Kalyan Varma

Best of 2011 in photographs

The year 2011 has been one crazy ride. I ended up spending most of the time in the field – photographing and filming across India, Africa and southeast Asia. This also explains the lack of updates on my journal the last few months. Below is the collection of some of my favourite photographs from the field.

The year started with a long filming assignment starting in Rajasthan and then Kutch in Gujarat. After filming there, we moved to Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, where we spent 2 months filming tigers. Then again back to Gujarat to film lions in the famous Gir National Park. Spending long periods of time in each of these places was very rewarding in terms of the individuals we were able to follow over time. Watch out for the film ‘Secrets of Wild India’, which will air sometime in 2012.

After the filming assignment, I spent July in Borneo, August in Anamalais and September in Kenya. The year ended with a personal trip to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India.

Below is a selection of some of my photographs from these journeys

Leopard cubs in landscape
Some of the small hills in Rajasthan are excellent habitats for leopards and they are quite easy to see in human dominated landscape

A langur gives out an alarm call having sighted a leopard sitting on a boulder below

Desert beetle
A beetle on the dunes in the Desert National Park in Rajasthan

Demoiselle Cranes
Demoiselle Cranes in Keechan

Demoiselle Cranes
Thousands of Demoiselle Cranes come to Keechan village during winter every year

A Hedgehog rolled up in defence on a highway

Desert cat in Kutch
A Desert Cat kitten in Banni Grasslands, Gujarat

Desert fox in Kutch
Desert Fox from Little Rann of Kutch

Desert fox
Desert Fox pups playing while the mother is out hunting

Flamingos in Kutch

Tiger in Tadoba
A young male tiger from Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve

Tiger in Tadoba
One of the tigers who would sit inside the bushes all day long and only venture out when all the tourists had left

Tiger in Tadoba
Known as the Telia tiger, he was the dominant male in the area and had the best places of Tadoba as his territory

Tiger in Tadoba
My most memorable moment in Tadoba was when this tigeress walked towards us, while we were on foot, setting up camera traps

Cicadas are sap suckers and excrete a spray of water. During summers this is a common sight in central India

Gir Lions
A young male Lion in Gir

lion cubs
Lion cubs sit with one of the mothers as the other one goes out hunting

Lion cub
A lion cub sleeps in the shade of a tree

Lions in the shade of a large ficus

A Jackal tries to catch winged termites that emerged after a downpour


A Koompassia tree in Borneo

Slow Loris
Slow Loris, one of the small, nocturnal primates from southeast Asia

A Spider, with excellent camouflage

A male Orangutan in Danum Valley, Borneo

Tarsier – a small, primitive, nocturnal primate, Borneo

Long-tailed macaque
The Long-tailed Macaques enjoying a grooming session

Impatiens growing on wet rocks along a stream in the Western Ghats

Extreme close-up of veins of a dried leaf

Imago emerging

A stream in the Western Ghats during the monsoon

Indrella ampulla
A close-up of Indrella ampulla — a snail endemic to the Western Ghats

White Pelican
A White Pelican joining a group of foraging Pelicans at Lake Nakuru, Kenya

A Masai Giraffe rests under a Balanites tree in Masai Mara, Kenya

Cheetah with cubs
One of the highlights of my trip to Masai Mara was the time I spent watching this playful family of Cheetah with her three cubs

Two of these cubs were later predated by Eagles

Cheetah hunt
Cheetah hunts an Impala in Masai Mara, Kenya. This is probably the best picture I made this year

A tower of Masai Giraffes. Two of them are necking — a ritual to establish dominance

Ground hornbill
A female Southern Ground Hornbill forages in the grasslands of Masai Mara

Rains in Masai mara
Rains on the grassy plains of Masai Mara

Stream Sapphire damselfly
A Stream Sapphire damselfly in Pakke Tiger Reserve

Stream Sapphire damselfly
Two male Stream Sapphires try to impress the female sitting on the twig

The Himalayan foothills in Manas

Forest floor in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary

284 Responses to “Best of 2011 in photographs”

  1. Rajesh Patnaik says:

    Really there is no words to speak.Awesome photographs.hate off to You.

  2. Aditya says:

    Superbly fantastic photography, i liked the one wit Giraffe below the tree

  3. Nitin Vyas says:

    outstanding shots. stupendously creative work. well done. Congratulations.

  4. Mittal Gala says:

    Hi Kalyan,

    Lovely pics and hope to see more. Thanks.

  5. Excellent photographs. Gr8 photography!

  6. Prasanna says:

    Great Work, Kalyan, Nature Loves you lot, thats the reason your able to capture them. Thanks

  7. Vishwavardhan says:

    amazing :)

  8. Parag Verma says:

    Fantastic Pics !!!!!

    Loved the CHEETAH family !!!!

    Keep the good work going….

  9. Prasanna says:

    Terrific Terrific shots Kalyan…. mindblowing each and every one of them. Kudos to ur efforts, presence of mind (esp. the cheetah hunt silhouette)… just awesome.

  10. Niharika says:

    All clicks are awesome. I read about you in Rashmi Bansal book. I am attracted towards you. Now after seeing your clicks i fall in love with your photography. Amazing..Cheers for you :)

  11. Radhika Kochhar says:

    Hey Kalyan, you click with such absolute passion that these moments look more real and exquisite than their veracity. You go beyond excellence… thanks so much

  12. Trishit Dutta says:

    Hi Kalyan,

    All images are outstanding. Very nice.

  13. Vivek Kale says:

    Amazing Images !
    Masai Mara images are brilliant.

  14. John Bijin says:

    Awesome. How nice it is to be close to the nature.

  15. deepika says:

    Hi,i just happen to read Connect the dots, and got to know about you!.These photographs seem amazingly brilliant!! :) I’m spellbound with your photographic brilliance!! :)
    Got to learn alot from you and your passion :) Thankz :)

  16. Karthik says:

    wonderful features. very inspiring. will try and join one of your workshops.

  17. raghu says:

    i am not getting words to express about these pics. there are really amaging

  18. Shivraj Singh says:

    Great work..Sirji!! you made them alive…

  19. Vijay Sai says:

    Awesome snaps!

  20. Great work sir. And I agree, the “Hunting Cheetah Silhouette” was the best !!!

  21. I like the shot of Flamingos. Truly awesome! A perfect shot in a perfect timing. No wonder when Indian talents with perfections are taken into International level why more awards could not be won as like \Wild secrets of Wild India\ winning the ‘Best Television Series’ award.

  22. adarsha joisa says:

    Some of the most awe-inspiring photos I’ve seen! Hats off to you, Kalyan!

  23. shreya sivan says:

    Fantastic awesome great may be I cannot go in person
    But a satisfaction of seeing things as if they ae closeby Tnx a lot

  24. Sumit says:

    amazing pics

  25. Prashanth Sekhar says:

    Pics are awesome. Esp the cheetah silhouette !! Chanceless. Great Inspiration to me !!

  26. revathi says:

    probably you heard this many times. But Kalyan – speechless ! I dont know whether these species would exist a century later but the evidence you are creating with your photographs is going to remain and provide vital clues about life now to the later generation.

    You are creating so much awareness for wild life conservation.

    Bless you-

  27. Darshan Yadunath says:

    Kalyan – Fantastic album , the Cheetah shot was the one for me as well, Stupendous! This album just shows that pursuing your passion and patience really pays!

  28. sajid saan says:

    It’s awsom sir…..i’m living in bangalore….and iam also ur fan….i intrester\d in photography feild but i couldnt to take that feild in my study..OOOpz….any iam trying now……


  29. Pawan Singh says:

    ………….Surrender to your Work………

  30. Jaey says:

    Awesome clicks.. Hats off..
    God Bless

  31. lohit says:

    Excellent photographs mostly the cheetah family , tiger and all big cat photos also elephant in water and so many other (almost every click.) … nice captures … your work inspired me thanks :)

  32. Uday Pasricha says:

    Blessings and good wishes Kalyan. Your photographs extend their meaning far beyond animals, because within their spontaneous behavior and your passionate inordinate patience, one sees glimpses of ourselves and our silent experiences.

  33. Mahesh says:

    Awesome photos..speechless!!!

  34. Arjun Maradia says:

    Taken part in a photography competition in my organization which is an engineering company.. got first prize in heritage category and won gift coupons for crossword… purchased connect the dots by rashmi bansal and came to know about u… u r awesome sir… great shots indeed. Have no words to describe ur work..
    Keep it up…
    All the best..

Leave a Reply

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License.