This leopard snapped its selfie in mega urban metropolis of Mumbai (Bombay). He looks a bit startled.
The big cat was prowling Aarey Colony, a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, when it tripped Nayan Khanolkar's camera. The cat looks almost as surprised as Khanolkhar was. “When I saw a picture of the leopard with a look of inquiry in the direction of the camera, I realized it was special,” he says.
Khanolkar, a native of Mumbai, began photographing urban leopards after one of the big cats killed a seven-year-old in 2013. He started in Aarey Colony, which sits at the edge of Sanjay Gandhi National Park -- which covers 40 square miles and hosts more than 1,000 species, including leopards. It isn’t unusual for them to explore adjacent neighborhoods.
Still, the animals are sly and surreptitious, and difficult to photograph.
Khanolkar started his hunt by identifying several locations where leopards often pass through Aarey Colony. For this photo, he set up an infrared motion sensor in an alley, attached a Nikon D700 to a nearby building, and positioned three strobes at various points throughout the area. Khanolkar visited the spot every few days to check his trap. After four months of waiting, he captured a stunning leopard creeping through the scene.
Moral of the story: lock your doors and windows, and keep the kids inside at night.