The Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2018
Honourable Mention: Nikhil B. Vatsal
The Spitian Sphinx: What is it about snow leopards that is so entirely beguiling? Is it their inability to roar like other big cats? Their ostentatiously fluffy tails? Their acrobatic ease in unforgiving terrain? Or, as Nikhil B. Vatsal discovered, is it their talent for invisibility? With each passing year, an increasing number of snow leopard images find their way to our judges’ table but they only serve to enhance the mystery of the grey ghost. Vatsal’s superlative habitat shot, all layers and muted colours, has at its nucleus a cheeky, photobombing snow leopard (which probably isn’t visible, if you’re viewing this on your phone screen)! The stark Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh has become a popular destination for wildlife photographers, which has catalysed a community of local guides who expertly track these big cats.