuh, combined with Wildlife, of course. Behind the tiger was an Indian rhino mom with calf. Both did not care much about the tiger! A few meters further the tiger passed another rhino taking it’s beauty mud bath at the edge of the lake. That rhino did not even move its head around when “his majesty” passed by! Quite ignorant, or just Zen?
Indian Rhino & Egret. FujiFilm X-T2; 100-400mm & 1.4x TC
Zen, indeed it was, also our beautiful lodge, with their own rice fields. The chalets on poles are built around the rice fields, everyone has their own balcony to enjoy the view. I had a few photographic assignments for Assam. One was to take images of a custom made bag from the new Swiss Brand Luc8k. In the afternoon break I took a custom leather bag to photograph in the rice fields. Something different than wildlife photography! I knew that some of our party were watching me. There we go, their afternoon entertainment got delivered. Me balancing between the rice fields! Actually it is not easy to walk on 15-20cm thin paths between rice fields. They are muddy, give in quite a lot when you step on them, simply you sink in…etc. One composition I liked very much, this required that I had to balance on a thin path to the other side of a rice field to place the leather bag. The way over was a balance act. I sunk into the path here and there, using my arms to balance, just don’t drop the bag into the rice field > water level knee deep & deep mud!! On my way back to my camera, it happened. My balancing was not as it should have been, maybe my arms were a tad to much air rowing, never did ballet, the mud gave in, I landed in a rice field. Lucky enough I was able to prevent the major full body touch down into the mud to flatten some rice plants. Standing there in the knee-deep water, I was quite sure that my “go with the flow” party have seen me. Indeed they did, the laughs and comments shortly after were on the dot. My red hiking shoes were hanging on the jeep during the afternoon drive to dry, which caused a little photographic fun at the ticket office of the park. While waiting for our guide to come back with the papers, students of the local school came over to our jeep. They asked me, if they can photograph me, my feet with socks up in the sun, as well of my shoes dangling on the jeep. You might find this picture somewhere in Facebook. If you find it, please send me the link. Thanks a lot 🙂
The time came faster as we liked to say Good Bye to Kaziranga National Park and Hello to Ranthambore National Park – Bengal Tiger Harbor