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Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)
Endangered with less than 2,500 left in the world.
It would be correct to admit that one reason I went to Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India was to try and photograph a male tiger in its habitat. The Bengal Tiger is India's national animal and over the years I have never made any effort to photograph it because so many great photographers spend so much time and effort to get prize-winning images of it. But as numbers of this great beast dwindle it is becoming more and more difficult to see and photograph them. So I thought I'd go and try to get a few shots of the largest cat in the world while it was still possible to do so for my GPlus friends. So guys, this one is for all of you!
This is 'Opener', a 5 year old male. I found him after sundown and had a very tough time getting a shot in as the light was very poor. This is shot handheld at 1/40th, ISO400 with a 180 mm f/2.8 lens, at 2.8 while I stood on my rather wobbly jeep seat.
The tiger is an endangered animal today due to poaching for tiger parts and destruction of habitat. It is unlikely that the animal will survive in the wild if the demand cannot be stopped.
My contribution for #threatenedthursday curated by +Diego Cattaneo +Sandy Schepis +Anette Mossbacher and myself. +Threatened Thursday
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Well done at 1/40th of a second hand held! I would have been shaking with excitement! Thanks for sharing.
+Sumit Sen OMG! 1/40th ?? Looks pretty sharp to me :))) Awesome shot, animal and contribution my friend :)
It's a wonderful capture of a gorgeous animal! Congrats and welcome back!
Wow! This is what I was expecting from you my friend! Wonderful details, as always, of this magnificent cat!
I guess the 1/40th was before the G&T :P
Fabulous work Sumit!
What a beautiful animal, and such sad text to go with it. Thank you for taking the trouble to find this boy.
+Sumit Sen Welcome back, Sumit! This is a truly awesome capture, and more so in view of the circumstances under which you shot this! It looks like he was posing for you! :-)
wow... next stop bandhavgarh. My ranthambore and panna trip only got me pug marks. Great shot!
Wow. He is amazing, +Sumit Sen. Thank you for sharing your story behind the photo. Certainly makes it mean so much more.

I'm feeling rather stupid, as I had no idea they were endangered. Such a shame.
Great shot +Sumit Sen I hope you don't smell something edible for tigers. :)
I am naive and romantic but I am sure that Indian will save them. It makes sense economically. Living tigers draw tourists and their hard currencies.
Dead one can be sold only once. Moving one can be rented a lot.
Considering the conditions, I'd say it one heck of a darn good shot, +Sumit Sen! Well done and thank you!
WOW...Stunning capture +Sumit Sen. Perfect detail and lovely wildlife environment :)
Great shot, sad story. I've always wanted to visit that park in India for the sole purpose of what you just did. It must have been fabulous. Thanks for sharing!
Tuan Le
You've got some steady hands Sumit. Great shot of this beautiful cat.
That's what I'm talking about, Sumit. Wonderful shot. I'm hoping that he will be here for the Detroit Tigers' Opening Day next week.
1800mm f2.8, Holy crap! Summit, that thing must be absolutly huge and weigh a ton!
Absolutely fabulous image, the low light, wobbly seat, narrow dof, and lighting makes it that much better! My hat comes off for you fine Sir!
+Sumit Sen ok so you're just fantastic, not a super human with magical powers.... I'm still impressed, BIG TIME!
That combination and to get those results.... WOW!
He is magnificent, Sumit. For us! Thank you sooooooo much! We are honored & privileged to have a friend like you. This image is beautiful:)
+Jennifer Brinkman There is utter chaos when this sort of viewing happens. There are thousands of things that go wrong and you have minutes. I managed three decent shots and one good one (will post later) in the 1 minute that I had. The tiger had stepped out to cross the main public road at closing time and there were 30 odd cars trying to get positions before the tiger decided enough was enough and stepped back into the forest. First shot at 6.07pm, last shot at 6.08pm :) Thanks Jennifer.
+Diego Cattaneo I/40th is hit-n-miss with the 180mm as it has no vibration reduction. But it compensates by being very sharp. 1/60th gets you 50% keepers. Thanks Diego.
Ada M
this is my favorite animal in the world! he is beautiful, majestic and smart! it is beyound my understanding why people, in the 21st century still believe that body parts from animals ( like rhinos, tigers, elephants or bears) have any medical effect! people, wake up! all these amazing animals will become memories in beautiful pictures!
thank you again for a beautiful picture of the most elegant and gorgeous animal!
+Laurent Coppée Thanks buddy! It was very shortly before the Black Label, very very shortly.... :)))
+Jasbir S. Randhawa He was looking at my wife and our friend with longing eyes. Those ladies looked good to eat I think :))) Thanks a lot Jasbir.
+Shivani Sharma Thanks a lot Shivani. Based on my rough calculations, you have 1 in 5 chances to spot tiger in B'garh these day, so give yourself 5 rides at least.
+Kari Johnson They are badly endangered. They are almost teetering at the brink of extinction. Thanks Kari.
+scry mettety I hope what you say is true. I am not so optimistic. The problem is that many are getting very rich in countries where tiger parts are in demand. One tiger is worth a lifetime's earning for a poor person.Thanks Scry.
+Sandy Schepis Thanks Sandy. Did get one I like at the very end, in fact the last shot. And by then I had pumped up ISO to 500 to get 1/60th. Was worth the trade-off I think. will post after I process it one of these days.
You did well with the difficult light (or lack of!). It must have been a great encounter, he looks truly majestic!
+Chris Miller Seeing tiger in the wild is always a special feeling. Thanks Chris,
So beautiful a tiger, I hope that we can save them!
Majestic! The drab surrounding has made the yellow pop nicely.
Beautiful animal.
And I think your conclusion sounds plausible and is very bad news for the tiger...
+Peter de Rooij Thanks a lot Peter. The future is very bleak and I think we should all be aware of it. It is a real uphill struggle.
Nice shot....They are so majestic..
OH! HOW EXCITING! I absolutely LOVE this! Beautiful Sumit - congrats!!
Wow, absolutely awesome. Bandhavgarh is very close to my heart. I saw my first ever tigress " kankati" there last year. It was for me like being in presence of god! I just hope they are around and we can do our part by spreading the message. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Well, what I see here... you are back and with style I see :-) great shot +Sumit Sen !
your birds are getting bigger :-)

its a very impressivee animal and your image is wonderful!!
Man's ability to destroy - and we are talking irreversible destruction - is increasing; hope we can stop this...
picture so pretty! glad you're back from your trip and again delights us with your photos. :)
wow bravo - good for you for getting this shot. So sad about the tigers. Makes my heart break.
So glad to see you back! How exciting to capture so a magnificent tiger. Poaching is deplorable!
This is just glorious +Sumit Sen! The luminous light in the brush provides the perfect frame for Opener's striking pose. Your heart must have stopped beating until you pressed the shutter! Pure perfection.
I am impressed beyond measure. Yes, many great photographers have shot iconic tiger images. But you hadn't and it needed to be done. We need to see your perspective. And it was worth the wait I didn't know I was waiting. This is stunning. Essential.
And all the more amazing for the hand held, slow shutter, jeep seat.
If this was the only thing you did while away, it was worth the trip.
Thank God for Lee being back so I don't need to think about something wonderful to write and do this photo justice. Welcome back my friend! Love the photo of this magnificent creature!
Thanks for sharing their story. Their possible plight is heartbreaking :-(
Fantastic shot, +Sumit Sen. Looks like your trip was quite productive!
+Melissa Kester Thanks Melissa. I think we need everyone to pitch in to save these and other animals pushed to the verge of extinction due to our greed!
+Monique Yates Thanks a lot Monique. Unfortunately it is means of livelihood for some.
+Raghavendra Nasare I think the highest punishment should be for those who encourage the trade. Thanks Raghavendra.
+Lee Daniels Many thanks Lee. It is even better now that I see your comment on the post. I did miss your presence. Have been getting rather careless about crossing the t's and dotting the i's of late :-)
+Tom Tran It was a good trip Tom, thanks. Glad you liked the shot!
Wes Lum
Welcome back Sumit!
You're back! Great you go the chance to photograph this tiger! Great shot!
+Sumit Sen this is awesome, I am sold, I am looking to retire in early 2014 I am coming to India for my retirement present.
This is a winning image +Sumit Sen for many reasons. First because it is beautifully captured, second is because you posted it especially for us and third but not the least for the awareness that this picture brings of the Bengal tiger's threatened status. Thank you for making that special trip to photograph the endangered tiger and for this wonderful share.
Nice shot! Looks like Mr Opener likes candid send him a print :)
Absolutely fantastic! It breaks my heart that humans continue on a path of destruction despite the known damage they are causing. What a beautiful animal. And welome home!
+Raj Phukan I am sure you will see one sooner than later :) Thanks Raj.
lovely post for its important subject and the beauty that is 'opener'.

lets hope he gets a long life of making lots of tiger cubs.

sadly i doubt it seeing how India now seems to walk hand in hand with africa and other nations before it where the road to extinction is a joyful one full of $$ and no concern for our lovely wildlife.

Glad you got to see one while they still are around Sumit and while shot in challenging conditions its a nice photo too.

thanks for sharing :-)
+Mikael sh Thanks Mikael. I think illicit wildlife trade is a many billions of dollars business, and no country can fight it on its own. Unless the demand stops, the animals are doomed in whichever country they may be.
sadly true +Sumit Sen im 100% agreeing with you.

for this to end it will require every/most countries in the world working together. if not tigers,rhinos, sharks and other wildlife like them will vanish without a doubt
Sumit beautiful photos in his natural environment!
Wonderful +Sumit Sen this is magnificent ! Wondering how far you were from this beauty. Welcome back!!! 
great capture, wonderful expressivity, nice to see it in its natural habitat like this ... thanks!
It is quite beautiful, +Sumit Sen - and such a sad story. Thank you for taking this for us.
Wow! I can only imagine the excitement of seeing this animal in the wild.
A very nicely done photograph (definitely worth seeing up large), and an interesting background story about the plight of the tigers. Thanks for sharing Sumit - sounds like you had a great trip!
What a magnificent animal +Sumit Sen thank you so much for capturing and sharing this special image!
Just being able to sight such a gorgeous animal in the wild would be very exciting +Sumit Sen , your heart must have been beating fast! I think I hold my breath the whole time I have an animal in my viewfinder in the wild lol. It gets tiring!
+Gail Beerman I actually wanted to get a shot this time. There have been many occasions in the past when we have moved away from tiger shows (as we call them) because we had no interest in the photography and because we felt that Indian wildlife conservation was too tiger-centric. Also the fact that i have met many tigers in my youth on foot in our forests has something to do with it! But irrespective, a tiger in the wild is always a very special feeling no matter how many times you have seen one!
There is something about the elusive yet strong nature of the big cats that is so captivating +Sumit Sen , thank you for sharing this work.
I dream of it always, to shoot a photo of a tiger in the wild! My congratulations! +Sumit Sen
I enjoy coming to India, but only if you lead me! ;-) +Sumit Sen Perhaps you can arrange for us all (G+) something?
When the time freezes.. ! TFS.
+Robert SKREINER It is an idea that I have given thought to. If some members are interested it can be arranged.
Fabulous contribution - and what an amazing animal. So sad he is so in danger! Well done for finding one let alone getting such a fabulous shot of, as you say, the largest cat in the world. ThankQ from one more member of G+...
So tragic, but I'm glad you made the effort to get this shot. He's magnificent. Great shoot too for 1/40th sec!
+Ben Locke Thanks Ben. The short lens made this possible, the larger one would have been useless in the light available.
Nice shot...well done +Sumit Sen I would love to go back to Bandhavgarh to shoot some tigers. Our Guide and friend Pinku took us Tiger sighting 2 times/day and on small trips around the countryside in between our trips into the park. ;-))
+Petri Olderhvit Tiger sightings have reduced in Bandhavgarh because of route controls and because the older territorial males have been lost. It needs a while for a new male to establish control and that affects sightings of females and cubs as well.
+Sumit Sen Glad you got to see one in the wild. I was there last year and had so many special sightings. Although it can be a bit frustrating, the route control does work and gives everyone a chance to spend some time with them.
I was born and raised in Africa and cannot recall my excitement at seeing my first lion ( i was too young). I can however recall my excitement at seeing my first tiger in the wild and it was special indeed. Thanks for sharing
+Wayne Marinovich Thanks a lot Wayne. We have lions in Gujarat, India and I can tell you that sighting a lion and a tiger are vastly different experiences. Also the lions in Gir are almost tame although they are truly wild.
So many people have rightly sang your praise for this image +Sumit Sen, it is fantastic--especially considering the circumstances. You were a jungle boy? Didn't Kipling write about you?
Seeing my first Tiger was without doubt the most amazing experience of my life. A sighting much lke this. I've returned to India so many times now and the excitement of just a glimpse of a Tiger, is as strong as ever.
+Mike Haley You telling me! I have been privileged to see tiger from my youth but every meeting is still filled with anticipation and excitement.
Thanks Mike.
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