It was a late evening of my first day of my first trip to Amboseli National Park. The evening trip was almost coming to an end and the driver of our safari vehicle started to head towards our tents. The setting Sun was spreading its last glow of the day over the landscape. Some of the wilder beasts started to take rest while zebras were busy grazing. And it was a feast to our eyes as well as to my camera
In my part of Southern India, this is the season for birds to build their nests. They have to complete their breeding activities and make the chicks fly before the Southwest monsoon commence. This bird is carrying a nesting material which is very beautiful and artistic
The Sun was just rising, and the mist around the village started to give way for the Sun rays. Thus the day just began for this tiny village, between Mysore and Bangalore.
It is a Huntsman Spider which are active only at night. They run very fast flushed to the ground. They live under tree barks or under stones and feed on ground dwelling insects. Some of the specimens are supposed to be poisonous as reported from the West. We have no literature on our spiders and I can’t guarantee its potency of poison. If mishandled, could bite and very rarely do they bite humans !!!!!!
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Its always a pleasure to watch Squirrels running around our homes chasing each other playfully. Sometimes we feel they are big menace to our garden eating away the fruits like Chikkus , Mangoes, Pomegranates and other such fruits. They invade our home also to crunch and munch the pillows and other cushion materials to collect the fibular stuff for their nests . What ever it be, they are cute little animals and every one of us would like to have them as pets by our side. They eat, fight, play, mate, build nests and procreate in our gardens. We have plenty of such Squirrels visit our garden everyday .. We feed them every afternoon. They know all the inmates in our home. Yet, they are too shy and will not let us take any decent photograph of them. They are always sensitive, playful and restless. I have tried photographing them several times with my camera mounted with 300mm, following them. But they never gave me a chance to make a decent image. It is their timid nature that makes them shun away from humans. Now that I made up my mind to shoot them without chasing. I decided to use 500mm tele with 1.4X converter resulting into 700mm. I mounted my camera on a tripod with a Heavy ball head to take up the load. Selected a place where they would frequent often. Sat at a distance away from their circle of fear, for about 45 minutes. It finally turned up to the spot. It started to pick up the grass tips from the lawn and started to eat, giving me a chance to take the shots. Though it was moving its head here and there, occasionally it gave me a steady pose. But the munching they never stopped. It was so fast for my shutter to arrest. The light was very low and I had to push my ISO to 800., Shutter @1/250 and aperture @ f/7.1
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Shooting Butterflies is a tricky affair especially in tropical countries. The opportunity they provide for a photographer is very brief. One has to be very much alert and observant. One must know their habits and food plants as well as the plants where they prefer to roost.
It is the migration time for butterflies and they are in the last leg of their migration in my part of India. Yesterday evening I was searching for such rooting butterflies in my garden ( designed to attract butterflies). And I found this beautiful “Lime Butterfly” which was fluttering here and there to find a suitable place to settle for the night. After I ensured its settlement I approached it in a very slow phased manner. First, I calculated the working distance by moving the camera to and fro and this gave me a hint as where to place my tripod. Then I mounted my Canon with 100mm Macro lens on the tripod with 580 Ex flash connected through an off the camera chord. Started to shoot making experiments with flash, giving importance to its texture.
As the shot was done after sunset by about 7 PM the background was rendered dark. I decided to continue my shooting tomorrow morning also.
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I got up very early morning by about 5 am and visited the place where it was roosting yesterday. I was so lucky to find it there and waited for the sun to rise up to illuminate the background. I balanced the ambient light with my flash to take the above shot. The camera setting was the same as yesterday and in addition I used a cable release to trigger the shutter as the shutter speed was very low. The colors of the butterfly in both the images do differ from each other as they are lit by different sources.
Lime Butterflies are also known as Lemon butterfly, Citrus Butterfly, Lime swallowtail and Chequered Swallowtail. Their favorite plants are Curry-leaf, Citrus, Radish etc.,
Salt Licks are the favorite spots for any animal living in the jungles. These spots contain deposits of salts/minerals such as Sodium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc and Phosphorous etc., which are essential for their growth and to keep themselvesin good health. These animals discover these spots intuitively and visit often whenever there is a need in their bodies.
We happened to witness this female elephant in an early morning at Bandipur, about a few months ago. It was so busy at its task and was least bothered about our presence. We spent around one hour with this animal, taking numerous shots of its varied behavior.
It first loosens the mud with its foot and then carefully sucks the mud containing the salts/minerals using its trunk. It sends the mud into its mouth by pushing the air through the trunk. It was so interesting to see its act as it was creating a smoke around its mouth whenever it was pushing the mud into its mouth.
Shot Using Canon 1Ds Mark III mounted with 70-200 lens.
This is a beautiful moth I photographed in my garden yesterday. Its presence was discovered by my daughter Vaishnavi, who urged me to take this shot. This moth was about 2 1/2 inches long and was lying on a leaf, quite camouflaged deep inside dwarf palm tree plants.
I later identified the species with the help of my close friend Mr.Jayaram, who is also a Macro Photographer and an expert taxonomist.
The moth is a common Hawk / Sphinx Moth and its scientific name is Daphnis nerii and its common name is ” Oleander Moth”. This particular specimen probably, just emerged. Its favorite food plant is ” Nerium Oleander”. In our native language ” Tamil ” we call this plant as “ARALI”. The flowers of this plant are regarded as having high spiritual significance in the temples.
Moths are Insects and they are active during nights. It gets easily attracted by lights and it is interesting to see them circling the lights during nights. Most of them are nocturnal. But a few species are diurnal and crepuscular.
Like bird watching, watching Butterflies and Moths is known as butterflying and mothing.
Taken with Canon 1Ds Mark III with canon 100mm Macro. Used 580Ex flash with an off shoe camera cord.
Daroji wild life sanctuary has been my favorite place for seeing and photographing Indian Sloth Bears.. Daroji sanctuary is about 364 Km from Bangalore, via Chitradurga, Hospet and further Kamalapur. We stayed at Karnataka government’s tourist guesthouse ( KSTDC’s Mayur Bhuvaneshwari ) at Kamalapura. This is quite a comfortable place to stay and just 12 Km for Daroji.
Daroji was declared as a Wild life Sanctuary during October 1994. We owe so much to the persons who identified the potential of this place and took steps to protect the Indian sloth Bears.
The sanctuary expands for about 55.87 square kilometers consisting of small hillocks amidst scrub forest. Natural caves found in these hillocks provide comfortable stay for the bears.
This shot was made during March, 2007, late in the evening, using Canon 1Ds Mark 1 with 300mm f/4 lens. Shutter @ 1/125, Aperture @f/8 at ISO 320.
Wild boars are common in the periphery of forests and jungles. These animals prefer to live closer to villages and agricultural lands. It used to invade cultivated lands such as sugar cane fields etc.,These wild animals are well known for their notorious behavior of damaging the crops . But I shot this image in a Daroji Sloth Bear sanctuary. Daroji is about 15 K.M from HAMPI town, which was once the capital of Vijayanagar Empire.
Daroji is a rocky terrain and very hot. The summer is simply unbearable. The rock-strewn hillocks that stretch between Daroji of Sandur taluk and Ramasagar of Hospet Taluk in Bellary district have been the abode of Indian Sloth Bears since ages. In October 1994, the government of ofKarnataka declared 5,587.30 hectares of Bilikallu reserve forest as Daroji Bear Sanctuary.
I took this image on March 2007. I used canon 1Ds Mark I (11.8 MP) camera with 300mm f/4 lens mounted. ISO as 200, Shutter at 1/250 and aperture at f/8.