Martin and Paulin Oldfield Ipswich, Qld (2018)
India was never on our bucket list. We had heard the stories. Delhi belly, dirty and noisy, crowded, smog, third world place, dangerous, unfriendly people…. Everyone had a horror story. We saw this trip advertised by Michael Snedic. We had experienced Michael’s photo expeditions and photography tuition in Svalbard (Arctic) and enjoyed it so much that we promised ourselves that we would go on another of his tours one day. We liked game drives in Africa chasing the big 5. India has the big 6 (same 5 plus tiger) – who knew that??? We had never seen the leopard. It had never been on our bucket list. We believed the stories. We spoke to Michael and then Reena from Mantra Wild Adventures. We decided …. what the heck! It is only for 2 weeks and we can put up with just about anything for 2 weeks. Let’s just not extend our stay. The stories had us a bit worried. Good luck with all of that the story tellers told us. It was never on our bucket list. It should have been. The stories were wrong. The National Parks were amazing! We were told that Indian animals are more elusive than African animals. And they were. The leopard that had eluded us for many years (I think about 17 game drives in Africa and India) remained …….. elusive. Until that wonderful moment in Pench when we were treated to a 9 minute sighting. The wait was worth it. What joy! What an amazing creature. And now for that iconic cat – the Bengal tiger. Our excellent guides tracked their footprints, we heard the alarm calls, we smelt their kill, we drove for hours in the beautiful jungle. We were rewarded with a brief view but it was worth it!!! It is hard to explain just how much you learn with a true photography expert, Michael Snedic, on call 24/7. And not just with the technical bits, but how to better appreciate lighting, composition and much more. Evening chats about Lightroom techniques and photo editing in conjunction with critiquing of the days shots, were very helpful. And the fun we had! We really like that Michael’s photo expeditions are designed around photography rather than trying to pack in a whole lot of typically touristy stuff and having a very busy itinerary. Three nights at each location is a great way to settle in and get the feeling of the location. By the way – we did see our first leopard, and a tiger, and a whole bunch of other animals. If you are a keen photographer, do yourself a favour and put India on your bucket list. Even better, put a WildNature Photos Expedition with Michael on your bucket list.