Freelance photographer Steve Winter traveled to Kaziranga National Park in India on assignment for National Geographic magazine. There, he sought to illustrate the threat humans pose to the park's wild animals, including this young tiger, which Winter photographed with a remote camera.
Here, in his own words, Winter tells the story behind the picture:
I feel that part of my job is to show readers images of animals they have seen before, but show them in a new way.
I hope to get viewers excited again about tigers — an iconic species that we have seen a million times, but one that is in real trouble.
Most images of tigers from Kaziranga are taken either from a Jeep or from the back of an elephant, but for this image, I wanted to be at eye level with the tiger. I don't like to look down at an animal. It takes their power away — "look 'em right in the eye" is what I like.
This picture was made with a remote camera. I'd tracked a female and a cub that recently walked on this trail, and selected this spot, where two trails converge, to up my chances of capturing an image.
When I asked permission from the park director, he expressed concern. I needed at least three hours to set up the camera trap and flashes, and it was dangerous: there were many rhinos, elephants and tigers in the area. I showed him my image of a rhino that recently had been mating and he loved it, so he gave me four guards for protection, and we put up the camera and camouflaged it well. I knew that because of the way the trail leads the animals, if a tiger came through, it would be looking right at the camera.
The first image I got was of this young male at night. But I was lucky — the same tiger came through again, but this time at 1:30 p.m., under a cerulean sky!