Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A leopard's majesty

Last updated on: November 17, 2009 12:04 IST
Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

Capturing a leopard is no joke, even on a camera.

Bangalore-based kidney specialist Ajith Huilgol and avid wildlife photographer did just that and won a runner-up award at the UK-based Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition 2009, in the 'Behaviour: Mammals' category. The annual competition is jointly organised by the Natural History Museum, London, and the BBC's Wildlife magazine.

Dr Huilgol captured a rarely seen image of a leopard descending from a tree in his camera and the photograph won among 43,000 other entries from 94 countries.

Every photograph may speak a thousand words, however Dr Huilgol's speaks of a fascinating story. What began as a patient task of observing a leopard ended in fetching the doctor a world-renowned award.

Dr Huilgol said he had shot the photograph when he had gone to Kabini in the Nagarhole forest region in Karnataka with his family for a wildlife vacation.

"My family and I were in a jeep and watching this leopard perched on the tree. We spotted it at around 7.23 am and clicked her pictures. In fact she was so comfortable with our presence that she did not even budge an inch as we clicked the pictures. However, at 7.28 am, a jeep passed by which startled the leopard and thus prompted her to come down. I managed to get a shot of her as she came down the tree."

"My first reaction was to curse the other jeep driver who disturbed the leopard. But today I realise that it turned out to be a boon," he added.
The general notion is that wildlife photography is time-consuming. However, Dr Huilgol said, it is always not so. "Take this photograph for instance, it took just five minutes to capture," he said.


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