Friday, November 18, 2011

Pench National Park

Pench Day Four
Langour monkey mom and baby
Today Elizabeth and I photographed spotted deer and monkeys mostly.  We didn’t see much, but it was a nice day and it was fun all the same.

Pench Day Five
Today I was in a jeep with Chris. We photograph really well together. We got some great portrait shots of monkeys, some nice shots of spotted deer and a changeable eagle hawk. On the way home I heard an alarm call that sounded like it was close to the road. We tried to figure out where it was coming from, but the light was quite bad at this point as it was already about 6:15p.m. so we started to head back to the main gate. About fifteen seconds later, the guide spotted an Indian leopard. It was perched on a rock and seemed to pose for us for a while. Chris had the right lens ready and got some great shots of him. I took a few as well but to really do it justice I would have needed a different camera/lens combination, so rather than set up and shake the jeep in low light, I just took a couple lousy pictures with the wrong lens as a keep sake. This way at least one of us would have the opportunity for a good shot and Chris nailed it. Even at horrible light she still pulled it off. It was still pretty exciting. Most people don’t get a chance to even see one Indian leopard in their lifetime and I saw two and have a great shot of one of them, so I am pretty happy.
Indian leopard

Pench Day Six
This morning at about 8a.m. Mark and I saw a tigress and her two cubs. She is the mother that actually has five cubs, so the other three must have been resting somewhere else. This mother has a collar and was a baby when they filmed her family in “spy in the jungle”. It was an exciting sighting that lasted a few minutes as they came out of the bush and walked down the road. Unfortunately for us, they were walking away from us down the road. One cub briefly turned around and Mark got a couple nice shots of him. I missed the opportunity. I had the other two tigers in my lens and I didn't notice that the other cub had briefly turned around. I have been kicking myself all day.
 This afternoon we didn’t see much. We drove around and photographed the odd deer, an occasional peacock or two and a golden jackal in great light. We saw a blue bull male and came across a herd of Indian Gores. They are kind of like a cross between a cow and a bison.

Travel Day Pench to Nagpur to Delhi
Above is a troop of red faced monkeys. We were stopped on the side
on the side of the road waiting for the last vehicle so I thought I would
roll down the window and video them. The dominant male took exception
to this and mock charged the car screaming and showing his fangs. Kind of intimidating really!

We left the hotel in Pench at 9a.m. It was a two and a half hour drive to Nagpur, then a 90 minute flight to Delhi. Before getting on the plane I bought a pop, finished it, then couldn't find a garbage can, so I just held on to it, figuring I would give it to the flight attendant so she could dispose of it. We were on the shuttle bus heading to the plane and a guy noticed me holding on to what was obviously an empty pop can. He looked at me like I had three heads and suggested I throw it out the window. That is what they do in India. You are pretty hard pressed to find a garbage can. Garbage is just strewn everywhere. Every city and every village looks like a landfill. The country may be gorgeous, but anywhere there are significant amounts of people, the land looks like a landfil. It is truly disgusting. 

We finally got into Delhi where we had a great dinner with the representative from the company who organized our trip. We had a great dinner in a really nice restaurant as we listened as he educated us on Indian foods, spices, culture and different safari options that India has to offer. We had a great meal and a really nice visit. From there we were dropped off at the airport at 10:30p.m. By the time we changed our money back, checked our bags and got through security I barely had enough time to have a quick snack at the lounge before saying goodbye to Chris (everyone else had already gotten split up).

This is turning into a long day. I am currently in the Vienna airport. From Delhi I had a 7.5 hour flight to Vienna, a four and a half hour layover, then will have an 8.5 hour flight to Toronto, a five hour layover, then a three and a half hour flight to Edmonton. That is essentially two full days of traveling before I can have a decent shower and sleep in a normal bed. I get in to Edmonton at 9p.m., home at 10p.m., then I take Gaye and Kiera to the airport at 4a.m. the next morning, then it is back to work again. I cancelled my morning clients, but will be at work at 10a.m. till 9p.m. Definitely a string of a long few days! Oh well all is good. The weekend is coming and I will catch up on Sunday.

My Indian wildlife images are here...

Next trip; polar bear moms and cubs in Churchill in March.


  1. nice write-up and experience i'm sure..will be travelling to pench year-end, been there earlier but i guess its changes a bit. . any tips on photography there?

  2. *its changed a bit

  3. Hi Anonymous,
    Pench is beautiful. It took me a few drives, but I changed my attitude in regards to tiger sightings. At first we drove around and were completely focused on tigers, but were missing everything else that Pench has to offer. My analogy is it would be like going to the Masai Mara in Kenya and being focused only on leopards. If that were the case, you could go your entire vacation, lucky to even see one and go home disappointed. The Masai Mara in Kenya is one of the best places in the world to go on a wildlife photo safari so if you have the wrong approach you can still be sorely disappointed.

    Pench has amazing bird life, tens of thousands of beautiful spotted deer and lots of monkeys. My advice? Take the longest lens that you have and enjoy the bird life, spotted deer, blue bulls, sambar, peacocks and monkeys. If your guide happens upon a tiger, that's a bonus. We saw a mom and two cubs on the last day and it was magical, but the sightings are few and far between and often for only a minute or so before the tigers go back into the bush. One of my combinations was a 600mm lens and a 1.6 crop sensor body and I got lots of great shots.

    The deer are very skittish there as well, so make sure you have the guide stop a good distance from them or they will just run away as soon as he stops the jeep.

    For tiger photography in general, I would recommend a 400mm reach at 2.8 or f4 and a camera body that is good in low light.

    Enjoy Pench!

  4. Pench is very beautuful. So after time to time it may happens that it will slightly changed but no matter that it's beauty will also change. Its Beauty will more increased.