Located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra and home to the largest population of One-horned Rhinos, Kaziranga National Park is a veritable delight for naturalists, wildlife lovers and photographers; its vibrant, well preserved and sustained biodiversity make it one of the country’s most loved and visited natural reserves. Very few places in Asia can match the numbers and density of large mammal populations as one may see in parts of Africa. Kaziranga National Park in Assam comes close though. One of the oldest nature reserves in India, Kaziranga was formed in 1904 to protect one of the last surviving populations of the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros. It was Mary Curzon who persuaded her husband Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India, to take steps towards the conservation of rhinos after failing to see even a single one during their visit. This led to the formation of the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest in 1905. It was a mere 232 sq km back then. Several years and numerous upgrades later, the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve today spans over 1000 sq km.
Although the park is most famous for protecting the world’s largest population of the endangered rhinoceros species, it is also home to sizeable populations of the Asian elephant, Wild buffalo, Swamp deer and the Bengal tiger. Kaziranga is identified as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International as well, and is home to about 500 species of birds that made it a perfect place to be captured through my A99 and A77.
The Sony Edge:
My recent experience with the new line of Sony Cameras was nothing short of awesome! Having used many top notch DSLR cameras over the last two decades it was interesting to take A99 and A77 out into the wild.
- The first thing that got my attention was the build quality of the cameras. They fit comfortably in the hand and the buttons are ergonomically placed to allow for quick changes in ISO, aperture, etc. That’s one of the first things I look for as its critical to be able to quickly modify exposure whilst in the field taking shots. And even though I was with the camera only for a few days I was able to get very comfortable with the button layout immediately.
- The new thing in the camera is that the viewfinder is electronic and not optical as in traditional DSLRs. What you see is what you get. This is natural in camcorders and point and shoot cameras, but it’s not usually the case with DSLRs. So although uncomfortable at first it was something I got used to quickly.
- The autofocus even with a 500mm lens is extremely quick and works beautifully even in low-light conditions. This is important as a lot of our wild subjects come out only under the cover of darkness or when lighting conditions are not optimal. So it was really nice to see a fast autofocus system with Carl-Zeiss lenses.
- That’s another import ant point – the line-up of lenses makes the camera a complete system with everything from 20mm lenses all the way to 500mm prime lenses.
- High ISO capability, fast autofocus, user- friendly customizable button layout and ergonomics are what stood out the most for me. In the end, I really enjoyed the clean images that the camera produced with very good contrast in the exposures.