My Favourite Things!
Five award-winning wildlife photographers present the one image of their own that they call their ‘favourite’.
“This image represents to me the perfect natural world of our urban existence: the leopard walking next to us, unafraid and adapting to its environment which we humans are constantly changing. With planning and awareness, we can co-exist with wildlife, and we need to consider the needs of animals and the necessity of preserving our forests with every development decision we make.” – Steve Winter
In 1991, Steve Winter began shooting for National Geographic. Since then, he has covered many subjects for the magazine, including Cuba, Russia’s giant Kamchatka bears, Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley, and life along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy river. But much of his work has focused on India, and much of that on big cats, with stories on Kaziranga National Park, snow leopards, tigers, and most recently, leopards. He’s been named BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, BBC Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year, was two-time winner of Picture of the Year International’s Global Vision Award and won World Press Photo’s ‘Best Nature Story’ category in 2008 and 2014. He is co-author of the book ‘Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat’.
Photo: Steve Winter.
Indian leopard Panthera pardus fusca
Location: Sanjay Gandhi National Park (outskirts), Mumbai
Camera: Nikon D7100, Lens: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24 mm. f/3.5-4.5G ED, Shutter speed: 0.5 sec, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO 1600, Focal length: 10 mm.,
Image taken: June 10, 2014; 8.30 p.m.
“Meet the most dangerous creature on Earth and a deep water shark. Before you think about how dangerous it is to get close to both of them, think about the statistics – sharks kill around 30 people each year while humans kill over 100 million sharks annually. A creature that has been around for millions of years could be wiped out because of our greed. The biggest culprits are commercial fishing and bycatch. I cannot say that this image is my most favourite, but this is the kind of wildlife photograph that I want to take – one that provokes people to think.” – Dhritiman Mukherjee
Respected and loved, Dhritiman is admired for his dedication, perseverance and hard work. He has been bestowed with the RBS Earth Hero Award 2014 for inspiring people with his images towards conservation, the Carl Zeiss Conservation Award for his contribution to wildlife conservation through photography, as well as many other national and international photography awards.
Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee.
Shark – Order: Squaliformes
Location: Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka
Camera: Nikon D7000, Lens: Nikon 10-17 mm. f/3.5-4.5, Shutter speed: 1/400 sec., Aperture: f/5.6, ISO 280, Focal length: 11 mm.
Image taken: April 05, 2014; 10.51 a.m.
“What struck me about this image was definitely the play of light and shadow. While both elephants are seemingly walking together, the setting sun illuminated only the adult, creating a stark contrast between the two animals!” – Sandesh Kadur
Through the use of images, both still and video, Sandesh exposes the need for conservation and encourages protection of the world’s biodiversity. His work has garnered many top awards including the CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year, Nature’s Best Award, International Conservation Photographer Award, and has twice been nominated for a Green Oscar at Wildscreen. In 2013, he was recognised by National Geographic Society as an Emerging Explorer and also received the North American Nature Photographers (NANPA) Vision Award. A few years ago, he founded Felis Creations – a media and visual arts company that focuses on creating content that inspires conservation.
Photo: Sandesh Kadur.
Asian elephant Elephas maximus
Location: Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, Lens: Canon 300-800 mm., Shutter speed: 1/640 sec., Aperture: f/5.6, ISO 400, Focal length: 466 mm.
Image taken: December 21, 2010; 4.19 p.m.
“One of my favourite tiger images! It was a memorable experience in the Bijrani zone of the Jim Corbett National Park. I have photographed tigers in other central Indian forests, but a sighting in India’s first tiger reserve is always special. The striped cat emerged out of the bushes to cross the river bed where a group of chital stood. The deer looked but did not emit any alarm calls or bolt. The cat kept walking and then suddenly it looked up directly at the prey. It was thrilling to capture predator and prey in the same frame. The tiger did move on… not really interested in hunting that day.” – Rathika Ramasamy
A computer engineer, Rathika was drawn towards photography as a career in 2003 after a visit to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Since then, she has been passionate about birds and specialises in bird photography.
Photo: Rathika Ramasamy.
Royal Bengal tiger Panthera tigris tigris and chital Axis axis
Location: Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Camera: Nikon D4S, Lens: Nikon 80-400 mm., f/4.5-5.6G VR AF-S, Shutter speed: 1/200 sec., Aperture: f/6.3, ISO 2500, Focal length: 400 mm.
Image taken: October 30, 2015, 5.19 p.m.
“The Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, is a special place for me. Both, during my research days and subsequent photography trips, I have always witnessed unique natural history moments here. This picture shows one such rarest of rare moments. It captures a small Indian civet ferrying its young one across an open forest glade. Sighting a civet during the day is itself rare... getting to photograph its breeding behaviour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was not only lucky to witness it, but also able to share it with others through this image – the main motive of my photography.” – Nayan Khanolkar
A naturalist-photographer, Nayan has worked as a research fellow with the Bombay Natural History Society, and has studied the wintering ecology of raptors in Bharatpur. He currently works as a lecturer, but his passion lies in nature photography.
Small Indian civet Viverricula indica
Location: Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur
Camera: Nikon D200, Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500 mm., F/4G ED VR, Shutter speed: 1/1250 sec., Aperture: f/4.0, ISO 200, Focal length: 500 mm.
Image taken: June 21, 2006, 9.17 a.m.
First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXVI No. 6, June 2016.