Photograph of a Leopard With a Black Panther Shadow Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Shot

Photographer Mithun H camped out for six straight days to capture this stunning image

Jack Shepherd
Published in
4 min readAug 3, 2020

Wildlife photographer Mithun H has made a name for himself capturing gorgeous shots of big cats and other animals in the Kabini Forest in Karnataka, India, and his documentation of the black panther named Saaya is featured in the National Geographic series, “The Real Black Panther.” But a recent photograph entitled “The Eternal Couple” is particularly remarkable. The stunning shot finds Saaya looking like a perfect shadow of his leopard mate, Cleopatra, and here’s the story of how it came about.

This is Mithun H.

Mithun standing in front of a very blurred background of trees.

He’s an expert at capturing extraordinary moments in the lives of animals, such as this photo of a cub hugging his mother with joy after being briefly lost in the undergrowth.

A tiger cub on its hind legs with its face close to the face of its mother.

Or this shot of “Kate” and her cub, angrily protecting a kill from another member of the family who was approaching too close.

2 leopards in a tree. The one on the right is hissing, its ears held back.

This photo shows a male tiger who has just noticed an unusual scent on his regular patrol of the Bandipur National Park.

A tiger looking up.

And here, a leopard lounges gracefully in a tree in Kabini, taking a break to watch the world go by.

A leopard lying on a tree branch, its left paw dangling free.

Some of Mithun’s best photographs occur closer to home, such as this shot of a rose-ringed parakeet taking a bath during the final rains of…



Jack Shepherd

I have a newsletter about crossword puzzles and a podcast about rom-coms. Formerly editorial director @BuzzFeed. Email: JackAShepherd at gmail