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  1. A day to be remembered forever, 2016 is the year that I have joined in this beautiful group since then Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve was always on my bucket list. many attempts planned since then and nearly after two years, I got the chance to go. I don't want to stress more on the routes and other details as there are enough threads regarding the same. rather I would like to share my favourite photos that I have shot in my three days stay and safari at Pangdi and Madnapur gate. never the less I will share with you people some necessary information like stay, safari details, gates, and some knowledge of wildlife that I have gained. Started at 6:00 in the morning from Kompally and reached by 3:00 in the afternoon. remember that no one can help you with the routes. it's always better to contact someone at the resort and ask them to guide you in person. except for Jio, no other sim card is going to work. I stayed at Mahua Tola Resorts, I can say that it is the best in the place. a bit on the higher side, yet friendly staff, manager and good food. we were the only family the three days and never we felt insecure. Manager Shukla is a very nice person, he will come with us to the Safari and make it a very memorable and enjoyable one. Coming to the safari, it's always good to ask the resort people to book. because at the gate I have seen few facing some problems. if it's the resort people, its hassle free. this is personal opinion though. As people say, it's not so easy to spot a tiger. a tiger spotting depends on our luck. a tiger mainly sits just beside or few meters away from us inside the forest, yet not visible most of the time. it's just because of the bamboo trees. Tadoba is full of bamboo trees and that makes it very difficult to spot one even if it near us. you will be tempted by the pugmarks, but not always you'll see a tiger. I was really lucky to spot Tigress Junabai with her cubs on my last day safari with the resort manager Shukla at Madhapur gate. Ultimate sightings I can say. It is my father who spotted her while she was resting under a tree shade few meters away from us covered with bamboo trees. I'm not a pro, yet telling my experience with the camera focusing modes and how I got a perfect focus mode settings by experimenting and with the knowledge I have on focus modes which I have learnt studying few books, articles and discussing it in our WhatsApp group. The device, Sony Alpha A6000 with 55-210mm zoom lens. manual mode, shutter speed around 1/500 and above, ISO range 4000 (thanks to my cameras high ISO range ie, 25600), Aperture F:6.3 Focus Mode: Auto, Focus Area: Wide, Metering Mode: Multi This was the mode that I have shot at first only to get the defocused face of a tiger. Thought "this is over, I'm not going to get any more beautiful photos". thought of the focusing modes and settings I have learnt before and adjusted it again to try my luck. Focus Mode: Auto, Focus Area: Centre, Metering Mode: Spot And then I got some amazing pictures. Used Auto Focus Continues while the subject was moving and I can say that this is the camera for super fast autofocus. never missed a detail while shooting with this in AF-C mode. You can check out the langur monkey and male spotted deer jumping. shot in AF-C mode with shutter sped around 1/1000 or above. couldn't get a zoomed one because of the lens.
  2. Planning: It was October 2016 when we started planning for a long road trip. It was my wife's idea of visiting a cold place (if possible, snow fall) in winter, and subsequently we ended up talking about Manali (obvious choice of transport being, ROAD ). Idea was shot down by colleagues and friends, saying 2200KM drive one-side is no joke. Having experience of driving 17 hours a day couple of times, I knew that 3-day drive to Manali was pretty much possible. When started planning, things started to look easy - one of the key aspect of this journey was choice of stops. Upon deciding stops, stay, and places to visit, there was no stopping. In general, I would love to have best possible weather when I hit the road (my usual search query on Google being "where is it raining in India?"). In this case, we knew that fresh snowfall would happen at most 4-5 times in entire season, and we finalized dates trusting Accuweather data. Places planned to visit: Manali, Shimla, and Auli (tentative). THE reason to travel: To witness snowfall (Yes, we did!) Dates: 20/01/2017 to 01/02/2017 (Based on weather prediction three months before) Drive: Ford Ecosport 1.5TDCi Number of people: 3 (Driver: Only Me! ) Preparation: Being very particular about vehicle maintenance, I got everything checked (also, 2nd service was due around the same time) a week before our drive. One major problem we previously faced was light throw from headlights (OSRAMs) - I finally decided to replace with with Philips X-treme Vision Plus H4 (+130%), and they are amazing! Protective clothing: 2 layered snow-proof jacket, thermals, multi-position headband, two layers of gloves (much needed at sub-zero temperatures). Medicines: Few strips each for headache, cough/cold, fever, indigestion, and vomiting. Food: Figured out that there won't be many restaurants (especially in MP and UP). Hence, carried home-made protein bars, instant-noodle packs, juices, etc. Other things carried: Mini air compressor, 2 umbrellas, hiking pole, whistle, and 25L jerry can (and funnel). Route and Itinerary (NH44 all the way, from Telangana till Punjab) 20 Jan: Hyderabad to Sagar (MP) 21 Jan: Sagar (MP) to Greater Noida 22 Jan: Greater Noida to Manali 22 - 26 Jan: Places around Manali 27 Jan: Manali to Shimla 28 - 29 Jan: Shimla 30 Jan: Shimla to Agra 31 Jan: Agra to Nagpur 1 Feb: Nagpur to Hyderabad Day-1: (Hyderabad to Sagar - 884KM) State: Telangana It was a key decision that we had to make about 1st stop, and the choice was between Chhindwara and Sagar (considering good places to stay). We were all super-excited the night before; woke up at 4am, and hit road by 4.30am. Roads were flawless till Adilabad, and roads turned ugly (not even bad) the moment we crossed Telangana border - it was stark difference, and a badly shaped bridge welcomed us in Maharashtra. State: Maharashtra Road construction was happening on NH44 (for betterment, I'd guess), and it was not so pleasant (at the same time, not eventful) driving in MH. We crossed Nagpur 1.15pm and stopped for lunch as soon as we entered MP. State: Madhya Pradesh Tarmac turned super smooth the moment we entered MP - driving on SH 547 was pleasant experience (we passed some hills in between). No wonder MP has some of the cleanest cities in the country - one could judge the same by looking at their roads. We crossed Chhindwara around 4.30PM, and reached destination (Sagar) by 7.45PM. We could already feel the cold that night (not so much, though); had dinner and called it a day. It was a great day overall (not eventful). It was relatively long day for us in the car (~900KM), and we intentionally front-loaded much of distance on day-1.
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