Ranthambore National Park, India - 2019
I have spent over 200 hours in the sweltering heat of Ranthambore, India over the last few years looking for tigers in places offering the chance of a big photograph. It is exhausting work and can often yield nothing as the backgrounds tend to be fairly messy. Tigers are rare and clean images of tigers even rarer. Our biggest moment came in 2019 when we found “tiger 57” shading from the sun in a cave. I am in awe of the eyesight of my guide - Vipul Jain - I would never have spotted this big cat.
There was so much to be thankful for - the cave was not just accessible by jeep, it was also elevated, which allowed my lens to be just below the tiger’s eye. More importantly, the tiger’s face caught just enough light from the front of the cave for my camera settings to be generous and the background to be dark. If this handsome adult male tiger was a foot further back in the cave, there would have been no shot. I knew immediately that an opportunity had availed itself and I do remember staying very calm and focused.
This was taken in the same five-minute window as the front cover of my new book, but by including the important body stripes to the left of the head, it was the wrong shape for a cover. It is, however, a very powerful portrait.
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