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Ranthambhore Feb 2018: Tigers galore!


janzin

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xelas

@janzinmore fantastic photos. But one photo does it for me; Mona Lisa is the greatest painting in the world but I will never (again) wait in that line to see it. I have the same feeling about tigers in India :wacko:; probably spoiled by lack of similar traffic jams in Etosha and elsewhere we have been.

 

About your PP: so I recon you do most of the work with NX-D, save it in jpeg and then add the border and title in PWP; do you resize while in NX-D or you resize when in PWP?

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Towlersonsafari

Can I just add my two penneth worth-what splendid photo's and what a wonderful experience @janzin   and what a fine way to spend my lunch time reading your report in one go.thanks very much indeed

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janzin
10 hours ago, xelas said:

@janzinmore fantastic photos. But one photo does it for me; Mona Lisa is the greatest painting in the world but I will never (again) wait in that line to see it. I have the same feeling about tigers in India :wacko:; probably spoiled by lack of similar traffic jams in Etosha and elsewhere we have been.  I hear ya @xelas and I hate the crowds as well...who doesn't! But to be honest, seeing a tiger in the wild is such an amazing experience, life-changing actually, that I would gladly suffer the crowds if necessary. After all, India is pretty much the only place to see them so what's the current option?  Fortunately as noted in this report it is (fairly) easy to avoid the crowds at RTH on an all-day safari.

 

About your PP: so I recon you do most of the work with NX-D, save it in jpeg and then add the border and title in PWP; do you resize while in NX-D or you resize when in PWP?

Actually I do most of the work in PWP. In NX-D I mainly do things related to RAW conversion: I do initial cropping if needed, just to have a smaller file to work with; then  I adjust white balance, exposure, highlights/shadows (D-lighting); and sometimes play around with Picture Controls. Then I save it as TIF directly opening PWP (Open with... from NX-D)  Adjustments made in PWP are final crop; as needed contrast adjustments; saturation adjustments; any cloning; sharpening etc. Save as TIF in full size. Then if any noise reduction is needed, open in Topaz DeNoise, apply NR, save again as a new TIF.  Then do final resize in PWP and save as web-sized TIF. Finally, for those going on the web or here in a trip report, add the frame/caption and save as JPG. So usually I end up with five files 1) original NEF 2) full size TIF 3) TIF sized for web 4) JPG with frame or for Facebook. If NR was used, there's a fifth file--the full sized TIF with NR applied.

 

This way I always have the full sized TIF if I want to go back and refine something or process it differently, or if I want to print something.  It all sounds more complicated than it is, I can do all this in five minutes or less if there is nothing much to adjust on the photo. The frame is saved in PWP as a macro so its basically just a couple of steps and I can batch process them, only pausing to change the caption.

 

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xelas

Wow, your process is even more elaborated then my, @janzin! I have only 2 steps: everything in NX-D, save as JPEG, open in Photo mechanic, add watermark and resize to 1000 pix. I delete all but original RAW and last JPEG.

 

As for tigers, I hear you too ^_^; and when Zvezda will say I want to see tigers, my resistance will melt down quickly :D.

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Alexander33

I’m only halfway through at this point, but, wow!, those shots of Krishna and her cubs are absolutely amazing. I love all cats, but is there anything more beautiful than a tiger?  Those photos would lead me to say, “No.”

 

Thanks for this report. Looking forward to the rest!

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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Alexander33
On 6/6/2018 at 12:05 PM, janzin said:

For our time in Ranthambhore I was using the Nikon D850 with the 500E FL F4, and the D500 with the 70-200E 2.8.  Scenery was with the Fuji Xe-3 with 18-55 lens.

 

@janzin

 

Would you indulge in a few photography-related questions from someone who’s still trying to get his bearings?  Could you elaborate on the strategy behind these two choices?  You said you weren’t really pursuing small birds in Ranthambhore, so I presume that’s why you didn’t pair the 500 f/4 with the D500?  Was the choice to put the 500 on the D850 made in order to maximize image quality for the tigers? Did you ever wish for the 200-500 for more flexibility?

 

Thanks. As you can tell, I’ve not (yet) been to India!  Looking forward to the next segment when you have time. 

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janzin

@Alexander33 thanks for your kind comments.  Re: the lens/camera pairings, yes I opted to put the 500mm on the D850 because it just seemed a better fit for the situation. The full frame +500 was mostly perfect for the tigers, and the 70-200 on the DX sensor was perfect when they came close or for other mammals.  The 70-200 on the full frame would have been a little short and not as useful. I knew I was not focusing on birds here.

 

Earlier on the trip, in Gir and LRK, as the focus was more on birds, I usually had the 500mm on the D500, sometimes with the 1.4 TC as well, but I did switch it up from time to time. Honestly it was hard to decide which way to go but in Ranthambhore I decided to stick with it as listed above. What I was finding was that the 70-200 on the D850 was really too short for much of anything in these parks. No really big animals like elephants or rhino or giraffe :lol:

 

Did not miss the 200-500 on this trip as between the other two I was really covered. But of course, we were not doing any walking. The 500E F4 is very hand-holdable in a vehicle but I would not want to be hiking with it :)

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vikramghanekar

Great trip report and awesome pictures. As you rightly said, I would always recommend rooms in the main building rather than tents. We made the same mistake years ago and realised Tents are not comfortable at all. That was in December 2008 and we were freezing in tents! The tents are also close to the main road so extremely noisy for non Indian ears. Besides all the marriage parties and festivals mean added noise throughout the night, even difficult for Indian ears. 

My wife certainly would not stay in those tents again :-). Best to stay at one of the better properties around Ranthambhore or if budget is limited in one of the rooms in the main building.

Your choice of lenses is perfect for Ranthambhore. I use exactly the same equipment though D850 may be replaced by D4/D5 (I rent one of them). Best to have 24-120 F4 handy for those really close encounters too or use a mobile phone!

Great trip report once again,

Cheers,

Vikram

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On ‎6‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 8:36 PM, janzin said:

Re: the lens/camera pairings, yes I opted to put the 500mm on the D850 because it just seemed a better fit for the situation. The full frame +500 was mostly perfect for the tigers, and the 70-200 on the DX sensor was perfect when they came close or for other mammals.  The 70-200 on the full frame would have been a little short and not as useful. I knew I was not focusing on birds here.

 

Not to mention, with a D850 you can set it to crop mode when you want more reach, and even in that mode you get pretty much the same resolution as you would get on a D500!  As of last October, the 850 is also now my go-to camera.

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xelas
14 hours ago, KI-NRT said:

with a D850 you can set it to crop mode when you want more reach

 

Technically you do not get any extra reach, only smaller size files. Setting a crop mode has same result as cropping in post. Smaller file size is one benefit, better coverage of the sensor area with AF points another. 

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Galana

Coming in very late, last minute, but so pleased I caught up with this report at last.

Your photos are as always extremely good and striking in quality. Your 'luck' is also to be envied with those sightings.. Four lion is nothing special but four tigers in one shot is just plain selfish.

Stir in the Bears and a few birds and you had a trip to remember.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

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Local2542

Absolutely amazing report. And you photos are incredible! Thank you for taking the time to post - a pleasure to read it. We are planning a trip to India for Feb/Mar 2019. Trying to narrow down parks vs culture and history. I had crossed Ranthambhore off the list too casually I guess! Was thinking it would be a mad scene everywhere, but I was so taken by your encounters, I think it's back in the mix. :)

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Atravelynn

Thanks for the info on Ranthambhore Bagh.  Did your guides indicate you were extremely lucky or that this amount of tiger activity is common?  Also any comments on Feb vs later in the year for Ranthambhore?   You really had tiger heaven, plus leopards, sambur, etc.

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janzin
14 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Thanks for the info on Ranthambhore Bagh.  Did your guides indicate you were extremely lucky or that this amount of tiger activity is common?  Also any comments on Feb vs later in the year for Ranthambhore?   You really had tiger heaven, plus leopards, sambur, etc.

 

@Atravelynn I think that this season--and probably next, given the number of cubs--this amount of tiger activity was more or less normal! Especially if one does the full day safari. Who knows what the future will bring, but for the short-term future Ranthambhore is looking really hot.

 

I think February is a happy medium for sightings, especially late Feb into early March as we were. Its not yet unbearably hot and yet its hot enough that the tigers were seeking out the waterholes. From what I've heard, late March into April might be even better for sightings, but it depends on your heat tolerance. The weather/temps we had was just about perfect, and it was nice to see some green areas and water in the lakes, which brought some birds too, although we didn't pay the birds that much attention!

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Atravelynn

I have also heard you get a nicer dark green background in Feb to contrast with the orange of the  tiger.  As the season dries out the green is less intense and might even be brown.  You timed the whole thing, down to waiting for keys to appear at the zone entrance, just right!!

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The_Norwegian

Very awesome report, from start to finsih ??

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safarigirl.se

Such a beautiful report @janzin i feel totally in love! I have been dreaming of Tiger for a long time, and wow if this possible that dream must come true sooner than I though. Thank you for sharing a great TR with lots of great tips but above all very beautiful :wub:

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Double Dare

Loved this report.  Thank you for posting.

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How did I miss this report??

Wow @janzin what a spectacular time you had! Your photos are absolutely stunning!

Safari in India, and in particular Ranthambhore, have long been on my wish list. Reading your report has only inflamed my desire even more so.

Thanks so much for sharing!

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Brian's Art for Animals

amazing report. such beautiful and crisp photos.. I will be in Ranthambhore for a few days in Feb 2019. I wish to have just half your luck.

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Amylovescritters

Amazing TR and photos. India is definitely on my bucket list for wildlife. Cannot wait to hear about the next leg of the trip, and yet another Panthera species ??

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4 hours ago, Amylovescritters said:

Amazing TR and photos. India is definitely on my bucket list for wildlife. Cannot wait to hear about the next leg of the trip, and yet another Panthera species ??

 

Thanks, I've been really remiss about writing up the Gujarat part of the trip. Hope to get back to it at some point!

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