The Moment Animals Lock Eyes With a Photographer

Animals lock eyes with a photographer

A wildlife photographer’s stunning series of images capture the moment an animal “sees” him as their eyes meet his own.

Professional wildlife photographer and cinematographer Shaaz Jung shared a viral video showing the terrifying and mesmerizing moment a leopard locked eyes with him in the jungle.

Jung, who uses a Nikon Z8, has always been inspired by the idea that a photographer is never alone in the jungle and that you are always being watched by the animals there — whether you realize it or not.

The Jungle is Always Watching

In his powerful Jungle is Watching photo series, Jung shows the animals as they catch the sight of his camera lens and make direct eye contact with him.

“This series is inspired by the true essence of the jungle. Deep in its distant chambers, in a labyrinth of trees, the jungle is alive and always watching you,” Jung tells PetaPixel.

“I’ve spent years in the forest and there’s always that feeling when you know you’re being watched. It usually happens at dusk, when the jungle goes silent and you know you’re not alone.”

The photographer says that the moment an animal’s eyes meet his own is a breathtaking one.

“On most days I look around and see nothing, but once in a while when the wind dies and birds stop calling, you see something move in your peripheral vision and your eyes meet theirs,” Jung explains.

“That moment is second to none and epitomizes the true nature of the dense jungle. You may not always see them, but they’re always seeing you.”

‘The Darker The Jungle, The Wilder It is’

Jung has photographed most of his images in the jungles of South India. He notes that most of his greatest photography moments have taken place deep in the jungle.

However, these wild conditions can make it extremely challenging to shoot.

“The deeper you go into the forest, the thicker the canopy. The thicker the canopy, the darker the jungle. The darker the jungle, the wilder it is. Here is where I’ve found some of my most incredible photographic opportunities,” Jung says.

“The more challenging it is the more rewarding it becomes. Where the light is low and the jungle is dense. Where the green eyes of a black panther can be mistaken for a leaf and the tail of a leopard looks like a branch of a tree.

“Capturing fleeting glimpses of elusive animals under these conditions can be incredibly challenging but this is why I love it.”

Jung — who has over 1.7 million followers on Instagram — was raised in the jungles of South India where his parents were avid wildlife lovers and conservationists.

Using his father’s film cameras as a child, Jung developed a deep passion for photography and its ability to inspire and spark change.

He has spent his career documenting and photographing wildlife, primarily leopards. Jung also runs his own wildlife lodges in South India and East Africa where he leads photography expeditions.

More of Jung’s work can be seen on Instagram and his website.

Image credits: All photos by Shaaz Jung.