A day with the Giants of kabini may 2006

Asian Elephant Male Tusker - Kabini

Asian Elephant Male Tusker - Kabini

Hi everyone, well this weekend on the 13th May 2006 afternoon I reached the kabini jungle lodges resort, the weather seemed very nice and hot till late afternoon but then all of a sudden some dark clouds cooled the temperatures with a quick shower for about half an hour. I prayed for the rains to be stopped so that my evening shoot is not messed completely, and Walla my prays were answered, well the light was diffused and gorgeous, perfect for beautiful images, just needed some good subjects to shoot now. With rains happening so often sightings can be drastically reduced and you need emperors luck to get some good sightings. It was time for the evening safari and I hopped in the gypsy for some action. As we entered the jungle every breath was rejuvenating as the smells and sounds of the jungle were tingling my very senses, it was as if I was in a peaceful trance refreshing my city stressed body and mind. I decided to try my luck at the backwaters for some tuskers, the picturesque backdrop of the kabini backwaters give some very nice opportunities for photography and one has the chances of getting the gentle giants with perfect clear background. We just entered the backwaters and I don’t believe this there he was a majestic and good-sized tusker walking towards me with a low sounding grumble as if to greet me to his kingdom, well I was trilled by his presence. I got some good shots with my 300 mm lens mounted on my newly acquired Nikon d200 and then I had to shoot with a 28-105, cause this guy was really cool and walking peacefully quite close to my vehicle, I just couldn’t believe how wonderful this creature was with so much power packed that he can pull out a tree, but so gentle and calm that he moved around without troubling a soul. The combination of diffused light with a good background and a great subject with noticeably nice tusks was giving me some great shots and with the d200s 5 frames per second I had already shot loads of images perhaps some would say I was shooting a movie rather than still, I took control over the fast frame phobia and started shooting a little reserved so I don’t run out of the required space and battery power at a critical point, I followed the big guy in the jeep of course although at the point I would have loved to take a stroll behind the giant. Now I started feeling lucky when this guy started reaching out for the leaves that were high up in the trees, with all the greenery around this guy gave me the opportunity to take some good shots by stretching his trunk while he was reaching to grab the leaves. Well he kept selecting his choicest leaves from high up and kept eating and I kept shooting, both of us seemed never tired at what we were doing and I was just grabbing those precious moments in my memory, including in my lexar CF memory. Then he went inside the thicket and I had to say goodbye, as my 4 by 4 was not as capable as his. Then I returned in search for perhaps another creature that might share some moments of his secret life with me. Along the way apart from the usual cheetals I saw an elephant herd with some calf’s, the light was very low, but digital was giving me the opportunity to shoot and take my chances in a situation where I would normally have stopped shooting when I used to shoot with film. Well then it was time to leave back to the resort, I left content as I had got more than I expected especially after the rains and with the tusker giving me some great moments to shoot. After a nice dinner and a few stories around the dinner table it was time to sleep, I was so tired after all the travel from bangalore, but first I had to charge my camera battery for the morning shoot, well all good things comes with some bad ones that is true with digital as well. After a good sound sleep, one that I rarely get in the city, it was time for the morning safari. We entered the forest and were heading to the backwaters when we got a message on the wireless that there was a leopard sighting in the area nearby, well what next we headed straight towards the place, but instead of the leopard which had already vanished in the bush I saw other jeeps returning, some filled with the noisy picnickers the lucky ones who had seen the leopard, I could make out by their faces, their smiles could tell of their morning treat making me jealous, some of them not even aware how rare it is to see a leopard well what can I say, I waited for some time in hope of a glimpse, but it was not for me that morning, then I saw two tuskers crossing the road in the distant and rushed towards them but they were in a hurry although I managed to get a shot not so good though. They disappeared in the bush and I headed back to my planned destination the backwaters.

Elephants Drinking Kabini

Elephants Drinking Kabini

On the way I got some gaur shots and there was this huge gaur grazing inside the bush I waited for him to come out and he did, man this guy was huge may be not the best specimen but huge and he was not at all bothered with me around although I would have loved to see him raise his head at least once in the open so I could get a good shot. I was continuously looking through my viewfinder just waiting ready for the gaur to look at me just for a second at least, and well he did once but when he did look at me there was this tree right in the middle of the frame just between the camera and the gaur, I don’t know how these trees always get in the frame when you don’t want them, man this is crazy perfect light perfect animal perfect tree right in the middle of the frame, then I whispered at the driver move to the left move move fast and the gypsy doesn’t move and you know what there is no driver Mr. driver has gone for a leak, well it cant get any better just perfect, well what can I say when you got to go you got to go cant wait that’s what the drivers expression was when he returned happily, any way had to shoot what ever I could from that place while the big gaur moved inside the bush. Well we headed to the backwaters but no luck this time there were no tuskers around, we searched the area around for an hour and then we got a tusker middle sized not very big just in his teens maybe, I took a couple of shots before he also vanished in the bush. On the way back to the resort I shot the crested serpent eagle that was quite friendly or perhaps busy cleaning and maintaining his wings. Beautiful bird it kept posing for me, vow as if on an assignment, it would definitely put to shame some of those models who don’t know how to pose. Well all-good things come to an end and before I knew my trip was over and I reached the resort. I had a quick shower and after my breakfast it was time for me to return to Bangalore of course with lots of good memories (around 6 gb Laughing ) and a weekend well spend.

Hope to return soon to recharge myself again. Hey btw thanx for reading so patiently.

Well as a last note cant post the images right now since the motherboard of my PC just gave up the damn thing wouldn’t boot, well will post as soon as my PC is up and running, sorry to keep you guys waiting.

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