The New Big 5 project is an international initiative to create a New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography, rather than hunting. Shooting with a camera, not a gun. It’s a message backed by more than 100 world-leading photographers and conservationists including Dr Jane Goodall.
There is an aura of power and majesty about the Tiger, unchallenged while patrolling their territory. In the famous Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling acknowledged the undisputed status of the mighty Bengal Tiger by introducing Shere Khan as the King of the Beasts. Although the cat family includes many impressive and attractive animals, the Tiger for me is the most beautiful of them all.
Global Tiger Day is celebrated across the world in recognition of the animal regularly voted the public’s favorite animal. Despite this, the tiger is endangered and under threat of extinction from habitat destruction and poaching. One hundred years ago there were 100,000 wild tigers, now there are less than 3,500 tigers left in the wild. In the last century Asia’s wild tiger range has shrunk by 93%. Shockingly, 40% of that decline has happened in the past ten years.
21st Century Tiger, one of the many charities working hard to save the Tiger, based at ZSL London Zoo, are a unique funding coalition between Zoological Society of London and Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation in Australia which gives 100% of funds it raises, to carefully chosen conservation projects throughout Asia. 21st Century Tiger work with zoos around the world to raise money for wild tiger conservation and channels this money to conservation projects where it can make the most difference. Its sister organisation, Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) handles projects throughout the Russian Far East.
21st Century Tiger currently funds the work of both international and local conservation organisations with a range of projects from education and anti-poaching, to monitoring of the tiger populations in Sumatra, India, Malaysia and through ALTA, in Russia. These important projects address the pressures the tiger faces in today’s world of trade, exploding human population and vanishing forests.
Global Tiger Day was established in 2010 at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit when tiger range countries declared their aim to double wild tiger numbers by 2022. This day is an opportunity to raise funds for wild tiger conservation with 21st Century Tiger and to build awareness of the issues effecting their survival.
On this day please try and support all those that help to keep this beautiful animal alive and to preserve it for future generations. I have had a lifelong love of the Tiger and to think children growing up may in the future not have such love or passion for these animals through not being able to see them in the wild feels me full of great sadness.
Some of the many other charities trying to save these animals are –
They are many charities that help these beautiful creatures; I donate 50% from the sales of my limited edition Tiger prints that go to 21 Century Tiger. Over the next month I will be adding more limited editions to this collection. We can all do something not matter how small that all goes to helping the survival of this species.
If you’d like to photograph these amazing creatures in 2016 then I still have a few places free on my “Tigers of India” – 7 day photography tour. Its an action packed week with two safaris a day in one of the best please in the world to see wild Tigers. All the information and blog posts from many previous trips there can all be seen on this link. Its a magic place to see these Bengal Tigers and one place you will never forget.
Its amazing we have a day set aside for these majestic animals and one they really deserve and need. To all those that work tirelessly to save all Tigers I thank you and to everyone around the worlds that does their bit thank you also. Lets hope Tigers in the wild live on and have a viable future in the wild, many thanks.
After two days of driving too and from Ranthambhore to Delhi airport, dropping off the first weeks clients and picking up the new ones it was good to be back on the trail of the Tigers. Once again my new client hadn’t ever seen a Tiger and it was his wish and dream to see one in the wild. After our morning coffee and a routine I was so use too now,we entered Ranthambhore this morning. The noise, and chaotic nature of Delhi replaced with the calm and beautiful morning light.
Both of my jeeps were allocated their zones and once more we set off on a well practised routine. The mornings are so special in Ranthanbhore, the smells, the flowers, the light, you can even smell some of the animals and where they have scent marked certain trees etc.
Once we entered our zone it wasn’t long before we heard Samba Deer alarm calls, often this is the first sound you hear that may indicate there is a Tiger around. We stop the jeep, turn the engine off and just listen. By listening and letting nature tell you whats happening around you there is some much you can learn and lots of information that can be gathered by doing this.
On this occasion the noise and calls just slowly stopped and we started our jeep and continued on the small dirt track you have to stay on throughout the whole duration of your safari. While you search and look there is so much to see, as Ranthambhore is far more than just Tigers.
We carried on, then in a flash..”Tiger..Tiger” those famous words over the years I have become accustom too. We looked over to our right and there was a big male Tiger cleaning himself. He was T23, a very rarely seen and shy dominate male of that area. My client took some images, people including myself often freeze on their first view of a wild Tiger but the noise of his shutter going indicated he was fine.
He was very aware of us, and getting a closer view amongst the dense habitat was a little tough. Within a few moments though he got up and vanished as quickly as we had found him. Clients always wish to see a wild Tiger, thats why they book this trip with me but I have to say as I remember it well. There is no better feeling than seeing your first Tiger and now in my case seeing your clients see their first so I was overjoyed here.
We tired to track him but he went deep into the forest and you have to stay on that small dirt track within your zone which is for the welfare of the Tigers and the safely of people in the jeeps. We carried on and once more you settle into the routine of listening, turning the engine off, ands watching for tracks and clues. The mornings for me always often up the best chances to see Tigers as its cooler and they transverse their territories during this time.
After capturing alittle more of the wildlife of Ranthambhore later we had a chance encounter with T19. We didn’t see her cubs this time as she was hunting but it was still a wonderful moment and for my new client having never seen a wild Tiger to now seeing two in his first day was amazing. My other jeep also had some amazing encounters with T19 and her cubs so all and all another great day on the first day of the second trip.
Ever client from my 2014 trip now had seen and got some lovely images of Wild Bengal Tigers which is what I always try to deliver, but nothing can ever be promised as these are wild animals and don’t turn up when you want them or land or sit somewhere where you have enticed them into with food. So nothing can be promised and no image can be planned you really just take what you can and get.
I hope our luck as a group continues after this first day with 5 more days of safaris left. I will report back in a few days time and I hope you are enjoying these blogs back home. If you would like to join me on my 2015 trip then please click here for more information, all the best from Ranthambhore, India.
I am now offering a new and private and bespoke photo tour service. Where I will lead a private safari to many different places around the globe, offering a unique experience within nature. Everything is arranged on an exclusive basis to suit your individual requirements. The beauty of private safaris is that you share with those you know, or it’s just you and your partner where I guide you throughout the whole time your with me. Where you benefit from an almost one to one experience among nature.
These custom trips are for one person right the way up to six people for any number of days and at a time of your choosing. With a private trip as this you choose when you want to go, at any time of the year. You choose how long you want to go for and as many days as you like. Larger numbers and the cost is significantly reduced. Click here to be taken to this page.
The aim of all my tours is simple: to offer unmatched experiences that maximize opportunities to watch and photograph wildlife in the finest locations and to help participants improve their techniques and achieve the best results from their photography, irrespective of their level of experience.
I work with some of the best ATOL -protected companies around, that have been providing trips to some of my locations for many years. Working alongside these companies helps me with the logistical support I need on the ground enabling the very best experience for each and every client.
Places I offer these amazing private safaris too are
India- Home of the Royal Bengal Tiger
Jaguars And Wildlife Of The Pantanal – The amazing Jaguars of Brazil
Kenya – Masai Mara Migration – The amazing event in nature known as the Migration
Madagascar – The amazing wildlife and diversity of this place will blow you away
Finland – Wolves, Bears and Wolverines its one of the best places in the world to witness these.
Sumatra – Home of the Great Ape-Sumatran Orangutan.
Falklands Islands – One of the only places in the world where the wildlife are so trusting and close.
Mull- Otters, Eagles, beautiful coastline Mull offers everything you can imagine.
Shetland Islands – This beautiful coastal group of islands with blow you away with its wildlife
Texel- A Spring bonanza of wader birds and others this small Dutch island offers some great birdlife
The cost of a private safari to one of these destinations is dependent on the number of clients per trip, the number of days and nights your require and approximate dates. For an extract quote please email me at email@example.com many thanks.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, I hope this one does, tt’s a Female Tigress wondering through her territory in the morning light, taken in Ranthambhore Tiger reserve, India. This photograph captures the moment when she became aware of my presence as I sat in a small jeep, hidden from view, thousands of miles from home, engine turned off and the air thick with alarm calls. I could not only feel my heart beat I could hear it among the forest noises as I captured this photograph.
On 29th August 2012, the Supreme Court in India decides the plight of the Royal Bengal Tiger by those that maybe haven’t even seen or even been to those areas now that they may condemn to the history books. India is home to half the world’s tiger population, according to the latest census released in March 2011 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current population is estimated at 1,706 – up from 1,411 in 2008. A link hear to the recent ruling can be seen.
The Supreme Court wants the Tiger reserves to restrict tourism to the buffer zones, but the problem in Ranthambore, as well as other reserves, is that the only area it can designate as buffer is not somewhere tourists would want to visit, let alone tigers. There, the buffer zone is a wilderness with very little flora or fauna, littered with gravel mines. To reach the zone, tigers would have to travel 35 miles from the main park, and even cross main roads. So these proposed plans and buffer zones just won’t work and will be the beginning of the end for Tigers in India.
Ranthambhore Tigers are doing really well and the reserve is run to a strict rule. At present there is 25 cubs there doing well, one family being brought up by their Father, the first time in history this has been reported. And my group of clients this year had the amazing privilege of witnessing this and capturing the images of dad with his two cubs as their mum had died and he was bringing them up alone. To read the story of this case click here.
Animals only breed when they are happy, so how are tourists distributing them? as in core areas Tiger numbers on the whole are on the up. Nature would tell us if it wasn’t happy with falling birth rates, Tigers numbers falling or dying. But she tells us the opposite here in Ranthambhore. A place I know well and love, having visited many times over the last several years. I’ve met many drivers, guides and people that live in and around the tourisms area of Ranthambhore whose whole economy is based on tourism, take this away and they have nothing.
All of which rely on the Tiger for their livehood, but more than that they love, cherish and look after these animals. Keeping them as safe as they possibly can. Remove all of this and this will send the Tigers into the history books I believe and many others on the ground also do. I’ve been told its called – community based conservation, and the tiger will be exterminated without it.
I am no scientist but it’s so clear the Tigers are ONLY living because of these people and tourism, let’s hope they carry on keeping Mother Nature’s most beautiful animal as safe as it can. I hope they make the right decision for the Tiger first and foremost, keeping this animal alive, safe and well for the future generations to see just how beautiful they are, good luck to the Tiger and also the Indian people.
I am off to Madagascar at the weekend for my 11 day photo tour there so once I return home I will up date my blog on the courts ruling as the date of the hearing coincides with when I’m away, many thanks.
Giving something back to nature is something that is very high on my agenda.Being a Wildlife Photographer,with a great passion for wildlife you have a duty to capture the beauty of the animal I feel to show others and this is the foundation to my work. I am pleased to say I am working with dakini Year Of The Tiger 2010 campaign.
dakini Books is an innovative London-based media company with a reputation based on creativity, originality and excellence. dakini’s not-for-profit company is now launching a major international campaign to help save the tiger from extinction. You can donate now to support the campaign here or join the campaign’s facebook group; Tigers
There will be two images from my Year Of The Tiger 2010 collection that will be exclusively sold by dakini- Year Of The Tiger 2010 campaign here is dakini .More details soon as their website is almost ready and their launch in London is soon where I will be attending with the two images I have donated to this project where 50% the profit from each sale goes to helping Tigers. I will keep you updated on their website,the launch and timing.I have been in talks with Lindsey for the last 8 days and things are almost ready fingers crossed.
The two images are Lady Of The Lake-A female Tigress that wonders around the different zones in Ranthambore,with no clear territory of her own as of yet,so is mostly seen around one of the beautiful lakes in Ranthambore hence her name.
The second image is called Machali Standing Proud- Its a photo of the Queen of Ranthambore,she is now 13 and mother to many of the cubs born there over the years.I spent 4 days looking for her with my guide Salim,hoping to see this famous Tigress and on the last day I spent nearly 30 minutes with her as she drink,washed and relaxed in an almost dry waterhole.This image is of her standing up from this riverbed.So there are the two images with only 100 copies.
dakini are bringing out an amazing book called Tigers,where you can pre-order at copy on the site where the money raised from this book and other projects,images etc will go towards helping the Tigers –Blog .So I’ll keep you posted on the details in the mean time visit their different sites on Twitter, Facebook And see if you can donate or help in anyway th helping this campaign then that would be great.I will update my blog letting you know when the launch in central London of the book,images etc is.I was asked to give a few words on what wildlife photography meant to me,the Tigers etc and below is hopefully a good account of how,where my amazing passion for wildlife started and the Tigers showing where my strong foundation and geniue love for nature and photography began.
“My journey to become a wildlife photographer was born out of a love and fascination of the natural world from a young age upon receiving my first Wildlife book called Animal World. This was an 8th birthday present from my Mum and started my love and fascination for the natural world. The front cover had a roaring Tiger picture which had such a powerful effect on me as a youngster, where I made this my personal dream to see this amazingly beautiful animal one day.
From those early days I spent so much time being at one with nature, close to and watching, hidden from view on the off chance I would see a certain animal. I distanced myself from children’s games and activities instead heading to a nearby stretch of wilderness within the mass housing estate I grew up in. Learning to get close without disturbing the animal almost forgetting the outside world and becoming part of the animal I was getting close to or watching. By doing this I could understand the animal better and this is still one of the main skills I use within wildlife photography today, one which in the absence of any real training in photography has enabled me to get close enough to capture the animals beauty with the images I frame through my view finder, where my creative and emotional attachment to nature is at the very heart of each photo, creating a unique and artistic refection of my time in the field. It is my intention to use these reflections of the natural world to bring people’s awareness of what beautiful wildlife we have on our doorstep and all around us and the importance of conservation and the need to preserve our national heritage.
This year my dream of seeing a wild Tiger was realised and the whole experience was one of the most beautiful times I have had in my 30 years of being at one with nature.
In the famous ‘Jungle Book’ Rudyard Kipling acknowledged the undisputed status of the mighty Bengal Tiger by introducing Shere Khan as the King of the Beasts. Although the cat family includes many impressive and attractive animals, there is an aura of power and majesty about the Tiger, where observing a male Tiger patrolling his territory in an Indian Reserve is to watch an unchallenged ruler strolling through his domain. Unfortunately for the Tiger, being the top predator has no protection against the activities of man, and a combination of habitat destruction and hunting pressures have reduced the Indian population from an estimated 40,000 to less than 1500.
Just setting off in search of a Tiger during my recent trip sent adrenalin coursing through my veins, whilst every movement in the undergrowth raises the expectation of a sudden appearance of this animal, striped body, footprints in the dust or the warning cries of deer all serving only to heighten the almost unbearable sense of excitement as you watch and listen for the first clue that a Tiger is around you. Upon seeing this animal for the first time Mother Nature made so beautiful, it renders you speechless.
After seeing these creatures in the wild for the first time in 2010, ‘The Year of the Tiger’ at Ranthambore, India, I wanted to do something to help these amazing animals. I was greatly moved by their beauty and character, with an aura of power and majesty when you see them patrolling their territory. The tigers whole existence in our world today is down to humans, with the real threat of Wild Tigers being extinct ever present, so after seeing these animals in the wild, doing nothing is just not an option for me.
I was empowered and moved by my visit to Ranthambore to do something to help, so by offering these Limited Editions prints where 50% of the profits from each image sold will go direct to helping these beautiful creatures survive in the wild. In turn I am hopefully helping to preserve them for future generations.
I am going back very soon and then next May 2011 I will be running my own Photo-Tour where I have an acute interest in conservation and the need to ensure the long-term protection of species and habitats being such an important part of my life. By staying and visiting the national park and wildlife regions on my Photo-Tour, we will be actively contributing and supporting a beautiful and locally-owned lodge/hotel, employing local people, local guides and other staff who have grown up in this region. With our preference for local naturalists rather than imported guides, being the key to a successful trip. Also ensuring employment opportunities to local communities, so important in developing the local areas, the perfect recipe for the survival of the Bengal Tiger! This kind of wildlife tourism supports rural communities in impoverished areas and supports them and their ability to preserve their natural and wildlife heritage for their future generations.
Being a Wildlife photographer I can now help to show others the beauty of these animals and hopefully raise awareness through my images and work that hopefully will help to keep these animals alive”.
Over the last two weeks I have found that my time just vanishes and the days turn into weeks,where with the early summer time light you find yourself getting up in the middle of the night,packing your car in total darkness and heading off in search of your images for that day.I always go with a relaxed mind and find this has always resulted in good sightings and images in most cases,where just being out in nature is enough for me.This approach works and by adopting this attitude you put less pressure on yourself to get the image(s).
The image’s below where taken as I was waiting to photograph Kingfishers,a bird that has eluded me this year.As the sun came up it lit up the low lying mist on top of the water,breaking through the dense background and creating this amazing light and colour.I captured two Mute Swans coming into land and together in one of the shafts of light and the third image is a lone Grey Heron perfectly still,watching for the slightest movement below him.Two lovely images that I never expected
In between this I have successfully completed four great days at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton where I’ve just finished another two day display this weekend at their Summer Fete event.Again great meeting so many nice people over the two days a few wildlife photographers came to visit me so that was nice,lots of bookings on my Workshops and One To Ones,look forward to meeting you all that booked.My next event at the Pavilion Gardens,Buxton is the Art & Design event Sat 18th,Sun 19th September.
I have had two great High-Tide Workshops in the last week at Snettisham,where this place can be good for birds all year round but the best shows come only at the very highest tides when the birds are forced into the ‘Pits’ giving a breathtaking experience to those lucky enough to be there,seeing and hearing the sounds of this magical event in mothernature that you’ll never forget within this truly wild place on the Norfolk coast.
There was thousands upon thousands of wading birds flying around.feeding on this rich mud that Snettisham is made up of,where the birds are forced to take off and form vast flocks all the time heading closer into land adding to the drama of the place with the sounds and sights of nature that you will not forget. A quiet and remote experience to the intense noise known as the ‘Norfolk Rhapsody’, a truly astonishing spectacle.
The clients had some amazing views and bothdays where a complete success and joy for me.I have around two dates per month now until next February 2011 so should you wish to book just send me an email to see if the dates suit your needs.The cost is £160.00 per person and are for up to four people,homemade packed lunch,hot and cold drinks all provided and these brilliant,action packed days last from dawn until dusk,where we finish the day off at one of my many Barn Owl sights I visit in Norfolk.
Showing you everything I use from expert fieldcraft skills,simply tracking skill’s,building a picture of whats happening around you,reading nature,right the way through to the simple camera settings and composition I use.Where for me its all about nature and a little understanding of the wildlife around you,capturing the subject in their natural habitat,capturing beautiful,wild moments within the natural world.
I have been able to get out photographing wildlife at this wonderful time of year also and its a real joy to be in and around nature during the morning and throughout the day,so much new life and noises going on as you walk through our beautiful countryside.Chicks constantly begging for food they are able to catch for themselves but prefer the easy lunch.The image below kept me in suspense for nearly ten minutes,it’s a juvenile Whitethroat,not long fledged,here he was watching flies and bees going backward and forwards over these colourful berries.
As I watched him through the viewfinder,then in a flash he moved and tired to capture this fly that had become tangled up in this spidersweb.I just managed to capture that very moment here with this image in the morning light,in the end he missed and the fly freed himself ,the whole event had be smiling.I did feel sorry for this fellow as he had tied in vain to capture his breakfast,but still much to learn,lovely moments though just providing there is something you can witness anywhere and get so much fun at the same time.
A big thank you to all the wonderful people who have booked onto my trips,I’m glad I’ve helped and to all those booked on future trips you can see the level of help and passion that’s coming your way!!.My next big event is at this years Birdfair
Where it will be my first time there as a Exhibitor,having been there several times as a visitor so I’m really excited to have a stand there.I am in Marquee 6 right in the center of things which is great.Feet away from the Events Marquee,where there’s loads of talks and events throughout the 3 days.I have also donated one of my Limited Edition Tiger Prints for the Birdfair Auction helping them raise money for the brilliant cause(s) they help and support around the UK and World.The 2009 Birdfair raised £263,000 to support BirdLife’s work in saving critically endangered birds around the world. This takes the total raised, to date, to over £2,000,000 which is just brilliant and something I personally want to help them with so the Tiger print is Lot number 83,please give as much as you can many thanks.
If you plan on visiting this years Birdfair then please do drop in and say hello,where some of my work will be on show along with my Tiger images from this years amazing trip to India,Gift Vouchers,Workshops,One To Ones,30 years of knowledge on wildlife, I have something for everyone,or if you just need some advice in regard to Wildlife Photography then I run an Open-Door policy where I’ll help and answer all your questions on this topic.I look forward to seeing you all there in the meantime should you want any help on the tours and trips I do then please send me an email.
All my Photo-Tours,Workshops have now been updated taking you through until next June/July 2011.My Texel trip is nearly full,Mull trip filling up and my Tigers trip to,which is amazing in these hard times,so a big thank you to all who have booked so far.Next years Masai Mara Migration trip is also up now and my trip to Finland for Brown Bears next June,will be up very soon also.
I also have a Craig Jones Facebook page where I give tips,advice and up to date reports on my trips and day to day goings on,with over 1200 friends its growing all the time,its free to join and becoming very popular.Where it’s good to talk as the saying goes.Thanks again for all the support and hope to see you in the future,many thanks.