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Hello Lions!

Mar 22, 2017 - 0 comments

By Sahil Kanojiya

Lions have held an important position in India's mythology, royalty as well as folklore.Popularly known as the Asiatic lions, these species are known for their muscular strength all over the world. 

In ancient India, lions were considered to be a symbol of human power and bravery. One of the tests for showing might was to defeat lions in the field. Many ancient paintings are a testimony to this. Moreover, Indian Ashoka Emblem also sports four fearless lions on it as a symbol of power and strength.

These lions were present in most parts of south-west Asia earlier. However, poaching and hunting have restricted their presence. Today, the last of the Asiatic lions are found only in the Gir forest in Subcontinent India. The biological name for these lions is Panthera Leo Persica and are now listed under endangered species.

Asian Lions are genetically different from sub-Saharan African lions but physically, one cannot notice much difference. Both these species have been genetically isolated from each other since the last 100,000 years. 

One of the most noticeable physical difference observed in the Indian Lions is the presence of a longitudinal fold of skin running along the belly which makes them different from African lions. Most of the Indian Lions are smaller in size as compared to African lions. Because of this, their ears are also easily visible which also makes them distinct from African lions. The average male Asian lion weighs around 160-190 kg while females weighs around 110-120 kg.

Asiatic lions are highly social in nature and love to live in social units called prides. Prides are usually calculated on the basis of the average population of adult females. On an average, the Asiatic prides are smaller compared to African prides with just two adult females while later one have 4 to 6 adult females. 

Adult male Indian lions are comparably less social than their African counterparts and can be seen as a part of these prides either while hunting larger preys or while mating. This could also be due to the availability of smaller preys in the forest of Gir.

Chital and the sambar deer are the favourite prey of these lions. But most of the times, they feed on domestic cattle that often causes conflicts between human and lions. This is due to essay availability of domestic cattle which are easier to hunt as compared to some big wild animal.

The average age is 3- 4 years old at which Asian female lioness becomes sexually mature while for male Asian lion, it is between 5 and 8 years. The females give birth to litters of between 1 and 5 cubs. The breeding life of both Asian male and females can continue till they are 15 years old. 

The average life span of Asian lions is about 17-18 year and by max can go up to 21 years, while for males on average lives to 16 years.Due to continuous poaching of these lions, their population dropped significantly and are now just exists as a single subpopulation. The species is included in endangered species list of IUCN Red List due to continuous drop in their population.

Photography restrictions Off; In-flight selfies On

Dec 29, 2016 - 0 comments

The Civil Aviation Ministry of India has removed restrictions on Photography and here is what you need to know

Wondering why your Facebook timeline has not been throwing up in-flight selfies of your friends? It is not economic slowdown leading to less number of trips.

In fact, in-flight selfies had been banned by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in September this year.

Now you know that your friends have indeed been travelling all this while.  

DGCA’s official statement had said that there have been ….many instances wherein cockpit crew has indulged in photography in the cockpit. In few instances, both pilots were away from the aircraft controls when the photographs were taken.

That sounds scary! No wonder flyers were not allowed to take pictures or selfies while boarding or alighting from an aircraft.

In fact, six pilots of an Indian airlines had come under the scanner for taking pictures in the cockpit.

The good news is that last week, the DGCA announced removal of restrictions on photography. However, photography from inside an aircraft at Defence aerodromes is still now allowed.

The statement issued by the authority read as follows:

Removal of Restrictions on Photography: Hitherto, air passengers in India faced restrictions on photography at terminal buildings of aerodromes and from inside an aircraft. These restrictions have now been removed. Photography by passengers of scheduled flights in terminal buildings of civil aerodromes and civil enclaves of Defence aerodromes is now allowed. Passengers are now also permitted to take photographs from inside an aircraft while in flight or landing/take off at civil aerodromes. However, photography from inside an aircraft is not permitted at Defence aerodromes.

(Source: http://www.civilaviation.gov.in/sites/default/files/moca_000768_0_0.pdf )

In India, photography from an aircraft is prohibited without prior permission from authorities under the Aircraft Rules, 1937. 

Stay tuned for our exclusive story on Drone Photography in India

Contest: Answer and win Wildlife Photography Gift Hamper from Nature Lounge

Jul 04, 2016 - 0 comments

Nature Lounge has partnered with Kaadoo, the amazing wildlife board game. It is indeed interesting and as real as it gets out there in the jungle. You can pick it up at a 15% discount on our website till stocks last.

CLICK HERE FOR A DISCOUNT on KAADOO 

Now, tell us what does "Kaadoo" mean and in which language? Lucky three winners will get exclusive photography gift hampers from Nature Lounge. Contest results will be announced on July 11th.

And here is a personal letter to all of you from the Chief Creator of Kaadoo, Dinesh Kumble. 

Dear Nature Lounger,

Greetings from Kaadoo !!! 

I am Diinesh Kumble, Chief Creator of Kaadoo - The Big Game and I take great pleasure in writing to you and introducing this wonderful nature and wildlife themed board game.  In a nutshell Kaadoo is: 

  • Essentially your wildlife safari on the go.
  • Inspired by the diversity of wildlife on our planet, it is an an ideal board game for families and friends.
  • It has been conceived by wildlife enthusiasts with the objective of introducing children to the wonders of wildlife through a format that incorporates elements of game science, strategy, observation and cognition.
  • At the same time, the game is uncomplicated enough for a first timer to pick up the rules quickly, thereby encouraging spontaneous bonding.
  • Kaadoo is very child safe and adult friendly. A lot of thought has gone into the choice of materials that are used in the production of the board, the pawns and the dice.

We are proud of the fact that we are the only board game that WWF India is endorsing. This means that the game, the cards and other game components undergo a process of diligence by WWF India's conservation team. The factoids on the cards, the pictures themselves have been approved by WWF India and a portion of the sale proceeds goes to their Conservation Fund. 

As of now, two editions of Kaadoo covering the Nilgiri Biosphere and the East African Savannah are available in the market. The next two editions covering Central India (branded Tiger Trail) and Western India (branded Lions' Bastion) are due for release by July 31st. 12 more editions covering the Arctic, Antarctic, Amazon, Eastern India, Himalayan foothills, Australia, Madagascar. Oceans of the World are due for release before March 2017.  

I am also delighted to announce this partnership between Kaadoo and Nature Lounge whereby we are offering all you nature lovers an exclusive, limited period  15%  off on the product's MRP and free shipping. You can avail this offer by ordering the product on Nature Lounge before July 15th, 2016.

Happy Kaadooing !!!! 

Diinesh Kumble

 

Date with the wild in style: Wildlife Photographer Neeraj Bantia

Jul 04, 2016 - 0 comments

A lot of effort is required to survive in the competitive wildlife photography market of India

In the words of Neeraj Bantia...

Photography began at a very young age of 10 when I was gifted a Kodak camera point & shoot camera. It used to come with a 36-slot reel. Shooting family portraits is how my love for Photography started. I am a jeweler by profession and photography is a passion today. I love to capture memories for a lifetime through the viewfinder. 

PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONTEST AND WIN AN EXCLUSIVE WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY HAMPER FROM www.NATURELOUNGE.in 

My discovery of the woods started as a teenager and I soon realized that I was not cut out for the club culture. My kind of holidays would be holidaying in the lap of nature. This is how my love for wildlife photography started and I decided to upgrade to a basic DSLR.

Every click evolves you as a photographer and hones your skills. So, I believe it is very important for a photographer to create that image in the head before clicking it. I respect professional full time photographers for it is no cake walk. You are in that mode all the time. I, being a part of a close-knitted family, would like to keep photography as a passion and a hobby. 

Moreover, it is not easy to survive in the wildlife photography market of India. You are required to to be a top most professional with incredible technical knowledge. So many commercial tour operators and photographers are struggling to make their mark even after so many years of starting out. 

One cannot start making one with just one DSLR camera body and a telephoto lens.

I have been following national as well as international photographers closely. I am really fortunate to have met Andy Rouse during one of my trips to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. I also look upto Steve Winter and Michael 'Nick' Nichols for their brilliant photography. 

In the Indian circle, I am a fan of Sudhir Shivram, Giri Cavale, Praveen Siddannavar, Thomas Rajan & Thomas Vijayan.

I believe that if a photographer can understand which equipment to carry during which season of the year keeping the dynamics of the park in mind. 90% of the work is done for sure. It's like a cricket bat... The right bat definitely makes u score better it's just the other aspects which needs to be implied at the right time. 

Am a canon user and my love for canon has never changed since I began my journey. I again use my equipment purely depending on which park am visiting after trying to understand the flora & fauna of that reserve. It can be either a 25-105 to 70-200 to a 200-400 or even a 500 again. But then a canon 1dx, 5dm3 & 7dm2 are my favourite for wildlife photography.

However, India today has so many wildlife photographers. Thanks to the Bollywood flick "3 Idiots" that opened many more doors got many more people to take to wildlife photography. At the same time, we are at the golden era of revolution of wildlife photography in India. We have started leaning and evolving as photographers and we have access to social media as well to showcase our work.

So when we talk about photographers selling their images, today, we have some fine prints being sold from thousands of INR to even thousands of USDs.  

And when I venture out into the wild, everything I wear needs to be camouflaged with nature, right from my attire to my camera equipment to my photography accessories: my lens coat, my arm sleeves, my balaclava, my gloves, my neck scarf, my cap/hat, to my mobile phone panel and even my footwear.       

Well, I like my date with the tigress in style.   

 

Buy wildlife photography accessories in India

 

 

Photography tales of a solo traveller -- Anjaly Thomas

May 18, 2016 - 0 comments

Anjaly Thomas, a well-published travel author, shares her photography secrets...

There are many things a photographer would want to do the right way. From the camera equipment to suitable weather care to on-field photography accessories -- one needs to be well prepared. After all, photographers swear by their equipment.

How different is it when one uses photography as a tool to tell tales? For Anjaly Thomas, pictures are a way to narrate her travel experiences. 

You are a well-published writer. Are you a photographer too?

As I always say - “I am a bad photographer, but I tell interesting stories.” In all fairness, I am not at all that bad, and at time (more out of luck) something brilliant shines through. But as a traveler, my focus is more on observing and feeling things around me. After a point, life through the lens becomes a drag – I like the wide angles naked eyes can see!

There is a saying which sums this up nicely - the mind remembers the most important things – what it doesn’t, isn’t important. Of course, I don’t always go by that philosophy, because I am guilty of having thousands of pictures from so many of my trips, but even that amount of practice hasn’t made me a better photographer! Some pictures make me cringe even today – and one particular (and rather brilliant picture of a fort I’d taken) makes me want to cry – because in all the eagerness of getting the best shot, I didn’t notice the smear on the lens, which only became visible as a blur on the picture!

What equipment do you use for photography? 

I have different types of equipment and often, I end up not using half of those! My favourite is of course my Canon (complete with lens and all), I have a digital waterproof camera, GoPro, iPhone and an old Sony handycam – which of late hasn’t been used. I swear by Canon – I am very comfortable with it but I think it’s time for me to upgrade!

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as a photographer?

FIVE! I might sound ambitious giving myself that score, but I think I qualify for a 5. I will admit that till date I haven’t managed to shoot a decent picture in manual mode (except for the times when I really got lucky and had time on hand), but I think I do okay with the auto setting.

When you travel solo, how do you manage to get clicked? 

I always walk up to any random person and ask them to take a pic! It is also a great conversation-opener and it turns out that everyone I meet does know something about shooting. Sometimes I end up losing a part of myself in the picture or being out of focus, but that is the price I pay. Yeah, the solution to this would ideally be learning to shoot in self mode – but I have never fancied that – also, I detest selfie sticks. There are trips I have made where I do not have a single picture of mine – but again, that’s okay really. I am happy to get what I get, if not, it doesn’t matter! But yes, when all else fails, strangers to the rescue!

Any photography hack you would like to share with our readers? 

No. Not really. The best option, in my opinion is to ask someone around to take a photo. I know not many will agree to this – but hey, not every person in the world is waiting to run away with your camera! I have never had any unpleasant confrontations with anyone trying to run off with my camera! So, I still stand by this – and trust me, I have been in places where people believe there will be someone waiting to snatch my camera and run! Show them you trust them with your precious camera, they will keep up that trust!

What things does one keep in mind while travelling to write a book?

The most important thing is to keep an open mind. Do not have a plan or the structure of the book in mind. Once you have traveled, sit down, go over everything you have seen, witnessed, liked, hated, the important things and the not-so important things and then make a plan. Often you will see that what you thought was absolutely important, aren’t so anymore.  

It is also very important to remove “yourself” from the main frame – the story should be told through you, but you shouldn’t become the story. Writing a story is like taking a brilliant picture – after a point, it gets tiring to see “you” in the frame – it is best to step aside for the views to unfold.

Also, travel writing is different to fiction or autobiography – it is research based and yet cannot be “dry” or uninteresting. The trick to realize what makes your travel different from the last person who visited the same spot – travel to me not always about a destination, it is about people and food and their everyday lives, their culture and their stories told through me.

The Camera I shall not take on my next trip

May 18, 2016 - 0 comments

Be honest: There are many a things you wish you did not have to lug around when on a holiday. I have my own strange reasons...

We women are indeed funny at times. We pack extra outfits for that ‘just in case’ moment. We sneak in that dress which has never fit us till date but expect it to miraculously look good during a holiday. I am guilty of packing extra sanitizers just in case I misplace one. I cannot decide on that one lip gloss shade, so pack the entire lot. The list is endless.

I am certainly not on a self-discovery mode! But then, I stumbled upon this intriguing post on a women-only Facebook forum. One lady popped up a question: “What should I not pack for my next holiday”.

Ah, we can talk on any topic for hours! Isn’t that God’s gift?  

It takes ten women, one Facebook forum, a Sunday and a lot of patience to ferociously debate how carrying toiletries are an unnecessary ‘baggage’. We threw logic out of the window—some of us could be backpackers or medically bound by a particular brand but yes, toiletries were added to the list of “What should I not pack for my next holiday”.

We also touched upon a very touchy topic—books. Why bring books when you are out discovering the world? Do you take books with you and regret bringing them? Have any of you left back a favourite book at the hotel?

Certainly, we are not sans humour. One of us makes it a point not to take her “EX” with her to any of the future trips! Now, isn’t that deep! Leave behind the past baggage and come back afresh! Amen to that though.

Oh yes, I have another confession to make. I actually packed in a pair of heels with me to one of the hill stations. Why? Just in case we have a nice roof top dinner and I get a chance to wear a dress. Yes, I can hear you saying that the dress should also have been left behind! Well, such is life.

Amidst all this, I realised there is something else that I carry with me always and I am going to get rid of this habit right here, right now.

Thanks to my venture on photography accessories in India -- Nature Lounge, I like capturing images just to understand the pain points of a photographer. As such, I enjoy using my eye lens—nature did provide us with the best camera and memory card. Coming back to the main point, I am so enthusiastic about making the best of the trip that I over do certain things.

The last time I was at India’s Corbett National Park, I was actually sitting in the safari vehicle with one DSLR, one GoPro, a binoculars-cum-camera and my mobile camera. It was only when I saw a wildlife photographer in the adjacent jeep that I realised how stupid it comes across as. This gentleman was trying to juggle between a video camera and a DSLR loaded with a super telephoto lens for still images!

I owe it to you sir for showing me the mirror!

Is there anything you do not wish to take on your next trip? Let me know—funnier, the better!

The most photogenic places in Paris

Mar 10, 2016 - 0 comments

How can you not fall in love with Paris? Your lens will follow your steps..

Paris has it all, gothic architecture and elegance personified. It is a beautiful city, for women love to dress up and walk down the streets in style, men love to match their footsteps and the tourist wants to one among the classy crowd. 

The houses are well decorated, just like in any fairy tale, the shops wear a bright Parisian smile with their beautiful arrangements and centerpieces. 

 

No doubt then, Paris is indeed a delight for photographers. Settle your eyes on anything--structures, buildings, streets, towers, people, footwear or just the flowers lining the streets. It is a happy city.

 

Your camera will love all of this provided you are at the right place at the right time. But, what is the right time? None, infact! The Eiffel tower looking towering during the day time and brightens up your mood with the illuminated version at sunset. Just that when we travel, we are short pressed for time. Therefore, it is liberating enough if we can make an informed decision to shoot something during the day time and give the night shot a miss. As long as we know what we want from the shoot, it should be fine. What do you think?

 

So, let us walk you through some of the best photogenic places in Paris. And you can say merci later!

  • It is the city of lights, so you would love to get some pics of Notre Dame, Tour de Eiffel, Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. In fact, some of the best photos of Paris are in black and white. It is not easy and a bit difficult to show the city of lights in shades of black and white, but what is life sans challenges? 
  • Another tip that most professional photographers vouch by for cities that live, for countries that have a soul, is using wide-angle lenses. Instead of clicking just the monuments, keep some drama in the foreground. And trust humans like us to add enough drama. You would be visibly surprised that you can differentiate a Parisian from a tourist very easily, just by the dressing sense! 
  • We have got some amazing pics of just the footwear. Paris is the fashion capital of the world and it seems as if everyone on the street has worn the most stylish shoes and is participating in a fashion parade. Get some dancing feet, some confident gait, a spring in the walk and see the shoes talk! You get it, right? 
  • It isn't just Madame Mona Lisa, there are so many beautiful museums that take your breath away with just the architecture. Imagine what they might have in store when you take a walk inside.  
  • People walk a lot in Paris and the longer than usual stroll from Arc de Triumph to the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre museum with take you through the most stylish markets, corner eating joints, beer shops, florists, a bridge full of locks and a dream stream with boats cruising. You will see the much-in-love elderly couples walking hand-in-hand. Don't forget to smile back at them though!

 

Our suggestions:

  • To get the best pics of the Eiffel tower, go to some of the tall buildings in the neighbouhood.
  • Come down to the base of the Eiffel tower and get some majestic pics with the sun rays shining but remember to be there early in the morning before the sun is too bright.
  • Walk down to the nearby pedestrian market called Rue Cler
  • Remember to accommodate the Eiffel tower towards the evening to see the illuminated structure that sparkles every 30 mins. 

 

We believe that photographer Moran Brenn does an amazing job at clicking Paris. We suggest that you should check out this website for tips www.moyanbrenn.com

Photography opportunities in India's Rajasthan - Lakshman Sagar

Dec 17, 2015 - 0 comments

Good photography opportunities are generally found in hinterlands

India wins hands down as one of the most photogenic places in the world. You can head in any direction and there are ample photo opportunities. 

Let us make your job easier and help you with some hidden gems. This time it is the state of Rajasthan. From hills to deserts, from culture to heritage, blues to pinks and days to nights, the state has it all. What is it that is hidden?

This place is equidistant from both Ajmer and Jodhpur--about 120 kilometres. A hunting lodge of an erstwhile Thakur that has been converted into a palace is what we are talking about. It breathes history and exudes warmth and culture of Rajasthan.

Here is what you should be looking at to bring back some amazing photographs.

  • At the entry of the hotel, you will see two structures--one in blue (the mardana quarters for the men) and the other one in pink (the zanana quarters for the women). These stand tall overlooking a beautiful lake. Imagination is yours and the sky is the limit. You can shoot it during the early morning hours for the soft feel or during the night when the property is lit up.

  • The zanana quarter is a tall structure amidst a village that has no towering structures. You know as a photographer that this is the best place to shoot sun rise and sun set. You can check with the staff that is quick to help you with the exact sun rise and sun set timings. Remember to fully charge your equipment for you might end up video-graphing the sun rise or sun set. 
  • Also, on a clear day, the night sky is to die for. The beauty of the place is enhanced with innumerable stars in the sky. Trust us, you would not have seen such a star lit sky ever before in a city. We suggest you can take long exposure shots here. 

  • In fact, from the zanana quarters, you can click pictures of their swimming pool that looks like a crater on the moon. When lit at the night, it is an amazing place for a nice fashion shoot! Of course, do check with the staff for permissions before hand. 
  • If you happen to be an early riser, you could probably check with the hotel that can arrange for a naturalist and all the wildlife and nature photographers out here can enjoy the antelopes, turtles, reptiles and many birds that rarely visit us in the cities. Kingfishers are found in abundance. 
  • There is something for you too if you are more into street photography! How about capturing some street photography of a village? You can dine with the locals, shoot them toil in the fields, check out local markets, making on pakoras, carpets with camel skin, harvesting in the organic farms and what not.
  • Just ask the hotel staff to take you to the nearest rail crossing. And it is a sight to see the local children rejoice at the very sight of a train crossing past their village. For many, the train brings back family members. It is amazing to capture the emotions here. 
  • How can we miss out on what you can do sitting back in your cottage. You have a private pool that over looks the lake. You also have all the traditional Rajasthani artifacts inside the room that is complete with some local games.

     

If you manage to be here, you should ideally be able to a small documentary on the villagers who depend on this hunting lodge for their livelihood. They have many a tales to tell. You can engage in pottery too. In fact clicking pictures of pottery never goes out of fashion, does it? 

 Images: https://www.facebook.com/Sewara.LakshmanSagar 

Camera Accessories – must have for a photographer

Oct 10, 2015 - 0 comments
We recently stumbled upon a link [this], a website followed by many photographers. Since we found it useful, here we bring to you some of its contents: a must have camera accessories list for your camera bag.

Disposable Hand Towel

Oct 10, 2015 - 0 comments
Towels are synonymous with our civilization. Understandably, we need these at all times, even when we are travelling, camping, in-transit to office or on way the highway! But they  take too much space and too long to dry.

L angle bracket camera mount – How to use

Sep 19, 2015 - 0 comments
So what got us to writing this post? One of our customers innocently asked us today—“What kind of photographers might require these brackets? Fancy kinds?”

Camera Bean Bag by Nature Lounge

Sep 19, 2015 - 0 comments
Nature Lounge believes that it is the proud pioneer of high quality Camera Bean Bags in India. The Beanie, in camouflage print, is quite a useful product for the nature/wildlife photographers. The easy-to-use design and sturdy material proves stability in the most demanding conditions.