Living in a big city full of running cars, enormously huge buildings, and people that are constantly rushing somewhere, it’s quite easy to lose sight of all the miracles our Mother Nature possesses. Luckily, there are some talented folks out there who somehow always find a way to remind us about that. One of these people is an India-based wildlife photographer named Mithun.
Mithun is a wildlife photographer with a particular love for big wild cats, especially leopards. His Instagram profile is full of majestic photos of these wild kitties, and people seem to be enjoying it quite a bit—currently, Mithun’s photography account has more than 140,000 fans. By the way, Bored Panda had a chance to ask Mithun some interesting questions about his works, so make sure to scroll down and find out what he told us!
Recently, Mithun shared one of his photos in which he managed to capture a remarkable sight of a leopard and its black panther “shadow”
In this photo, you can see a leopard and a black panther standing behind her. These wild cats are captured in such a way that it almost seems as if the black one is actually the shadow of the one standing in the front. Moreover, both cats are calmly staring at the camera. This photo quickly went viral, since people were absolutely mesmerized by this spectacular view.
The photographer named this photo “The Eternal Couple”
“I can still close my eyes and relive that moment every single day of my life. You don’t see that often. Probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Mithun told us. “There was certainly a lot of waiting and patience that went into it. I had waited 6 days for this in the same spot since I could hear the panther and Cleopatra mating about 100 meters away in the thick undergrowth, but could not see them due to limited visibility. They had made a large kill and would not move until it was over. That is where the knowledge and years of experience of following and tracking the panther came in handy. I just had to wait at one of his favorite paths, since that was the place he would get her, since that was the edge of his territory, and this he did after 6 days. It was a fruitful wait, though. I could wait for 6 years for a moment like this.”
“The woods are mysterious, and to unlock that is my passion,” said the photographer
When we asked Mithun what he loves the most about wildlife photography, he said this: “The element of surprise. You never know what you are going to encounter at the next bend. The woods are mysterious, and to unlock that is my passion. You could be waiting for days and months and years for that perfect shot. But when it happens, those few seconds are magical, and to live for after all that time. That is the beauty of wildlife photography.”
Mithun picked up his first-ever camera back in 2009, and that’s where his journey began
“Having been born and brought up in the jungles of South India, I always had a passion for wildlife and big cats from ever since I can remember myself as a kid. Photography was a means to immortalize the moments I see in the wild. Picked up my first camera in 2009 and was treated a magnificent sight of a huge male tiger swimming and wading through a flowing river with ease. That was the moment I decided my way forward in life,” the photographer told Bored Panda.
Leopards were his first love from the very beginning
As we mentioned before, Mithun has a particular love for taking pictures of big wild cats: “Although I love every form of wildlife and love my birds as well, big cats were always a fascination from the beginning. Leopards, in particular, were my first love. The agility, the grace of this feline on the trees just fascinated me to no end.”
“I would spend hours watching them lazing on a tree with their little ones. Have named and followed their individual journey in Kabini for the last 12 years now. It all started with one of my favorite Leopards whom I called ‘Monk’ (a big male) and ‘Moon’ (the female), and their generation still going strong now,” the photographer told us.
For many, wildlife photography can seem like a really dangerous activity. Here’s what Mithun had to say about this: “It definitely has some dangers associated for sure. But if you know your limits and study animal behavior, which is the most important facet, then you have won half the battle. These beautiful creatures are generally more scared and shy than we think. Give them space and let them get comfortable with you and you realize how close and personal you can get with their world. The secret is patience and respect.”
We were curious to ask Mithun which one of his works is closest to his own heart. The photographer told us that the one capturing a leopard and her “shadow” panther definitely ranks high.
“Then there is the panther drinking and his reflection in the water, which also went viral a couple of years ago,” the photographer told us
Mithun ended the interview by adding this: “Through my work, I want to support and help in the awareness and conservation of leopards. They are the most neglected of the big cats across the world and in danger because of conflict with humans on the edges of the forests. People need to realize the beauty and grace of this amazing feline and their very important role in the ecosystem.”