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Elephant Plains Safari: Leopards Pose for Us …

News from Ben:

(Images from the back of Brendon’s and Ben’s Cameras)

The pre-dawn darkness found us all ready to clamber aboard the waiting game drive vehicles, ready for whatever sightings and opportunities the day would bring.

It turned out to be a clear, sunny day … perfect for viewing and photographing the plentiful game … and then later in the morning we came across two leopards. There was a female with a year-old cub. By then it was around 06:30 and really hot and the two cats were sprawled out on large branches of a large tree. We photographed them individually and together using 70-200 lenses rather than 400s. At times we also practised panoramas to capture both cats in the panoramic sweep.

9 Leopard Brendon EP March 2017 3

We returned to the Lodge for brunch followed by some Lightroom and Photographic tuition as well as recaps of the morning, techniques and so on.

This afternoon started off fairly quietly. We took the opportunity to focus on plains game and then a herd of elephants. The huge pachyderms spent their time swimming and playing in the water at Big Dam. Then a stately Nyala Bull arrived for a drink.

We saw lions, but they were lying flat in the heat of the day. The cubs were sleeping and the whole pride was relaxing in an open clearing. We captured a few images, but then heard that the two leopards from this morning were up a different tree, so we drove that way to catch up with them.

We arrived just as the sky turned to that evening indigo colour, and we made great use of that as a backdrop to the two leopards. They were in a thorn tree, with some rather thick vegetation around. The cub started off at the bottom of the tree, but then decided to climb up closer to mom, and to pose for us on an exposed branch.

9 Ben Leopard EP March 2017 1

When it reached mom the two has a grooming session in a fork of the tree. Then they posed beautifully for us with their heads close together as they gazed down at us. And of course the indigo sky completed the picture for us.

9 Leopards 2 Brendon EP March 2017 2

After some time the two descended from the tree and quickly disappeared into the darkness.

It was wonderful to see the two cats twice in a day in different trees, and capturing the two in one frame was just awesome!

Tomorrow we may try to catch up with them again …

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