Shaaz Jung — A man of the jungle

Sruthi Vibhavari

Hyderabad: There is an apparent passion in his voice when he speaks about Saya, the Black Panther from the majestic forests of Kabini in Karnataka whose image he captured through his lens.

“There was something extraordinarily peaceful about watching the most enigmatic cat walking into one of the greatest skies I had ever witnessed,” he gushes.

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This lensman behind the photographs of the big black cat is Hyderabad’s own, Shaaz Jung. Being a wildlife photographer, cinematographer and big-cat tracker, Jung uses his camera in the same way a magician wields his wand.

The world was further attuned to Jung’s magic when his photographs of Saya went viral after Earth — a prominent online curator of quaint, scenic wallpapers — shared those images via its twitter handle.

His first glimpse of his subject was when Saya was two years old after it was spotted by a tourist at Kabini.  

Not only did he immortalize Saya through his photographs, but via a National Geographic film titled The Real Black Panther for which shot for 12 hours a day till completion.  

For the perfect fleeting glimpse, Shaaz spends days — even weeks —  tracking and waiting.

Besides his dedication to this specific type of elusive Black Panther which he had photographed for five years, the overall leopard specie is  his first true photographic love.  

After all, when he laid eyes on the leopard for the first time, his interest in wildlife photography was sparked.

He uses a unique style of editing sometimes where he portrays the subject against a dark background, which according to him signifies hope. Fading mist, lights of the jungle and the highlighted subject only enhance his photograph.

Jung’s connection to wildlife spans more than a century due to his lineage as he belongs to the Paigah Noble family of Hyderabad and is a direct descendant of the Begums of Bhopal.

 He owns eco-tourism resorts in Kabini and South Africa

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