There’s a Snow Leopard Expertly Camouflaged in This Photo But Can You Spot It?

Snow Leopard in the Wild by Saurabh Desai

This photograph by Saurabh Desai showcases a male snow leopard hiding in plain sight. See it? We’ll give you a minute. If you’re having trouble spotting the camouflaged creature, here’s a hint: the big cat is not white, but brown.

Desai snapped this incredible animal photography, titled Art of Camouflage, in the early months of 2019. He began by trekking to the Spiti Valley located high in the Himalayas in North India with a single goal in mind. “I was on my search of the world’s most illusive cat,” he tells My Modern Met, “which is also known as ‘Grey Ghost’ in the popular local language.”

Desai ultimately made his way to the valley and near the high-altitude Kibber village. He was about five miles from the locale when he spotted the brown snow leopard, which is also called Shan in the local Ladakhi language. It turns out that the cat saw him, too. “The picture depicts the Snow Leopard trying to get off the cliff,” he recalls, “but observing our presence, it decided to wait until it got really dark and it stayed there on the edge.”

It is a testament to Desai’s patience and perseverance that he captured this image. “I spent almost 3 years in search of this amazing cat,” he admits, “and when I found it up and close to me, I was speechless.” The conditions for snapping this photo were anything but ideal. At an altitude of 17,000 feet, temperatures were -30°C and oxygen levels were at less than 50% than usual. Desai had to endure a lot to be able to capture this now-viral shot.

The snow leopard is of special significance to Desai. He is currently compiling a book about the Ladakh and Spiti valleys of Himalayas, and the animal is an important part of the peaks. “I wanted this animal to be captured the way people have described it, they say that often they don’t see the ‘Shan’ but ‘Shan’ always sees them,” he explains. “I was very [keen] to portray this animal in its own environment, perfectly camouflaged, which is an important skill that helps it in hunting.”

Photographer Saurabh Desai trekked high in the Himalayas to capture a sight of a male snow leopard in the wild. Can you find it in this image? Here's some help…

Snow Leopard in India

… did spot it yet? If not, here it is!

Snow Leopard in the Wild by Saurabh Desai

This isn't the only time Desai has snapped pictures of snow leopard, but it is the most illusionistic.

Snow Leopard in the Wild by Saurabh Desai Snow Leopard Photography Snow Leopard in India Snow Leopard in India Snow Leopard Photography

Saurabh Desai: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Saurabh Desai.

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Interview: Photographer Braves All Weather Conditions to Capture Beautiful Range of Wildlife

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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