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Thread: Tiger: Before the Charge

  1. #1
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    Default Tiger: Before the Charge

    This is one of the dominant male tigers in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in India. This image was before it charged at me.

    I was tracking this huge male tiger. It is notoriously shy of human beings and often charges at the vehicles. This tiger gave me a slip twice, but I predicted its route and was waiting for it near a grassland. Soon another jeep with two French tourists appeared. I was waiting for about twenty minutes before the tiger appeared at a distance on my left. The other jeep was in front of my jeep. When the tiger tried to cross the road, the other jeep driver moved the jeep ahead and positioned it in front of the tiger. The tiger was about forty to fifty feet away, but sat down near a bush when it realized that the jeep is trying to block its path.

    After some time, I realised that though the tiger was trying to cross in front of my jeep, it was coming straight in our direction. I had rested my lens on the side seat of the open jeep and was shooting. Rama Shankar - my driver - was afraid of this tiger, due to its past reputation and also the manner in which it was growling. He suddenly decided to move the vehicle ahead, when the tiger was about twenty feet away from us. The moment he started the engine, the tiger charged. I lost my balance and fell on the jeep floor. I could just see that the tiger and our vehicle were running parallel to each other with the tigerís head turned towards us and he was continually growling. And suddenly our vehicle slowed down and the tiger crossed in front of us. The charge happened at a split second and was over perhaps within a minute. My driver was speechless. I was really annoyed with him, as he started the vehicle without my instructions. However, it was not the fault of the tiger. People try to block the path of the tiger - and tiger being a gentleman Ė sits down and waits for people to pass. This helps people to click a few shots. Most of the drivers do this to impress their clients as they get substantial tips after such an incident. However, I believe these incidents cause a lot of stress to the animals and should be avoided.

    Canon EOS 10D, Canon EF 300mm F4 L IS USM, ISO 100, F4, 1/60 sec. Full frame.
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    A similar incident happened with Bamera. My driver/guide in their anxiety to help get a good shot do all sorts of things like the driver of the French tourists.

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