Close encounters of the wild kind, as seen through M.K. Vasanth’s lens

Any photography or wildlife enthusiast will get the import of what photographer M.K. Vasanth has captured on camera. A sighting of an elephant and a tiger, in action, having a faceoff is the mother of all photography ‘moments’ in the wild, Vasanth reiterates.

As evening fell over the Kabini Forest Reserve, near Mysore, Karnataka, on May 26, avid wildlife photographer M.K. Vasanth waited with bated breath in the safari van. A tiger was trying to hunt amidst a herd of gaur (Indian wild bison).

After unsuccessfully trying for a kill, the exhausted tiger settled down. But soon a huge herd of elephant emerged. Vasanth feels the herd could have contained nearly 150 elephants, a remarkable sight in itself!

“There was a tusker in their midst. It saw the tiger and approached it, cautiously at first. Elephants are very protective creatures, when their herd is around. So it kept advancing towards the tiger threateningly and going back. This drama went on for about half an hour. The tiger also kept looking up from where he was lying down and went back to sleep. It was almost like neither cared for the other’s threat. But then suddenly they were face to face, and both stared at each other. The tiger growled and ran and the elephant chased it,” Vasanth describes the sequence of events. He shot the photographs with an older version of the Canon 60 D.

Vasanth, who also goes by the name of M.K. Nanjunda Raje Urs (“my name is so complicated even I can’t say it sometimes,” he laughs) is one of the founder-members of Save Tiger First, a conservation organisation. He runs an ad-agency in Bangalore and divides his time between here and hometown Mysore. “I’ve largely been doing advertising and commercial photography and have been concentrating on wildlife photography very seriously for the last three years. I believe this is a rare moment that I have captured and I want to share it with people, especially readers of The Hindu.”