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Old 6th September 2010, 15:55   #76
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Absolutely fantastic snaps as always!! Love them. Keep it going. Looking forward to the Leopard story
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Old 6th September 2010, 16:16   #77
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Hi Doc,
5 stars all the way, the bug in the water drop is a fab pic and mantis's eye is also superb. As some one mentioned earlier NatGeo stuff.
I am a newbie at photography (canon 1000D) I was considering only canon lenses as a friend suggested they work best with the eos but your Sigma has magic to it. So now I'll browse for sigma lenses as well, any specific reason you went for a sigma.

The leopard piture taken at night, how have you managed to get light on the leopard, was it your car headlamps? Or some other source along with exposure. (Sorry OT!)

The tribal plight is troubling to see, They are ignored and exploited till they turn naxals and then the country spends a bomb to get them finished.
A little attention now can save thousands of lives (both tribes and the police & CRPF) down the line besides providing them with some much deserved living conditions.

Thanks a ton for the thread.
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Old 6th September 2010, 18:42   #78
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Every single pic is a work of art. This is the best "wild travelogue" I have come across to date ..... period.

Paanch sitaara for sure Doc. Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by Urban_Nomad : 6th September 2010 at 18:43.
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Old 6th September 2010, 20:18   #79
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Let me know the others that you want.
Let me know if anybody wants me to join in Tadoba over the extended weekend after Ramzaan (10th to 13th Sept) for a exclusive visit to a lively Tiger reserve with stay at Kolsa Forest rest house or in Moharli village amidst greenery and Thundershowers ? I will be doing just that !!! Howzzat ?

Sorry gents a little OT

Dear Dr.Ghosh:

Would it possible to join you on 11th through 13th . If not what are your plans for weekend of 18th Sep.

Best,
Projjal
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Old 7th September 2010, 09:24   #80
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Thank you everybody for the rave reviews.
The leopard story is coming soon. I need to process some more pics and then I will go ahead. With my hectic schedule at the hospital its very difficult to find time for these hobbies on the weekdays
So watch out.

@fatboyslim: i am going to be in tadoba from saturday (11th) afternoon to sunday 12th night. will start from nagpur around 9am on sat. you can join me from nagpur if you can reach by friday night or saturday morning. you can book your return back on monday morning. pl call me on 09960332228 asap.

This is my plan from 18th to 20th: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...light=defender (Delhi to Nagpur in Jeep Captain's Land Rover Defender - route planning)
so sorry wot able to join you, however u r most wecome to join me if u r free.

my route will be : Delhi - Agra - Gwalior - Jhansi - Panna - Katni/Bandhavgarh - Jabalpur - Seoni - Nagpur with stop overs at Agra, Gwalior,Panna, khajurao,Bandhavgarh,Jabalpur,Pench

Will be driving a Land Rover Defender and a Gypsy.

Dr. A Ghosh

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Originally Posted by fatboyslim View Post

Sorry gents a little OT

Dear Dr.Ghosh:

Would it possible to join you on 11th through 13th . If not what are your plans for weekend of 18th Sep.

Best,
Projjal

Last edited by abheekg : 7th September 2010 at 09:31.
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Old 8th September 2010, 20:26   #81
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Default The Ghosts of the darkness.............

The leopard encounter is long pending. Here's unraveling the story :

As I am about to recount the story of my encounter with 2 leopards that night at Melghat, I cannot help myself re-live the terror filled moments while I was taking a nighty stroll around the forest bungalow of hearing a low growl which sounded like "saw on wood" coming through total darkness about 2 meters from my right; shining my torch in the direction of the growl, seeing 2 bright eyes shining back at me, and seeing a leopard crouch as if ready to jump , not knowing if it would jump on me that very moment and ...........................well, let's leave that part out, as the above encounter is a figment of my imagination and happened only in my thoughts.

But something like this could very well have happened had I not done my homework & research before venturing out that night outside the forest bungalow at Melghat.

A very remote intention of my visit to Melghat was to confirm reports of an animal which was regularly lifting livestock in the small settlement of semadoh in the past 1 month. I was sanguine that this was the handiwork of a leopard and hoped to see signs of the animal during my visit in the form of pugmarks or left over kills.

I had never imagined that this visit would turn into my best leopard spotting trip till date and I would end up seeing and adequately photographing not 1 but 2 leopards very near the human settlement at Semadoh !!

Now wait a second, did i just say 2 leopards ???

What are the odds of coming across and adequately photographing a leopard in total wilds ?
From my experience : a 1 in a million.

In the words of the great shikari Jim Corbett in the celebrated novel " The Man Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag" :
He was a magical beast, the ghost of the darkness !!
He was describing a leopard which had terrorized an entire district.

One of the exploits of this leopard as given in the book is as follows : At dusk a man and his friend were sitting inside a hut in darkness chatting with each other and smoking hookah. One of them accidentally dropped the hookah. Shouting at his friend that he would set the hut ablaze, the man stooped to pick up the ash and as he did so, the door of the hut which was open, came to his view and through it, silhouetted against the rising moon, he saw the leopard carrying away his friend. The man claimed not to have heard as much as the intake of a breath during the entire procedure.Many such spine-chilling instances of the leopard’s notoriety are presented in the book.
This leopard was a particular animal and thus no conclusions should be drawn from it about leopards in general.But in truth, the leopard is the most beautiful of all animals to be found in the Indian jungle,shy and agile in its own unique way. It is one of the most beautiful creations of God and we should all vow for the conservation and protection of the Indian Leopard.

Coming back to my story, the moment I reached Melghat, I started making enquiries about the various livestock lifts and locations of abandoned kills which happened and were discovered in the month gone by; and along with the help of Bheema - the able forest guard (who was put at my disposal by the forest range officer) quickly took GPS coordinates of the various kills that we could find; and plotted all the information that we could gather on the range map of semadoh.

The moment we were done, both me and the range officer stared out at a map which looked roughly like this, looked at each other and grinned from ear to ear !!!
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This is a very rough representation but you will get an idea about what I am trying to say. Do you follow my resoning ? the reason of our enlightenment ??

No ?

How about now ?
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If you look closely, the lift sites are clustered in the village roughly around the main road while the sites where the beast had pulled the prey to devour it lay roughly within a radius of 0.5 kms !!

Along with this information we had the details of the dates on which the lifts had taken place and collating all this data along with the GPS data, we were able to formulate a near accurate track of the movement of the beast in the past 1 month.

I regret myself not having taken a photo of the range map over which we were doing these notings with the help of small coloured flags and by the time we were done the map on the table looked very akin to maps medieval generals must have made while plotting wars against each other's territories !!
This was the exact feeling that came to my mind - we were plotting a war against the beast which was lifting livestock. The only difference being that the "weapon of mass construction" was going to be my camera with a fast lens.

It was thus that I did my homework and research on the movement of the beast.

Arming myself with this map i marched off into my quarters and had a small celebratory drink alone - for my fried had gone trekking when I was busy digging up these info.

Thus enriched I formulated my plan of action for the night : We were going to drive with 2 spotlights in the open Gypsy along the main road and concentrate o a particular patch of forest where our scientific model predicted the beast to be around. My friend was to be the driver while I and Bheema were to handle the spotlights. Bheema was also given charge of my camera stuff to hand me over if needed.

Mind you, its dense jungle around the settlement of semadoh
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To cut a long story short and without boring you any further with these details, we succeeded in tracking a pair of lepoards - a male and a female very near where our scientific model had predicted them to be.

Here are some of the finest leopard shots that I have shot till date.

My first glimpse of the pair - Although not a great shot, I like the motion blur- iso800 shutter priority 1/80 custom WB
Heaven & Hell @ the same place.......  Melghat Tiger Reserve here I come-2-eps2.jpg

Female leopard shot resting the camera on a bean bag - iso800 shutter priority 1/120 - flashlight - custom WB - sharpened in PS
Heaven & Hell @ the same place.......  Melghat Tiger Reserve here I come-2-eps3.jpg

Male leopard Framed - bean bag - iso800 shutter priority 1/120 - flashlight+on camera flash - auto WB - sharpened in PS
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My best leopard shot till date - the kill was atop this tree
Heaven & Hell @ the same place.......  Melghat Tiger Reserve here I come-2-eps5.jpg

A lusty yawn
Heaven & Hell @ the same place.......  Melghat Tiger Reserve here I come-2-eps6.jpg

If the DSLR can shoot........
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..........So can the Mobile camera !!
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I have another awesome framed leopard pic coming up shortly..... need to process it a bit !!

P.S: The RFO told me that the male leopard of this pair had been lifting the livestock on a regular basis and this male was not a resident of this area. This male leopard had been captured in a village in Chandrapur (near Tadoba) where it had entered in conflict with humans and subsequently released in Melghat.
After his release the leopard has continued its old ways of cattle lifting.


The readers here are directed to this very informative website Waghoba which dwells on this exact issue of man-animal conflict wrt leopards.

We have bee helpig Vidya Atreya, the lady behind this research study these animals at Bhadardara in western Maharashtra where there are a lot of leopards and regular cases of conflict.
More on Bhadardara can be found here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...y-scorpio.html (Bhandardara - Weekend getaway on Scorpio)

Some of Vidya's work is here :

http://www.projectwaghoba.in/docs/wh...e_leopards.pdf

Waghoba

Further information on these magical creatures are here Leopard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The delay in this post happened due to my lack of time to present this in the way I wanted to. I am very sorry to keep you guys waiting for this. Your valuable feedback and comments are welcome.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
09960332228

edit: In case you have ever wondered how I am so lucky to have tiger/leopard/bear/other carnivora sightings on such a regular basis [ refer : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-up-close.html (‘THE COLD STARE’ - I always heard about it, read about it. Now I know it - up close) and http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-4-tigers.html (Tadoba, Pench forests, wildlife and 4 tigers!) ] then I have let the secret out today.

With the help of an excellent network of informers in various jungles and tiger reserves, I am able to make real time predictions of animal movements with the help of such maps.


Coming weekend we are going to have a mini team bhp get together at Tadoba.

Last edited by abheekg : 8th September 2010 at 20:44.
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Old 8th September 2010, 21:32   #82
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Abheek-da, these are purely awesome staff. I am pumped up for the coming weekend.
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Old 8th September 2010, 23:31   #83
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Brilliant.

If only hunters through history had had cameras, not guns!
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Old 9th September 2010, 00:42   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
The leopard encounter is long pending. Here's unraveling the story :
Coming weekend we are going to have a mini team bhp get together at Tadoba.
WOW! Here it is finally! Pure adrenalin stuff! You are one lucky man, i say!
TBHP meet @ TATR? WOW - yet again! Have fun doc abheek.
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Old 9th September 2010, 11:18   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hridayjyoti View Post
Abheek-da, these are purely awesome staff. I am pumped up for the coming weekend.
Sure Hriday, this weekend we will be exploring the Tadoba range of TATR coz thats where all the action is happening of late. I will continue getting updates from the field and will decide the final plan only on Saturday morning when you guys will be here.

I only advise to keep your outlook completely open towards the jungle and its inhabitants and come here to experience the wilderess in total without harbouring any special desires to see the big cat. You have a couple of days to get into this frame of mind. Whe you are here I will tell you why I am saying so. BTW what lenses would you be carrying for this trip ?

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Brilliant.

If only hunters through history had had cameras, not guns!
Yes indeed. Would have been a fairly different story althogether.

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Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
WOW! Here it is finally! Pure adrenalin stuff! You are one lucky man, i say!
TBHP meet @ TATR? WOW - yet again! Have fun doc abheek.
Thank you. This story got a tad delayed due to my penchant for perfection in my writeups and my photo processing .
This weekend "hridayjyoti" and "fatboyslim" are joining me with their friends and partners. "hridayjyoti" is flying to Nagpur from Delhi while "fatboyslim" is driving down from Raipur. Its going to be fun again for sure.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 9th September 2010, 12:37   #86
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Dr. Ghosh,

That was a very good study undertaken which enabled the success of this sightings. The photographs have come out good and a detailed write up.

Loved the first pic. of the pair strolling and the motion blur adds more character to it.

Sighting leopards is not easy leave alone two, who now are and always be the cattle lifters of Melghat, they will not change their ways or their spots.

Regards,
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Old 9th September 2010, 12:50   #87
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Dr.Ghosh,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful wonderful experiences with us. The yawn of the leopard is the best one I liked and thanks for short reminder of Corbett. No words to express the emotions this thread has triggered.

5* from my side.

Will look forward to your posts.

thanks.

Manjunath
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Old 9th September 2010, 13:11   #88
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Mindblowing pictures Doc.
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Old 9th September 2010, 13:36   #89
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Amazing writeup. Brilliant pics. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th September 2010, 13:42   #90
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Default The growl of the Ghost.......

Here's a sample recording of the growl of a leopard lep.rar
Advised to turn up the volume of the speaker after extracting & opening the audio files from this archive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
Dr. Ghosh,

That was a very good study undertaken which enabled the success of this sightings. The photographs have come out good and a detailed write up.
Thank you sir. I have always wanted to share with everybody about how we plan our movements in the various jungles and here was the best way to do it. Lallan from Pench and Bandu from Tadoba among others actively assist me in this prediction modelling.
And i must say that since I started using this techinque, our big cat sightings have gone up by more than 50% as compared to the times when we moved in the jungles only by intuition, tracking pug marks and calls and depended on sheer luck.
But having said this I am in no way belittling the superb skills of expert trackers like Lallan and Bandu. It was sheer intuition of Lallan which led us to our super tigress encounter at Pench last summer which you have superbly documeted here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post1731005 (Tadoba, Pench forests, wildlife and 4 tigers!)


My technique only increases the probability of an encounter but at the end of the day it depends on the own sweet will of the big cat whether it wants to shows itself to us or not !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
Sighting leopards is not easy leave alone two, who now are and always be the cattle lifters of Melghat, they will not change their ways or their spots.
Regards,
Thats true and one fine day this cattle lifter will be captured once again and relocated somewhere else................. and the vicious circle will repeat !!

And after a few such cycles the beautiful beast will be shot dead on orders of the department after labeling it as a serial offender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian Ranger View Post
Dr.Ghosh,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful wonderful experiences with us. The yawn of the leopard is the best one I liked and thanks for short reminder of Corbett. No words to express the emotions this thread has triggered.

5* from my side.

Will look forward to your posts.

thanks.

Manjunath
Thank you very much sir. Its been my pleasure to extract such emotions from all of you with my photographs and writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KRRaj View Post
Mindblowing pictures Doc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kvish View Post
Amazing writeup. Brilliant pics. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you sirs. There are a few more on the way shortly.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
09960332228

Last edited by abheekg : 9th September 2010 at 13:56.
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