It takes resources and efforts to plan a tiger safari in India. But at times inadequate planning can be a dampener. Just like no one can control the tiger’s appearance or disappearance, one cannot control the weather you may encounter during a safari. But some amount of planning, forethinking, and visualization can help to maximize the chances of tiger photography in rains. And believe me, the experience of a tiger sighting in rain will remain etched in your memory forever.
There are several weather apps that can give you an indication of the temperatures and rains that will happen. It is good to download those apps on your phone and know the kind of weather you will encounter and be better prepared accordingly. But we have still not reached a high level of accuracy while forecasting the weather, hence it is good to be better prepared always, as there is a lot at stake.
I have listed out few points below to help you prepare on precautions to take when you anticipate rain.
- The safari vehicles in India are of two types, one of which is a 6-seater open safari vehicle, and some are 20-seater large safari buses. Some of these buses in some parks are closed from the top and some in some parks are open from the top. Normally if you are keen to do tiger photography, you will choose the 6-seater safari vehicle. Our drivers and guides always carry the vehicle hood in the car, and in case of rain, they immediately cover the vehicle during the safari itself.
- If it rains heavily then the most important thing is the safety of your equipment, so carry a haversack as well in which you can immediately put your camera equipment. Also, a cover to cover your bag is important.
- It is a good idea to have a professional lens coat and camera body covers for your equipment.
- Despite all our vehicles having the hood to cover the vehicle, I still advise that you carry some plastic covers for your expensive camera equipment.
- Also, carry some pieces of dry cloth/cloth napkins to wipe out any water that seeps in. Though the camera equipment these days is dirt and waterproof one should not take chances of exposing the expensive equipment to rain.
How to Photograph Tigers in the Rain
When it starts to rain and the vehicle is covered do not be surprised if you get a tiger sighting in the rain. It is better to be prepared and you must know how to photograph tigers in rain during your tiger safari in India.
- If possible, try and take the seat next to the safari driver in front, as the window pane can be lowered when you get a tiger in front or on your side. So, it becomes possible to take your lens out and take a few shots.
- If the tiger is behind then it surely is a challenge, but if the driver is experienced handling photographers, then he is an expert in maneuvering the vehicle. He will manage to either turn or put the vehicle at an angle so that you can see a tiger or even go on the extreme corner of the dirt track to give you a view.
- A lot will depend on the tiger movement and the presence of other vehicles around. If the tiger is following your vehicle, then you will have an opportunity to leave your front seat go behind from inside the vehicle, lift the back flap and click photos. This is not easy as it will depend if there are other guests also in the car, and if you are physically able to crawl behind
- You must keep an eye on the tiger from the side mirror of the vehicle if the tiger is behind you. One can take a record shot of the tiger behind you from the side mirror of the vehicle also.
- You should be sensitive to the light as the light will be low when it begins to rain, and trying to shoot from a closed vehicle further worsens the light. Hence you need to know your equipment well, and the settings must be right to get images. I recommend strongly reading the manual of your equipment to know it better.
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Should you have any personal questions on the topic, please feel free to write to me at [email protected]
Sharad Kumar Vats
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Born and brought up in New Delhi, it was Sharad’s childhood passion to play cricket for India. While on a holiday in 1990, he saw his first tiger. Little did he know that this one sighting would immerse him into a realm where forests and tigers were all that mattered.
Sharad’s experiences as a wildlife photographer have inspired him to observe the tiger’s behavior for over 30 years and motivated him on his own journey as an entrepreneur. He started Nature Safari India Pvt Ltd, with a focus on “Conservation through Tourism.” to align himself to the mission of saving the regal species and repopulating them in India’s forests. In 2006, he set up one of India’s premier jungle lodges in Kanha National Park.
Sharad believes that there are many lessons to be learned from a tiger that can be applied successfully to leadership—both in business and in life. Here’s a new book by Sharad Vats on management and leadership skills to learn from a Tiger.