Wildlife Photography ‘Moods Of Wildlife’ Through The Lens Of Dilip Chacko

Innocent and vulnerable. Playful yet ferocious. A little kindness here, a trifle killer instinct there. Call it their moods – Moods of Wildlife. Beasts are beautiful and they are endowed with emotions too like the Homo sapiens. Only a lucky few, those that have the sensitivity get a peek into wildlife emotions. The closest I got to was in the Kabini Reserve Forest in India. Beholding the fatherly instinct of an elephant that herded his baby into the cover of the forest and would not budge from our way till the baby disappeared into the thickets. And as he swayed his huge form to follow his child, he turned around one last time and in those tiny eyes I thought I could see relief.

This is not the elephant I encountered, but the photography of the artist Dilip John Chacko featured below.

Matriarch herd leader Timbavati Reserve South Africa

Matriarch, the herd leader at Timbavati Reserve, South Africa

Wildlife fascinates me no end, but I didn’t ever think I would get an opportunity to feature Moods of Wildlife. The Sandalwood Room provided me that. I hope this is the beginning and I get to explore my interest further. These gorgeous photo prints are on exhibition and sale at The Sandalwood Room.

The wildlife photography that follows is the work of the avid amateur wildlife photographer Dilip John Chacko, whose interest and passion for wildlife was kindled at a very young and impressionable age. He accompanied his father on two safaris at a tender age, days when safaris were primitive and tough. He braved it all and got wedded to a lifetime of passion for wildlife conservation. India and South Africa seem to be his favourite haunts.

Tigress Machli at Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve, India

Tigress Machli chilling out at Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve, India

This adorable tigress Machli is so called since she has a fish-shaped mark on her face. Machali in Hindi translates to fish. She is also known as the Lady of the Lake, rightfully so. See, animals have their favourite spots too and they like solitude! I would give anything to find out what goes on in their minds in their private moments! Machli is the most photographed tigress in India, she seems to have earned the privilege. Her fight with a 14 feet crocodile is the most talked about encounter amongst wildlife enthusiasts; in fact the first to be recorded and filmed.

Now this is probably called testing the waters. Here is a sub adult tiger doing just that perhaps.

A sub adult tiger at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve

A sub adult tiger at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve

A tigress and her cub seem to be caught up in a tender moment. This photograph brings to my mind the cat stretch that we are told to do at the gyms, except that even a dancer cannot be as graceful as the feline.

A tigress and her cub at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve

A tigress and her cub at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve

A crouching tiger does not always pounce and leap, it could just be quenching its thirst.

The tigress lapping up water at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve

The tigress lapping up water at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve

This one certainly stalking her prey. Padding softly and silently.

A tigress stalking her prey at bandhavgarh wildlife reserve india

A tigress stalking her prey at Bandhavgarh Wildlife Reserve, India

Bringing a bit of relief from the fierce and the ferocious are these gentle chitals drinking from a pond. The lens of Dilip Chacko capturing the images of the chitals beautifully in the water.

A herd of chitals at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve, India

A herd of chitals at the Ranthambore Wildlife Reserve, India

This cheetah is certainly not doing what you think it is. Not roaring but probably yawning. Did you know cheetahs cannot roar? They growl and hiss and make a few other bleat kind of noises. Would you laugh at me if I said they chirp? They do, check it out on here, but mind you the chirps can be heard for miles!

A cheetah and her cub at the Sabi Sands Reserve, South Africa

A cheetah and her languid cub at the Sabi Sands Reserve, South Africa

Do beasts enjoy the cool blow of air on their faces? Looks like they do going by the stance of this lion and its mane being swept gently across its neck and head.

An alpha male at the Maasai Mara national Reserve, Kenya

An alpha male at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Coming back to the artist, Dilip Chacko does two safaris every year. In 2010, he was privileged to go to Africa on a training trip working with two National Geographic professionals on how to shoot wildlife on the field. He was one of twelve amateur photographers selected for this programme. The photographs that he sent in from his earlier trips were his passport to an experience that will never be erased from his memory.

He is on board for several panel discussions of Aircel and Sanctuary Asia.

The Paper:

Matte : Hahnemuhle photo rag 308 gsm

Glossy: Hahnemuhle photo silk rag 308 gsm

Photo Rag is the most popular paper chosen by photographers to create high quality fine art prints. The fine, smooth surface and feel of Photo Rag lends versatility to the paper, making it ideal for printing both, black and white and colour photographs. Art reproductions on this paper make for impressive pictorial depth. They are archival quality papers.

Catch these Moods of Wildlife at The Sandalwood Room. The title Moods of Wildlife is my encapsulation of the photographs and not assigned by the artist or The Sandalwood Room. That is the way I have envisaged while writing about the photographs. The photo prints are available in specific sizes, but can be customised to suit your requirements.

The Sandalwood Room prides itself on being the only one of its kind in Singapore. It is a boutique for those who love the finer things of life and you can unwind  and feel pampered. In a store like this and for the kind of products they retail in, the touch and feel factor makes a big difference. So best to walk in and feel the experience.

  • If you have liked any of these photo prints , walk in and if you wish to place an order, email them and The Sandalwood Room will be happy to take the order and courier the item to you.
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Eye to eye with a Crab

The Crab Moment

Is this baby crab a shutter bug or was it attracted to my Aviator bluish violet shades ? Fancy thought ? Yes , maybe , but you will never know !

Nothing crabby

Nothing crabby

This little crab scurried out of its hole as I sat on the beach taking pictures of the sea and all else beautiful around. As I poised my phone camera to click this guy or girl , this is the pose I caught in that moment. Was I looking at the crab or was the crab looking at me ? It halted thus for several minutes , giving me ample time to get the best shot. I was too amazed for words ! It stayed in that position even after I had moved away my camera as if guarding its little home and darted back deep down in seconds after that. Doesnt it look endearing and curious ? Dont miss those eyes , that fixed gaze ! Later in moments of random browsing , got to read that recent research indicates crabs being able to distinguish a few colours and specially sensitive to violet.

Be that as it may , it was a simple , lovely moment I was caught in with a little Crustacean and it stayed in my mind for long.

A Dog’s Musical Evening

I am someone who runs for cover at the sight of any breed of pet dogs , but will warm up to them once we both get familiar and then I cant stop my oohs and aahs admiring and petting them. And in this case , my exclamations were even more pronounced ; you will see why.

My husband and I were visiting my cousin Anil and his wife Preeti in Mumbai ( Bombay ) , India. They , along with their son Shourya , stay in a lovely suburb of the city , called Powai. We were on a super high after taking in the beauty of Powai on a pleasantly chilly winter evening. Undulating streets lined by high fashion stores lit aesthetically would suddenly pave the way for stretches of quiet strolling parks and quaint bistros. Enticing coming together of glamour and quiet beauty , if you know what I mean.

We looked forward to a lovely evening of conversations spiced by either Jack Daniels or wine. The mood was such ! But our bubble burst when Turbo , their dog flew at my cousin on entering the house to give him his welcome hug and I froze ! The rest of the evening looked dubious. Turbo , I knew would hover around me and I would have to learn to get comfortable with him. I wasn’t quite looking forward to the task , but had no heart to ask them to lock him up either.

Soon enough glasses of drinks clinked , Turbo did his rounds of sniffing and snuggling amidst our cheery , loud conversations and laughter till that singing moment and mood came in. Turbo had tired of us by then and prepared himself to shut us all out and snooze on the soft sofa. I sang a peppy number to some appreciation. My husband , who is gifted with the talent but at most times makes a fuss when asked to sing , surprised us when he took up next.

I am a big fan of his singing and he started with this Hindi melody “Rim jhim gire saavan” , sung enchantingly by Kishore Kumar. Hardly was he into the second line of the song , when Turbo , who had all along tucked his face into his forepaws and was probably entering dream world , looked up and around and fixed his gaze soulfully on my husband.

The soulful looking up

The soulful looking up

In the next instant , he got out of the sofa , walked towards my husband gently , licked his elbows and snuggled even closer to him. I worried at that moment that the singing would stop , because my husband is not particularly accommodative with pets in general. But no , to my surprise , he even started stroking Turbo gently on his neck. I sat there transfixed , watching both. Turbo then nestled himself on my husbands foot peacefully , turning to look up at him every few seconds. The song got over and as we all cheered , Turbo got up from where he was sitting , walked across the room , climbed the sofa and curled himself once again to sleep.

It amazed me and amused me no end. I even forgot to take pictures of the –man-and-the-animal-bonding-over-music-moment ! That was my first taste of such cute animal behavior. And at that moment I didn’t think I would be writing about Turbo in my blog , so it is going without pictures.

I did google on ‘do dogs love music’ after that and yes , read lots about how dogs and cats and some other animals calm down to soothing , gentle classical music.and how music is being used at vet clinics and hospitals to treat animals of some ailments. But dogs seem to be very sure of what music they like and want , no pop or rock genres for them ! No wonder Turbo ignored my singing !

While its one thing to see them enjoying music and calm down , it’s quite another to see this dog walking that extra mile in quiet appreciation. Not much of an animal person , but truly delighted to discover their sensitivity and in that dear Turbo has been my teacher.

Samaritan Monkey

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.”

Mind is a monkey is quoted often , most of the time to mean that mind can play havoc ! But look at this monkey that lent a hand just in time to two women struggling to get a job done.
A close look at the picture will reveal the flower of a plantain tree in the hands of the monkey. You would think the monkey intended to eat it , but no.
monkey peeling banana flower

The Samaritan Monkey

A group of about 20 of us were  at a temple in the outskirts of Chennai ( South India ) celebrating the 60th birthday of a family member. Rituals in full swing in one part of the temple while in the makeshift kitchen , frayed tempers as 2 cooks raced against time to whip up a festive meal. The supplies had come in late. The heat of the noon made it worse and amidst all this , a monkey that had perched itself on the roof of the kitchen swoops down , only to pick up the banana flower and a sheet of paper , trots away and seats itself where you see it in the pic.
Incidentally in South India , banana flower fritters are a delicacy that is served in festive meals. But our banana flower here was gone , no , going away ! We tried to scare the animal away in the hope of retrieving the flower , but the monkey ignored us ! Our helplessness or anger turned to amazement as the monkey started peeling segments of the flower and throwing them down on the paper that it had snatched from the kitchen ! In less than 5 minutes , the flower had been stripped of its segments ( our cooks would have needed half an hour ). And as we stood watching marveling at its dexterity , the ape chucked the stem of the flower across the wall , swung to the other pillar and made its way to I don’t know where.
Lost for words , we were. The banana flower fritters got made alright and they tasted special , the labour of the mammal had infused an extra dollop of yumminess !
Mr Monkey was the talk of the town for the next 2 days. Sheer coincidence that my earlier blog detailed the sensitivity of crows and now a monkey ! Some monkey behaviour , this !

Mister #Crow , Master #Crow

I am a Crow. My name is Bob. But the grand old lady calls me Baba.

We , birds also tire of flying sometimes and we land on the nearest safest perch. And we get to see so much happening around us , some of which we don’t understand.

My friend is also a bird. “My name is Ramu and I am a parrot” , he first introduced himself ! I felt lost , what was he saying ? He kept mouthing more gibberish and I looked away because it seemed like he was showing off ! After a bit , he returned to our bird language and we trotted along together , Ramu in his cage and me on the outside. Every time  we met , the first few lines would be what he had learnt the previous day and when he ran out of words in that strange language , he would slip back into our tiny world. We crows are an intelligent breed you see , birds with a brain , so I started recognising some words. I learnt some , but I am not a parrot , I cannot mimic even , let alone speak ! So I learnt that Ajay who is always moving around in that house is a man and Amma who never leaves her chair is a woman. And I watched how Ajay painstakingly taught Ramu new words everyday. They even had a conversation , it sounded so nice , I wanted to do so too with my family and friends around me , living in neighbouring trees. We get together several times in a day. We have so much to share in a language of our own.

So yesterday , after flying around for a while , I perched myself on the wall of some place , don’t know what it’s called and saw one man distributing food to many. We recognise food anywhere and I flew in there too , but they shooed me away. I went back to my perch. Suddenly they were all flying at each other in anger , trying to grab more food than was being given. I was stunned , nevertheless took my chance of trying to peck at the food that had been strewn on the floor , but they shooed me away again. I felt sad and flew away to another place and thought of the scene every morning , when The Man Ajay feeds us with crumbs of bread and sometimes some very tasty stuff.

It has become a habit now. We have a way of sensing time , we crows. My fellow crows and me wait on the branches of the trees or we fly around till we see him step out of the house with food in his hand. He pieces food into bits and lays them on the wall of the compound , looking around for us. I am sure he can’t recognise us one from the other , we all look the same. The one closest to the food swoops down and takes his pick or two and moves away. We take turns to land on the wall , sometimes waiting at a distance till our friend ahead of us is done. Sometimes , some of us don’t get any at all , its alright , we don’t fly at each other , we go looking for food elsewhere and when we do find some we caw out to our family and friends to come and share it with us. Period !Featured image

mythoughtlane :  The ‘food to the crows’ scene is not imaginary , I witness this every morning in my neighbourhood , amazed and left wondering at the same time.