Tripe was listed under the 12th Regiment Native Infantry at Bangalore in 1839. In 1855 he was photographer to the British mission at the court of Ava in Burma, and was appointed official photographer to the Madras presidency the following year.
In March 1856 Tripe received the commission to photograph in the southern provinces. The result was nine volumes containing over 100 photographic views of Madura, Tanjore and Trivady, Poodoocottah, Ryakotta, Seringham, and Trichinopy. The position of official photographer was eliminated around 1860. Tripe continued his military career, and was promoted to captain in 1856, Major in 1861, and then to Colonel in 1870. He retired as Honorary Major General in 1875.