For how long will you wait for the perfect shot? Stories of avid photographers staying parked for hours in the wild, waiting patiently for that one perfect shot are often heard of. But nothing like the length to which this Karnataka boy went.
To put across the surprising statistics first, 18-year-old Dhruv Patil spent over 9000 minutes, or 150 hours (that's roughly between 6 to 7 days) on a single road at a national forest in Kolkata, his proud father MB Patil posted on social media. The exemplary display of patience and passion just to capture an elusive black panther with his camera.
The 18-year-old boy from Bijapur is a wildlife lover and has always wanted to capture the black panther. It's not just incredibly long wait but Dhruv also had to undertake 25 visits to the Kabini wildlife sanctuary in Mysore to click his black panther.
Black Panther or Black Leopard is the black variant of the spotted leopards. Reportedly, there are only 5 to 6 black panthers in India and among them, only one is residing at Kabini wildlife sanctuary near Mysore. Even though these Black Panthers mostly exist in the south Indian state of Karnataka, they are not easily spotted. After countless Safaris, Dhruv finally met his real-life Bagheera from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book.
An animal lover to the core: Who is Dhruv Patil
Dhruv Patil is the youngest son of former minister and Karnataka Congress leader MB Patil and has been passionate about wildlife since childhood. In 2017, the then 14-year-old had saved for five years to be able to adopt animals at Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore.
He had earned money from selling origami craft items and organising games in apartments. He had managed to raise about Rs 1.3 lakh with help from friends and family and adopted a giraffe, a leopard, an elephant calf, Red-billed Toucan, Indian-crested porcupine.
Wildlife photography and stories behind the perfect shot
It's the backstory that often elevates that perfect shot by several notches. Earlier in the year in June, pictures of Saya---a rare black panther went viral on the internet. Clicked by yet another avid and celebrated wildlife photographer Shaaz Jung, the pictures were again taken at the Kabini Forest in Karnataka.
At the time, Shaaz Jung shared in an interview how he spent 12 hours a day for five long years tracking the panther. Back then, he had likened the experience of spotting the panther to that finding a needle in a haystack.