Monitor Lizards Combat – A StoryMonitor Lizards

Monitor Lizards Combat – A Story

During the last quarter of 2006 I acquired a super-telephoto lens (Canon 400 f2.8L IS USM). Many people advised that wildlife photographers hadn’t tried that lens and I should stick to the proven 500 f/4. How ever I went ahead and poured nearly 8000USD on this dream lens as a hobbyist. A very similar amount someone would invest on a small car.

A Maruti Gypsy was my other proud possession back then and a colleague from #Accenture – Vijay was my accomplice in these jungle journeys as most others thought Bandipur was a place you could visit once or twice but you have to be mad like Jay and Vijay if you end up there every weekend. At around 4:40PM we realised it was too dark and cloudy and it would perhaps rain on this saturday evening. Smartness prevailed and we decided to cut-short the safari at 5PM thus saving 1500/- INR (around 30USD) and returning early to Mysore – where my parents lived.(Native)

Just when we were cruising towards the Bandipur reception, Vijay altered me of something crazy that was happening. We stopped and observed two Monitor Lizards up in arms. Soon they stood on hind legs (#Bipedalism) and the rigorous battle continued. Very dark and gloomy meant shutter speeds were in single digits. Even the world’s fastest 400mm lens at a reasonably high ISO of 400 (Back then on a Canon 30D) gave me a 1/4s exposure. I fired a few shots (All of them vertical compositions) and realised I was fighting a battle I couldn’t win. At such a slow speed I couldn’t freeze any action. It was frustrating. I was missing a great opportunity that I would probably never witness again and here I was dabbling with my camera controls. I took a funny decision then:

I decided to click 4 pictures in Manual mode by using a 1/60sec shutter speed which was a few stops down to what was needed. How would the pic turn out? You are right – it was a pitch dark photo where I couldn’t see head or tail of the reptiles in combat. I kept my camera aside and watched them for a while hearing them hiss and battle while they faded away in to the undergrowth. I looked at Vijay’s face and he gave me a smile we would then call a “Harami” wala smile. Economics / Cost cutting as an idea vanished at this sight and we ended up doing the safari till 6PM. Who would calculate costs when in front of such a spectacle?

We rushed home and the first thing I did was download the files and I just opened the 4 dark pictures in Canon Digital Photo Professional I would use then. I simply increased the brightness of all of them and here was this one. A pleasant surprise. Little did I realise this photograph would be the delimiter between my journey as a hobbyist and a professional. In a couple of months this was framed on the Sanctuary Asia magazine’s cover and it almost felt like scoring a century on one’s debut. My first ever published image. Most of you know how life has changed after this.

#Photography_Career #Bandipur #Jayanth_Sharma

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88 Responses to “Monitor Lizards Combat – A Story”

  1. Viviane Meyssonnier - c'est très beau !!!!
    January 5, 2015 Reply
  2. Shihab Valasy - exellent..!!!!
    December 6, 2014 Reply
  3. Ashok Hallur - Wonderful shot
    December 2, 2014 Reply
  4. Budhadipta Das - https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Photo-Gallery/1525034957729615
    December 1, 2014 Reply
  5. Aarthy Achrekar - Wow,,,, animals understand love ,,, an importance of hug they feel it ,,, but humans are far away from this feeling
    November 30, 2014 Reply
  6. Flory Sailo - Acute! Bravo!
    October 19, 2014 Reply
  7. La Mar - Rawan Said
    September 2, 2014 Reply
  8. Helena Almeida - Credo que bichos feios kkkk
    August 5, 2014 Reply
  9. Khasru Chowdhury - photograph equally fascinating as the story behind,thanks
    August 2, 2014 Reply
  10. Bhskr Jyoti Talukdar - Owsum
    July 30, 2014 Reply
  11. Henrietta Speer - Wow I am impressed with your story, you are TRULLY amazing. And photo is Brilliant, This is a combat that you could not win, but won in a different way, this is awesome, thank you for sharing ❤️
    July 27, 2014 Reply
  12. Laura Little - Wow
    July 26, 2014 Reply
  13. Chita Rout - Litu vai
    July 25, 2014 Reply
  14. Milind Kadu - ye dhosati ham nahi chodege
    July 22, 2014 Reply
  15. Rajiv Welikala - Stunning shot !!!!
    July 14, 2014 Reply
  16. Ravindra Joisa Photography - Congrats
    July 14, 2014 Reply
  17. Rtn Naba Kishore Dash - Nice shot
    July 13, 2014 Reply
  18. Supriyo Ray Sarkar - Grt pic.story.achievmnt... Evry thng is great.... :-)
    July 13, 2014 Reply
  19. Rajesh Mishra - Wow!
    July 13, 2014 Reply
  20. Vijay Kumar - Great shot
    July 5, 2014 Reply
  21. Hina Hina - sopr
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  22. Sabya Ghosh - Jayanth, I always admire your admirable pieces! There is always a story to every shot you freeze upon and I am always left in a dilematic chaos on what to appreciate upon !! You are just superb...in pen and lens !!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  23. Vicky Sardana - Super like !!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  24. Sundar Rajagopal - Electionuku mun othihayo..?
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  25. Sandip Halder - Mind blowing. ....
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  26. Yogesh Namdeo - Great !!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  27. Prashant Dhanavade - The image is spectacular. ..and the narration is equally enthralling
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  28. Suhaas Sathyanarayan - Beauty !!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  29. Sajim Shaw - Retrieved full advantage of shooting in RAW.
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  30. Janardhan Pathania - EK ZORALI ANGALI TE TATORI CUMIDEN !!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  31. Daniel Bennett - Great story, I know how you feel trying to decide on equipment. Glad it worked out for you.....
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  32. Desai Meesha - Simply amazing :)))
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  33. Rosie Lamb - Great photo, brilliant story, marvelous moment!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  34. Ganesh Prakasam - Thanks for sharing a piece of your history. Sure it was an inspiration tracing and relating your journey to mine. Nice pic too !
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  35. Akshay Deshmukh - superb
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  36. Shashidhar Ga - Beautiful narration ...
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  37. Natures Glory - God bless ur journey and ur hard work...
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  38. Saul Pereira - What a lovely story. It was worth the investment although I would never have dared to put in that kind of money
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  39. Nitin Maheshwari - This is a beautiful capture… lot to learn from you. :)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  40. Jayalakshmi Senthilnathan - Through the lens is always magical, most unexpected moments glue to the eyes when seen and captured by an aspirant is awe inspiring! Truly! This is a great write up too..
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  41. Nediamveetil Damodaran - Two big reptiles are fighting standing up on two legs.Excellent to watch. Good picture. Good day to all.
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  42. Sujith Sivadas - Great lens great...ideas broh! n fr sure great result!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  43. Pranothi Shroff - Well as usual I can't decide if it's the photo or the story behind the photo that makes it so amazing :))
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  44. Pranothi Shroff - Well as usual I can´t decide if it´s the photo or the story behind the photo that makes it so amazing :))
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  45. Gaurav Agarwal - Great story!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  46. Shivakumar Ramashastry - Good one jayanth. If I make a decision to learn photography it's you who would be my teacher.
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  47. Shivakumar Ramashastry - Good one jayanth. If I make a decision to learn photography it´s you who would be my teacher.
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  48. Tejas P Lodaya - Brilliant!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  49. Peer Mohamed - Actually your write up makes the photo even more beautiful. Your narration is always awesome :)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  50. Kathryn Engle - Awesome shot!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  51. Bhargava KS - Kathe Purana is vocal.. Written e level ge nodirlilla.. :) ille idini pa.. Blore nalli.. Nin Tara kaalige chakra illa.. :P
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  52. Jayanth Sharma - ye - yello idya... arent you used to my kathe purana from school?
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  53. Jayanth Sharma - Gracias por las amables palabras
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  54. Bhargava KS - U are an amazing story teller as well Jay!! :) Certainly makes the experience of the photo much better!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  55. Simran Gadgil - Wow that's amazing
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  56. Simran Gadgil - Wow that´s amazing
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  57. Ashish Paliwal - We are College mates :) I got to know about you and toehold through him. Already did 2 workshop with toehold, waiting for one with you. Has a story not meant to be written on FB :)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  58. Jacqueline Robinson Madhok - Amazing pic n grt story ....really enjoyed all of it !!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  59. Arun Kumar - i read complete story of this image. photography i amy hobby. short is very nice and unique.keep it up
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  60. Subrat Kumar Seet - Superb one
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  61. Abhay Khedekar - Too good. Everything- picture, narrative, presence of mind, economics, luck n gypsy too....stuff dreams r made of (y)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  62. Mahesh Subramanian - Thanks :)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  63. Jayanth Sharma - Www.toehold.in

    July 4, 2014 Reply
  64. Sunder Dev Baidya - Its nature love to live
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  65. Mahesh Subramanian - True that!! Btw is there a website where u have listed ur upcoming workshops?
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  66. Jayanth Sharma - Dear Mahesh, I moved on to a Scorpio in 2007 and an endeavour in 2010 Miss the gypsy!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  67. Sameer Jain - Just one word...INSPIRING!!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  68. Samir Madhani - Super :)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  69. Suhas Shelke - ha ha ha ha .. I can relate to that 'Harami' wala smile :D :D ..I remember this incident you shared on 2 occasions :) ..Love the write up as well !
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  70. Suhas Shelke - ha ha ha ha .. I can relate to that ´Harami´ wala smile :D :D ..I remember this incident you shared on 2 occasions :) ..Love the write up as well !
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  71. Neeraj Garg - Jayanth Sharma As usual...a great shot and a great story....
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  72. Violeta Alvarado - El no darse por vencido es el logro de tan merecido éxito
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  73. Haresh de Soysa - Loved the narrative. Fantastic image!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  74. Mahesh Subramanian - Brilliant freeze and loved the write up... P.s: U still own the gypsy??
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  75. Uma Iyer - As usual loved the story behind the pic !!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  76. Pavan Annigeri - Awesome
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  77. Jayanth Sharma - Thank you Mary Solorzano
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  78. Aruna Minhas - Lucky!!!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  79. Mary Solorzano - Beautiful picture and as always a great story to go along!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  80. Sandeep Athreyas - Thats amazing.. And a nice story to addon..!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  81. Jayanth Sharma - How are you connected?
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  82. Ashish Paliwal - Very true :P And you had the right person with you for this adventure :)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  83. Jayanth Sharma - Indeed. The best thing he did after being tummy full of beer in Masinagudi was to spot monitor lizards in the undergrowth. Without the beer he wouldn't even spot his bike. :) Aint it?
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  84. Sabyasachi Talukdar - Nice to learn the story behind the pic (Y)
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  85. Suman Desarker - Superb Jayant.... wish u more such events !!
    July 4, 2014 Reply
  86. Ashish Paliwal - Was P Vijay Kumar with you?
    July 4, 2014 Reply
    • Jayanth Sharma - Indeed. The best thing he did after being tummy full of beer in Masinagudi was to spot monitor lizards in the undergrowth. Without the beer he wouldn't even spot his bike. Aint it?
      July 4, 2014 Reply
  87. Jayanth Sharma - Sanctuary Asia - Feb 2007
    July 4, 2014 Reply