STORY BEHIND THE STILL
Nick Dale explains how his captivating tiger shot resulted from some creative experimentation
ABOUT THE SHOT: The big cats always represent incredible photographic opportunities, which may explain why thousands of photographers attend safaris and photo tours every year, just for a glimpse of these majestic animals. However, as with all popular subjects, this creates challenges when it comes to capturing unique perspectives. In this image, Nick Dale has expertly employed creative use of exposure to add visual interest to his tiger portrait.
“I went to Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore a few years ago, but I only saw a couple of tigers for about 20 minutes and didn’t get any good shots,” explains Nick. “I went to Tadoba on a trip, led by Paul Goldstein, to try and get the best possible chance of sightings – we ended up with around 13.” When asked about his thought process when setting up this shot, Nick describes what inspired his lighting style. “I overheard Paul tell someone to underexpose by a stop when taking pictures of tigers, so I decided to ‘go big or go home’! It was a sunny day – around 47 degrees Centigrade – but I underexposed by two full stops, to give the appearance that the tiger was in a cave, with a shaft of light illuminating its head. I took the shot using a Nikon 800mm lens and the problem [with that setup] is locking down focus. Any slight movement leaves a soft image and none of the other shots I took of this tiger were as sharp as this one.” Nick also took experimentation to the post-processing stage: “The initial image straight out of the camera was a bit flat, so I played around with the Blacks, Whites, Highlights and Exposure. However, I have to give credit to Paul Goldstein – he asked to use the shot for the 2018 Exodus calendar, cropped it and made it a bit darker, with more of a vignette. That inspired me to do another version, quite similar to his, and this is the final result.”
BENGAL TIGER LYING IN SHADOWY WATER HOLE
Although this image was a personal project, nick dale takes images on a freelance basis and sells them through
exhibitions and stock agencies