Amit Chand Shoots Tigers that Live with History in Ranthambore Park

August 5, 2014

By Barbara Goldman

© Amit Chand

Tigress Krishna and her cubs come out of hiding to cross an island.

Bangalore -based editorial lifestyle, wildlife, nature and fashion photographer Amit Chand had the unique and lucky opportunity to photograph some the world’s greatest wildlife in Ranthambore National Park, one of the largest national parks in northern India. Ranthambore National  Park is situated in Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, with an area of 1,334 Square kilometers.

It is immensely popular for its tiger reserve and also home to great historical architecture that includes the Ranthambore Fort, famous for the Temple and Jogi Mahal, the hunting Palace for Maharaja of Jaipur. It is now home to the queen of the tiger reserve T-19 or better known as Krishna, daughter of the world’s famous tigress Machali.

Chand made 10 safari trips and was lucky enough on one safari to capture the moments of the cubs of Krishna. Sightings of the cubs are not easy as the mother hides them most of the time. It is a game of patience and perseverance, and Chand visits periodically to try and capture different behavioral moments. 

But Chad is an extremely determined wildlife photographer and was fortunate to capture some of these moments of the cubs. He got a photographer’s dream image when he caught an island crossing by the mother and her cubs. The tiger-crossing image on the rocks took him close to 18 months with the particular frame and composition he wanted. In this instance, they came out of Jogi Mahal and walked on the rock beds to relax, kill or mark the territory.  For Chand, understanding behavior is key to shooting tigers or any wildlife.  “They behave differently in different parks, so one has to be sound enough on that too,” says Chand. Knowing and understand the animal’s behavior always helps in creating composition as it helps to pre- visualize the frame.

While mother Krishna rested after a hectic walk across the territory, the cubs were busy playing and troubling her with their antics. Chand also got to photographer another tigress known as T-39 walking her territory during this trip.

© Amit Chand/Krishna rests while her cubs play.

© Amit Chand/ Tigress T-39  walking her territory.

It takes an eagle eye to spot these magnificent cats, as they are so good at camouflage.  But Chand has that eye and above all, patience. He knows this reserve well and has become experienced on the animals’ habits as when they might appear for walks and mark territory. But he always follow certain rules.  During his game drives, he notes the pugmarks of tigers to predict their movement. Pugmark is the term that refers to the footprint of most animals, but especially mega fauna, which are the largest land mammals that have slow population growth, high longevity and few or no natural predators. Pug means foot in Hindi.  Every individual animal species has a distinct pugmark used for identification. Chand also pays close attention to alarm calls from other animals when a tiger is on the move.  One has to understand the different sounds that different animals make when tracking.  “So the secret is all your senses have to be on high alert during the game drives so that you don’t miss any opportunity to figure out their movement, and then spotting them and rest is your luck,” explains Chand.

© Amit Chand/ Snarling young male tiger.

Ranthambore Park is not just about Tigers. It is an extraordinary place to see the play of light and for creating some dream frames with some of the park’s more common subjects as the Sambhar Deer and  many of its architectural highlights as well.

© Amit Chand/Sambhar Deer. 

Stay tuned  with Amit Chand on Facebook, and see more work at his site as he continues to walk on the wild side with his wildlife, fashion, landscapes and nature photography. He will continue to send spectacular updates on his adventures, and PhotoServe will be the first to report on them.