Proud and Confident
In February 2008 I had the privilege to go to Bandhavgarh National Park in India. The main objective was to see and photograph tigers, which I was fortunate enough to do. My first four sightings, although memorable (we did get to see tigers after all) were not exactly conducive to the type of photography I had hoped to capture. The first night we were in the park we saw a tiger fairly deep in the forest. Jeeps were jockeying for position and we would catch glimpses of this amazing cat, but no photos. Our next two encounters were of different tigresses sleeping in the grass. To view them we were taken by elephant, which was a pretty cool experience, although with mixed feelings, realizing that these elephants were not able to live in freedom. The fourth tiger sighting was of a tiger walking through the forest, also from elephant back, but I was on the wrong side of the elephant.
This is an image of the Mahaman tigress with one of her nearly grown cubs. Our driver and guide saw a flash of movement in the forest and they quickly shut off the car. We heard the low grunting roars of the tigress calling her three cubs. Through the thick cover we saw each of the young tigers as they joined their mother. Our driver and guide drove down the road abit to allow the family to cross. We were the only jeep there and we were worried others might scare the tigers away if they came by. What seemed like hours, but was only minutes, we waited for them to emerge. First the tigress came out, and then one of her cubs darted across the road. Another cub darted across after. The tigress stopped in the center of the road looking at the jeep we were seated in. Eventually the last two tiger cubs came out, with one pausing just ahead of its mother. The young tiger looked up at the mighty tigress with a look of pride and confidence that she will guide and protect them. It made for my most memorable moment and favorite photo of the trip. This was that moment.