The Blackbuck is considered to be the most beautiful of all antelopes because of the male’s striking black and white pelage and long spiral horns. This species once roamed in huge herds throughout the open woodlands and cultivated tracts of India; today its conservation status is rated as vulnerable thanks to its large scale hunting.
We went to the Maidenahalli Blackbuck Reserve in Karnataka, India, about 140 kms from Bangalore to get our first glimpse of this beautiful antelope. We can tell you from our experience that Blackbucks are very shy and its challenging to photograph them. Open habitats being their preferred choice makes it even more difficult to approach them.
We realized the challenge we faced when after reaching the reserve we spent a couple of hours trying to get one good image of this beautiful animal. The image below will show you the wildgoose chase that we were on throughout the morning. (EXIF : 600mm, f/8, 1/2000s, ISO 400)
This sub-adult male is the closest we got to a Blackbuck all morning. (EXIF : 600mm, f/8, 1/1000s, ISO 400)
And in the afternoon, right in the middle of harsh lighting and pretty hot weather, we were fortunate to have this male allow us close enough (using car as hide) to get frame-filling images at 300mm. (EXIF : 300mm, f/8, 1/1250s, ISO 400)
Then he turned around and gave us a considerate frontal pose at 300mm. (EXIF : 300mm, f/5.6, 1/1600s, ISO 400)
By evening we were completed exhausted by the heat but very happy that we managed to get some decent photographs of Blackbucks. And yes, one of my first shots in the morning was that of a female Blackbuck leaping in the air! (EXIF : 600mm, f/5.6, 1/2000s, ISO 800)