After a long gap I visited Dhikala this February, my 1st winter visit in many years. In comparison to summer months, the place is less exciting during winters. It was expected that the chances of seeing elephants would be low and same for the tiger. But whether it is winters or summers, you can’t avoid the wild goose chases in anticipation of seeing a tiger.
I wanted to sight a tiger in multiple modes but at the end I only had a glimpse of it. But Dhikala does offer a lot beyond the tiger and one can explore many things with a mid-range DSLR camera.
The fog and the morning hue: This combination offers ample opportunities to shoot against the light. A slight increase in color temperature and some play with the exposure adds a golden hue and lovely contrast, it is best to try this when the sun is at low angle.
Deciduous trees: The bare trees , devoid of leaves among the rest are not only a visual treat but also offers some opportunity to experiment with the shutter. Bringing down the shutter speed and adding a bit of camera shake creates some arty images which are worth a try.
Starry nights and some light painting: It was a long due on our “to do list”. The Sarpaduli rest house (where electricity is available only for few hours in the evening) offers a beautiful setting to try some long exposure shots. Although, the results were ordinary, we learnt many things through the trials. I must also mention here that the Sarpaduli rest house was very cozy and the caretaker was a welcoming host. One of the best rest houses, where you can cook your own food and enjoy the evening away from regular crowd at Dhikala. However, it is best to avoid this place during summers.
Magic of back-lit: The sun is usually soft during winters and the weather is full of mist. Even a simple subjects like leaves offer scope for a back lit shots. I dreamed of a tiger in such a setting but settled for a langur instead.
Jim Corbett and specially the Dhikala range is huge and has a lot to offer to the shutter bug with a keen eye. But like many other visitors, most of the time was spent on looking out for a tiger. At times we drove from the Gairal Rest house up to the Dhikala grassland following our instincts. It is hard to ignore an alarm call and equally impossible to resist a chase.
*image by Anu