As a tiger sinks its teeth into the neck of an unsuspecting spotted deer, a cloud of harriers swoop in from the sky, or a snow leopard prowls through the snow — these are the breathtaking moments every wildlife photographer waits for, to take aim and shoot.
There’s a lot of preparation that leads up to the perfect capture — not to mention an immense amount of patience and knowledge of the animals movements, as well as an understanding of the best light and best place from where you will get the finest photographs. That’s where the Encounters Asia team makes all the difference, setting the groundwork and logistics in place for a once in a lifetime photography experience.
Photographing Tigers In North and Central India:
North and Central India have some of the best jungles for tiger photography. Bandhavgarh, Ranthambore, Kanha, and Tadoba are among our favourite forests to spot tigers in stunning natural settings. The post-monsoon period from November to January is ideal for colouring, giving you lush green backgrounds and fantastic contrasts. But the dryer months of February to May give you better sightings, and great visibility, and at this time of year, one often captures great shots of tigers cooling down in waterholes.
Spotting Leopards In North and Central India:
Leopards are elusive creatures and masters in the art of camouflage. However, it only makes it even more inspiring when one allows itself to be spotted. Pench, Satpura, and Nagarhole have thrown up some good leopard sightings, along with other predators like Wild Dogs, as well as tigers. The Jawai region offers unique sightings of leopards in peaceful coexistence with humans, amid a rugged landscape of rocky cliffs. Just outside of Jaipur, a small wildlife reserve called Jhalana, is full of leopards and hyenas in a thickly forested zone.
Unusual & Endangered Species In Velavadar:
Few animals are as striking to look at as the Black Buck, with its spiral antlers and smart black and white colouring, as they leap gracefully across the grasslands of Velavadar.
This park offers the photographer a unique opportunity to capture rare species like the Striped Hyena, Indian Grey Wolf, and Lesser Florican on camera. It’s also the best place to capture startling images of the Great Harrier Roost, as they swarm into Velavadar for their winter roost. December to February is the best time to capture rare and migratory bird species, along with the Black Buck, while February to May is a good time for Hyena sightings.
The Rare Asiatic Lion In Gir:
If you’re looking for rare felines, you’ll get once-in-a-lifetime photo ops of the Asiatic Lion in Gir in a far-flung corner of Western India. November to March is a good time to visit and get excellent photographs as the rest of the year is too warm.
The Snow Leopard’s Lair In Ladakh:
In the upper reaches of the Trans-Himalayan zone, Hemis National Park is prime territory for the critically endangered Snow Leopard, as well as other rare animals like the Tibetan Wolf and Pallas’ Cat.
While winters are the best times to capture these animals on camera, the logistics, altitude, and weather can get tricky, which is why it makes a huge difference to have our experienced trackers and team members guide you on the ground.
Kaziranga’s Big Five:
Kaziranga, in Assam, is one of the largest jungles with varied terrain and prolific biodiversity. It is home to India’s Big Five: the Asiatic Elephant, the One-Horned Indian Rhino, The Wild Buffalo, The Gaur (bison), and The Tiger. Kaziranga is also ideal for birding with over 470 avian species inhabiting the park.
Sighting the Sloth Bear:
The tree-dwelling Sloth Bear is another shy creature and not always easy to spot, but chances are high in Satpura in Madhya Pradesh and Daroji in Northern Karnataka. With its craggy cliffs and mixed deciduous forest, Satpura is a fascinating forest with felines as well as several waterfowl which inhabit the Denwa river.
By contrast, Daroji is an open, arid tract of wilderness along the Tungabhadra River, which gives photographers a clear view of the animals and birds, and the chance to sight aquatic creatures like smooth-coated otters and crocodiles.
Rare Aquatic Species In The Chambal Ravines:
Just south of Agra, the Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary is full of critically endangered species that inhabit the banks of the Chambal river. One has the opportunity to view the critically endangered Gharial, the red-roofed turtle, and the Indo-Gangetic dolphin. One can also find wolves and hyenas, along with 240 species of birds, in this unusual habitat.
Best Bird Captures – Kutch and Bharatpur
The stark salt marshes of the Rann of Kutch are an unrelenting, yet extremely beautiful ecosystem, without any obstruction for miles. This is the natural habitat for the critically endangered Wild Ass, as well as the winter roost for thousands of species of birds, especially waterfowl and birds of prey.
Further north, in Rajasthan, Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur is world-famous for its migratory birds and gives photographers terrific opportunities to capture rare species on camera. With over 386 species recorded, birds are the main focus, but this park is also famous for the pythons that lurk in the marsh.
Red Panda Habitat In Singalila:
In the upper reaches of West Bengal, Singalila is a beautiful sanctuary and one of the few natural habitats for the Red Panda that are left in the world.
It’s also known for its rare birds such as the Satyr Tragopan. While spring is a beautiful time to visit due to an abundance of wildflowers in bloom throughout the park, the best time for the shy Red Panda is January and February when there’s barely a soul in sight.
Elephant Territory In South India and Corbett:
No wildlife trip to India is complete without sighting the Asiatic Elephant. These magnificent animals are often spotted in herds, though it’s not that unusual to find yourself looking at a lone tusker amid the trees. March to May is a great time to see the elephants as they venture out in search of water.
The southern elephant corridor in Nagarhole, Bandipur, and Madumalai is prime habitat for elephants, while the scenic environs of Corbett National Park are another one of our favourite jungles to photograph them.