Tag Archives: India

Eurasian Spoonbill

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia. Lumix G9 with the Leica 100-400mm. Exposure Triad: f/6.3, 1/1250 sec ISO 200

Late February is the time when most Eurasian Spoonbils return North to their summer abode.  However I was luck to see a few stragglers at the Keoladeo NP.  The birds are still in breeding plumage though the colors are not a vibrant.

I planning a 2019 photo tour and workshop for Birds, Tigers, Landscapes and of course Agra for the Taj Mahal.  Let me know by email or a comment if you are at all interested.

 

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia. Lumix G9 with the Leica 100-400mm. Exposure Triad: f/6.3, 1/1250 sec ISO 200

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Kingfishers of Keoladeo National Park

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis – Lumix G9 and Leica 100 – 400 mm. Exposure triad: f/6.3, 1/400 sec, ISO 200

On this very short visit to India, my wife and I spent three days in Bharatpur, Rajasthan at the Keoladeo National Park to photograph wildlife.  These three images are of the three species of Kingfisher that can be found in the region this time of year.  The Stork-billed and Black-capped are known to be around but I have not been lucky to ever see or photograph them.  Of the three, the Common Kingfisher is the most elusive and least common.  The White-throated is easy to find and easy to photograph.  The Pied kingfisher can be seen at many locations but is very elusive for photography.  It hovers with a very rapid wing beat so requires high very shutter speed.

For these three days, I used the Panasonic Lumix G9 with the Leica 100 – 400mm lens and the Leica 200 mm f/2.8 and the 1.4X tele-extender.  I can not say enough about how much I enjoyed this kit and its performance truly excels.

White Throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnens – Lumix G9 and Leica 100 – 400 mm. Exposure triad: f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 200

 

A hovering Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis – Lumix G9 and Leica 100 – 400 mm. Exposure triad: f/6.3, 1/1000 sec, ISO 200

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India – March 2015 – Tribes of Gujarat & Kavant Fair

March 4 – 19, 2015 photo tour through the western region of India. The “Tribes of Gujarat with Kavant Fair” is a tremendous opportunity to get one of the finest cultural experiences possible in India.

For details on the trip please visit – http://tinyurl.com/meq6ge8

This trip will immerse you in an India that few get to see or experience. Feel free to share this with with your friends.  The trip is all inclusive, round trip air fare included (from a US gateway city) and will have a maximum of 12 participants.  Register ASAP as this one will fill up very fast.

 

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India Photo Workshops and Tours – February and March 2013

After a very successful trip this past February we now have a trip that gives you a unique opportunity to photograph three endangered species, The Asiatic Lions, Wild Asses and Black Buck.  In addition to these mammals we will have opportunities to photograph over 300 species of birds, other mammals, reptiles and insects.  We will photograph ancient monuments including the Taj Mahal, and have a lot of opportunity to photograph village people and their ways.

Feb 15 – Feb 26  – India Rann of Kutch, Velvader and Sasangir where the endangerd Asiatic Lions, Wild Asses and Black Buck will be the primary subjects Click Here for Details
Feb 26 – March 6 – India – Agra (Taj Mahal) Chambal for the River Crocodiles, Sarus Cranes and Black Buck,  Bharatpur for over 300 species of migratory birds Click Here for Details
March 6 – March 11 – India – Bandhavgarh for the Tiger and a plethora of wildlife (This segment depends on the Government of India lifting the tourism ban in Tiger Reserves Click Here for Details
You can do Segment 1 alone or combine it with Segment 2 or do all three.  You can also pick just Segment 2 and 3 or any one.
India is the home of the endangered Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), and has some of the best opportunities for photographing other mammals and migratory birds from as far as Siberia. This trip is geared towards capturing images of Indian wildlife, landscapes, ancient architecture and local village people.  The tour is in three parts and you can register for one, two or all three segments.

The first segment will take us from Delhi to the Rann of Kutch for wild asses, foxes, and vast salt flats.  We then spend time in Velavader for some incredible birds and the black buck. Sasan Gir is the next stop for lions and other wild life.  The Wild Ass, Asiatic Lion and Black Buck are all on the endangered species list. We return to Delhi concluding this segment.

The second segment takes us to Agra where we photograph the Taj Mahal by sunset and sunrise.  The trip has been  scheduled to coincide with the full moon. We then drive to Chambal for bird photography and a river safari to capture images of the Gharial, Crocodiles and shore birds including Skimmers, Ibis and European Spoonbills to name a few.  Next we drive to Fatehpur Sikri to photograph ancient moslem architecture and then continue to Bharatpur.  The Keoladeo sanctuary in Bharatpur boasts over 300 hundred  species of migratory birds, owls and water fowl. We will drive back to Delhi concluding the second segment.

Our third segment takes us from Delhi to Jabalpur by air and then a drive to Bandhavgarh for tigers, jackals, the Indian Bison, wild boar and many other species of mammals and birds.  We return to Jabalpur to fly back to Delhi, concluding this segment.

Registration Forms are available on the Workshops Tab above or Click Here

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India Trip Report 4 and Final

Shikra - Female - Looking Back

This is the last of the India trip reports but I will continue to update the blog with additional images as I process them.  Just got back from an awesome workshop in SW Florida – look out for the next batch of reports and images.

So we arrived in Kanha for a three-night stay. The plan was for five safaris but with the unpredictability of the airline we were booked on, we changed our tickets to depart from Nagpur instead of Jubalpur.  This meant a 5 to 6 hour travel time from the lodge instead of 2 to 3 hours.

Kanha is about 3 times the size of Bandhavgarh resulting in a sparse distribution of both safari jeeps and animals.  It is however a prettier jungle and has a few species that are not found in Bandhavgarh – the Indian Bison or Gaur, the Indian wild dog, and swamp deer.  We saw and photographed all but the wild dog.

The Earth Lodge in Kanha is one of the nicest places to stay. Very modern facilities, beautiful stone construction, an infinity swimming pool and awesome food.

Here are a few images of the lodge photographed by Hal Oliver:

Greeting Area at The Entrance

 

Cottage Entrance

The Bedroom at a Cottage

Bathroom Area

 

Here are some images from Kanha:

Honey Buzzard in Flight - image Hal Oliver

 

Indian Bison - Gaur - image Dan Charbonnet

Langur - image Dan Charbonnet

Sambar Deer - A Good Laugh - image Hal Oliver

 

Spotted Owlets - image Dan Charbonnet

It is now February 26th and the eve of our departure.  We fly from Nagpur to Delhi on Indigo Airlines – an upcoming and ranked number one in India.  It was a pleasure to leave a bit ahead of schedule and land on time – a very pleasant experience.

We decided to do a bit of sightseeing on the last day.  A trip to Delhi Haat that is more like a permanent craft fair.  Handicrafts and native foods from the various states of India are the main attraction.

The next Photo Tour will include a visit to photograph Asiatic Lions.  Custom trips to India can be requested both for Cultural and Wildlife opportunities.

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India Trip Report – 3

Common Kingfisher Preening - Image Dan Charbonnet

Landing in Jabalpur we were greeted by a very courteous group of Kingfisher staff and were soon on our way driving to Bandhavgarh.  We checked in at the Nature Heritage Lodge, a quick lunch an off to our first safari. Bandhavgarh is divided into three zones with only two being active.  The zone closest to the resort is TALA and the one farthest is MAGDI.  Our first safari was in Magdi the second zone.

Our first creature was a wild boar, actually a whole family of about 8 boars.  A number of Hanuman Langurs, Chital (Spotted deer), peacocks and peahens were in abundance as were owls, raptors and a numerous species of awesome birds.  The next three days were spent in the TALA zone – each day presented us with a variety of wildlife but unfortunately no tigers.  One had been located by an elephant scouting team and accessible only by traveling on elephant back.  We decided not to do the viewing and hope for better luck by jeep.

The fourth day’s AM safari was in the Magdi zone and did not yield any tigers but a potential as one of the jeeps had heard two tigers growling and crunching on a kill.  The next safari yielded an extended viewing of one of the two tigers.  The following day the safari was even better when each one did a 40 to 45 minute show.  With the success of viewing tigers we decided to extend another day in Bandhavgarh and reduce the Kanha excursion by a day.

Rather than showing individual images here is a slide show gallery representing the two zones in Bandhavgarh, scenes from the safari, a village in the area and its people:

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India Trip Report Part 1

Taj Mahal

We are about at the midway mark of the India Photo Tour and Workshop.  A brief recap of this first half follows.  A brief night in Delhi and an early morning ride to Agra.  We checked in at the beautiful Taj Gateway Hotel ( A part of the exclusive Taj Group of Hotels).   After an awesome lunch where we were entertained by traditional Rajasthan musicians and puppeteers we departed to see the great Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal - Agra

This next one is an image shot by one of the participants of the master puppeteer who supposedly has the second longest moustache – 2 meters long – end-to-end.  Notice how it is wrapped around his ears and then back down his face.

Agra Entertainer - image Dan Charbonnet

 

It is unfortunate that photographers are not permitted to take tripods into most monuments in India and have to resort to high ISO photography to get enough shutter speed to prevent blurred hand held images.

Here is an image close to sunset.

The Taj Mahal as the sun sets - image Dan Charbonnet

The evening was spent visiting a local art store where we were treated to the craft of marble inlay work.  These skills have been passed down through the generations of the original artists who carved and inlayed precious and semiprecious gems on the walls of the Taj Mahal.

It was planned that we photograph the Taj by moonlight.  Trying to get a good image in the allocated half hour slot that is managed by the security guard at the Taj makes the opportunity very difficult for even a single decent night shot, particularly as you can’t use a tripod or even a monopod inside the secured area of the Taj.   We had arranged to do our photography from the rooftop of a building that overlooks the Taj and where we had access to tripods, and hot masala tea (spiced tea made with ginger, cardamom, and other flavorful spices).

Taj Mahal by Moonlight - image Hal Oliver

We had altered our schedule so as to capture a moonlit image of the Taj but that put us in a predicament for the following mornings sunrise image.  The Taj is closed to the public on Fridays and is open only for prayer at specific times during Friday.  As a result we ventured to Mehtab Gardens for the sunrise.   What worked out even better is that we guided to a beautiful spot across the river that gave us an awesome view of the Taj as the sun rose above the horizon.  It is unfortunate that there is so much smog and pollution in Delhi and in Agra.  This make capturing pristine image a big challenge.

 

Sunrise - Taj Mahal from across the river - image Hal Oliver

Taj at Dawn

After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and drove to Chambal – a small town situated in a terrain that has an extensive network of ravines and the Chambal River (a tributary of the Yamuna river).  We spent the afternoon photographing numerous species of birds.  The Indian roller, yellow and red wattle lapwings, hoopoe, sandpipers, the Eurasian thick knee, red vented bulbul, white cheeked bulbul, spotted owlets, to name a few.

 

Spotted Owlet - image Dan Charbonnet

Black Drongo

Restless Flying Fox - image Dan Charbonnet

While we were photographing the birds, etc., opportunities to photograph local village scenes were ever present.  The next two images are by Hal Oliver.

Chambal Sheep #1

Chambal Sheep #2

We had dinner and spent the night in the Chambal Jungle Lodge.  This is a lovely lodge with individual cottages for the guests.  During the night we heard at least three large packs of jackals howling in the vicinity of our cottages.

The following morning a 10-mile drive took us to the river where we boarded our chartered boat for a river safari. A Red Vented Bulbul en route to the safari.

Red Vented Bulbul Eating a Berry - image Monica Verma

In addition to a number of birds, we were able to photograph the Indian Crocodile and the Gharial (a member of the crocodilians but exclusive to India).

Here are a few of the river safari images:

Egyptian Vultures Nesting - image Dan Charbonnet

Garials -image Dan Charbonnet

 

Post lunch a short drive (few hours) to Bharatpur where we checked in to the Lakshmi Vilas Hotel, which is a converted residential palace of the Maharaja of Bharatpur’s brother.

The following morning was our first safari in Koeladeo National Park.  On entering the park we were greeted by a group of peafowl silhouetted against the rising sun.

Peafowl Greeting

Another image of the same sight.

We spent two and a half days for a total of five safaris in this park.  What and abundance of birds and mammals.  A small representation follows:

A pair of Indian Rollers - image Dan Charbonnet

 

Crow Deticking Nilgai - image Dan Charbonnet

 

Rhesus Monkey Cuddle - image Monica Verma

 

Peacock Ascending - image Dan Charbonnet

Here is an incomplete list of birds and mammals we saw and photographed over the course of the first 1/3 of the trip:

Grey Francolin (Partridge), Indian Peafowl, Lesser Whistling Duck, Bar-Headded Goose,, Ruddy Shell Duck, Comb Duck, Spot Billed Duck, Northern Shoveller, Northern Pintail,  Common Teal, Red Crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Brown Headed Barbet, Indian Grey Hornbill, Common Hoopoe, Indian Roller, Common Kingfisher, White Throated Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Greater Coucal, Rose-tinged Parakeet, Plum-headed Parakeet, Collared Scops Owl, Spotted Owlet, Brown Hawk Owl, Large Tailed Nightjar, Rock Pigeon, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Oriental Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Spotted Dove, Red Collard Dove, Brown Crake, White-breasted Waterhen, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Purple Gallinule, Marsh Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Eurasian Thick-Knee, Great Thick-Knee, Yellow Wattled Lapwing, River Lapwing, Red Wattled Lapwing, Indian Skimmer, River Tern, Osprey, Black-Shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture,  Red Headed Vulture, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Shikra, Little Grebe, Darter, Little Cormornt, Indian Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Indian Pond Heron, Black Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Black Headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Painted Stork, Black Necked Stork, Brown Shrike, Long Tailed Shrike, House Crow, Large Billed Crow, Eurasian Golden Oriole, White-browed Fantail (Flycatcher), Black Drongo, Oriental Magpie Robin, Indian Robin, Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Brahminy Starling, Common Myna, Bank Myna, Wire-Tailed Swallow, White-Eared Bulbul, Red Vented Bulbul, Common Babbler, Jungle Babbler, Large Grey Babbler, Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark, Purple Sunbird, White Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, White-browed Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Baya Weaver, Red Avadavat, Indian Silverbill,

The Mammals:  Gharial, Marsh Crocodile, a multitude of Turtles,,Rhesus Monkey, Hanuman Langur, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Jackal, Indian Civit, Indian Hre, Five Striped Palm Squirrel, Indian Flying Fox, Shortnosed Fruit Bat.

Next Update – as soon as possible when I can get a good internet connection.

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