My Favourite Things!
Five award-winning wildlife photographers present the one image of theirs that finds place in their hearts as a favourite.
“The Black-and-rufous Flycatcher is a bird endemic to the central and southern Western Ghats and closely associated with the densely wooded forest patches of shola / grassland mosaic ecosystems. This male was photographed in Bombay Shola, a small forest in the busy hill station of Kodaikanal, where I spent my childhood. I am still adjusting to using a long lens and this is one of the first pictures that it has produced that does some justice to a beautiful, yet secretive bird.”
Photo: Ian Lockwood.
Black-and-rufous Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa
Location: Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Camera: Nikon D800, Lens: Nikon 600 mm. f/4 (mounted on a tripod), Shutter speed: 1/160, Aperture: f/5, ISO 1600, Focal length: 600 mm. Image taken: January 3, 2016; 11:43 a.m.
“Locally known as khur or ghorkhar, Indian wild asses share their habitat during the day with shepherds, trespassing villagers, saltpan workers, and farmers, and at night, with watchmen engaged to protect the crops in the fields adjacent to the Little Rann of Kutchh. As people do not harm them, they have become fearless to a certain extent and it is possible to spend hours with them as long as their distance of flight is respected. Tourists have learnt in recent years not to chase them in vehicles, but to stop and watch them on foot. It’s rewarding to be able to look at wild species from such close quarters. This lucky shot was taken during a long observation period among a group of khur bachelors. It is not digitally composed or manipulated. For a brief moment, it looked as if the two individuals were holders of a single head. We got just this one photograph.”
Photo: Gertrud and Helmut Denzau.
Indian wild ass Equus hemionus khur
Location: Little Rann of Kutchh, Gujarat
Camera: Nikon F3, Lens: Nikkor 8.0/800 IF-ED, Shutter speed: not recorded, Aperture: f/8, ISO 64, Focal length: 800 mm. Image taken: December 21, 1985; Morning hours
“Primates are always fascinating. One cannot help but associate human emotions to them. The male stump-tailed macaque in this photograph was sitting on the forest floor and watching the movements of the alpha male and the dominant female, just so that he could possibly sneak away with the dominant female and mate with her while the alpha was distracted. The play of light and the emotion on the face really captures the moment.”
Photo: Kalyan Varma.
Stump-tailed macaque Macaca arctoides
Location: Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, Assam
Camera: Nikon D4, Lens: 200-400 mm., Shutter speed: 1/100 Aperture: f/4, ISO 800 Image taken: March 2, 2016
“For the last three years, I have been wading through tiny streams in the Western Ghats to document the life cycle of the elusive purple frog. It is extremely difficult to photograph it mating because the frog emerges from the ground only for about two weeks during the monsoon. This photograph was taken during the wee hours of the morning, when slight thunder and pre-monsoon showers had begun. The frog started calling from its underground burrow when the thundershowers began and then slowly emerged from the mud. It is still not known to science how the frogs are able to time their emergence with the pre-monsoon showers. We waited 24 days just to capture this one image for our forthcoming film The Secret Lives of Frogs, in which we hope to unravel such unusual nuggets of behaviour of these fascinating creatures.”
Photo: Vijay Bedi.
Purple frog Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
Location: Western Ghats
Camera: Canon EOS 6D, Lens: Canon EF 100 mm. f/2.8L Macro IS USM, Shutter speed: 1/160 sec., Aperture: f/16, ISO 1600, Focal length: 100 mm. Image taken: June 14, 2015; 10:49 p.m.
Inspired by Gerald Durrell and Baywatch, this image is one of the 10 or so that I like most. We knew it was scorpion breeding season and after a bit of ‘hunting’, we found one with babies under a rock. A friend held two flashes while I wrestled with the camera and tripod to get a good shot of our model. I took several photographs before going to “1:1” (magnification) to get a close up. I like this shot more than the ‘full body’ ones.
Photo: Ashok Captain.
Indian red scorpion Hottentotta tamulus
Location: Jambe Environmental Farm, Marunji village, Pune
Camera: Nikon F 801S, Lens: Nikon Micro Nikkor 105 mm. AF, Shutter speed: 1/60 sec, Aperture: f/22, ISO Fuji Velvia slide film 50 shot at 40, Focal length: 105 mm.
First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXVI No. 2, April 2016.