We took this photograph on an evening safari in one of India’s major wildlife parks, The Pench Tiger Reserve. We discovered the pleasures of safari and wildlife photography when we were based in Africa and this trip was our first ever wildlife photography trip to an Indian park. In Pench, tigers are the main attraction and they were our primary photographic focus.
Tiger sightings are usually extremely crowded affairs as all the vehicles in the vicinity descend on the sighting. In this case, we were late to the sighting and therefore got a very oblique point of view of the action and our view was obstructed by trees and branches. From this position, our only option of a good shot was if the tiger were to walk on the dam wall between two trees and so we focused on that spot and waited. To our joy it did walk there and we managed to fill the frame with it walking. We wanted to showcase size and power and therefore were very clear that we wanted a tight shot and not a wide one.
We strongly believe that photography requires deliberate post processing and this photo was no different. Photos of tigers walking, in colour, are a dime a dozen and we did not want to add to that list. Additionally this was our first ever wild tiger sighting and were very keen that we wanted the awe and thrill that we felt to come across really strongly in the photo. Conventional colour or black and white processing was not going to do this. What worked for us that there was soft side lighting on the tiger and some light was also reflected from the dam that it was walking on. We tried to let these highlights stand out by darkening all the midtones and shadows, especially in the background, and suddenly saw that the photo was transforming into something much more emotional and impactful. We used Photoshop dodge and burn as well as Silver Efex Pro for this edit.