Saturday, May 03, 2014

Gentle giants of Corbett grasslands

This April, I was on my second visit this year to Corbett National Park. This place is heaven for wildlife photographers. I can keep going there whenever time and finances permit. This visit was special because of the conglomeration of almost 50 fellow photographers as part of the Canon Wild Click Season-V. Major part of the event was hosted at the Infinity Resort at Dhikuli with nature trails along the Kosi river at both Dhikuli and Mohan, and also at Sitabani range under Ramnagar forest division. The event was organised by Nature Wanderers and was sponsored by Canon India, Sanctuary Asia, WIldcraft. The Forest Deptt of Uttarakhand also extended its support to the event allowing access. Part of the event was conducted at Dhikala with one night stay and 3 safaris at the Dhikala range.

The participants were required to shoot photos for 5 themes and submit 1 photo in each category. It was evident that subjects for some of the themes were to be found either in the nature trail or in the sprawling Infinity campus and subjects for some of the themes were to be found either in the saal forests or grasslands of Dhikala.

As we had entered into Dhikala zone very early into the second morning, the sweet smell of the  saal forest greeted us. The vehicles moved in such a way to avoid a convoy.  Most of the roads wore a carpet of falls leaves resembling a mauve carpet stretched as far as you can see. We took the detour via the deep forest road to Gairal. En-route, we had one of the best moments of the trip when a small group of elephants crossed the main road giving us opportunity to shoot them with classic background of saal forest of Corbett.

The second safari post lunch was fantastic. We were warned about not to run after tigers because of the danger of ending up the day without any photo to show. It was prime time for elephants. We were advised to reach the grassland, known as chaur, in search of pachyderm by 3 pm. I took a trip a trip in March expecting to shoot elephants. But because of an extended winter the herds were yet to arrive. As the news of arrival of elephants is confirmed, I got excited. And what an evening it turned out to be.  We could shoot elephants from as close as 15 feet. The herd had been very patient and enjoyed being photographed by another herd of photographers. By the end of the day, almost all us had some dream shots of elephants. I had elephants in the river, having mud bath, tossing up grass, display of emotions, group dynamics, etc. This was an evening not to forget for a lifetime.

Back at the Infinity resort, we got involved in the race against time of the event. This edition of wild click was won by young Daanish Shastri. I am happy to have made some fantastic images over those 3 days for my collection. As usual made some new friends from different parts of India. Looking forward to going back again to Corbett in June this year before the park closes for monsoon.

1 comment:

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