Remember the Black Panther who was spotted in an Indian forest just a few days back? Remember how beautiful that mighty cat looked in those pictures?
Well, if you’re wondering who was the photographer behind those gorgeous pictures, it was Wildlife Photographer Shaaz Jung.
Jung spent the last five years and 12 hours a day tracking the panther.
I was in Bangalore when it was first spotted. It took a year for me to see him because he hadn’t established his territory yet. So, I spent a year on safari trying to track him and then in 2016 I first saw him.
Jung is not only a photographer, he is a cinematographer, a big cat tracker and a naturalist. If you want to see more of his work, then check out his Instagrm account which is a treat for everyone who loves nature.
Shaaz is currently the Director of Photography for a feature film with National Geographic. His work of art involves making one of the most beautiful and visually powerful films from the south Indian forests.
He has studied Economics and Law, but chose to pursue his childhood passion for wildlife. He spent his years photographing and studying wildlife, especially leopards. Shaaz has helped establish eco-friendly wildlife camps in South India and East Africa.
From ‘Light and Shadows’ to ‘Black and White’, Shaaz experiments with various kinds of pictures with the best equipment.
His work is all about the mystical forest and now through videography, he showcases his unique storytelling abilities in a more visually dramatic form.
Shaaz’s images are powerful and blend perfectly with art. Photography for him has always been a personal journey of self-discovery. He believes bringing photography and art together would draw a lot more people into the wild space.
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From the Archives | In my early days of guiding safaris, big bull elephants in ‘musth’ weren’t my favourite animals to encounter on the track. The number of times I’ve had to put the pedal on the medal, with the jeep in reverse, is far more than I’d have liked. There’s no bigger rush than taking a blind turn on a beaten track and coming face to face with a giant, but as a guide, you’re responsible for everyone in the jeep. Not many understand the dangers of an angry bull and I think most guides would agree that it can sometimes be nerve wracking when you’re leading a Safari with clients. I absolutely love elephants but the jungle has taught me to respect them most. . . ‘Musth’ is a condition in bulls that makes them highly aggressive due to high levels of testosterone. These levels can be 50 times greater than an elephant that isn’t in musth. These bulls often discharge a thick secretion called ‘temporin’ from their temporal ducts on the side of their heads. . . I photographed this elephant with my Nikon D3000 and 70-300mm in 2010 and it was the only image I took before I quickly realised what was happening. . . #shaazjung #nikon #nikonindia #wildlife #nature #elephant #kabini #safari
Shaaz has dedicated the last four years to studying and understanding the elusive black panther.
“I didn’t believe it when I first received a call from the safaris saying that there was a panther in the forest. Later, in the evening, I got a picture of the animal. I spent the next one month trying to find the big cat, but failed to spot it. He was young back then, and very shy. Seven months later, someone saw it again and informed me. With time, the creature had grown in size.
For him, the forest is a puzzle. He says that one has to be patient and spend days to find a perfect moment to capture the true element.
This is the beauty of the jungle. Every day it seems like a puzzle and you have to go in there and try to put the pieces together. If you do you see the cat and more often than not, you don’t, because the panther, you have to remember you are going to his forest, if he doesn’t want to be seen there’s absolutely no way you are going to see him.
Shaaz has spent three years shooting for the film The Real Black Panther. He added that the biggest challenge during these years was to understand the panther’s behaviour, like hunting and courting among other moments in the big cat’s life. He named the black panther Saya, which means shadow.
Shaaz continues to learn about big cats and the way they survive considering that the forests are shrinking rapidly.