I know what you are thinking, it’s yet another leopard picture and you are probably right. It is special to be working in an environment like the Sabi Sand Game Reserve which is so well known for its leopard sightings.
We have all seen those classic leopard images of a leopard walking down the road looking directly into the lens, but what happens when you have a few bankable shots like that? Diversity in your portfolio, something you have probably heard me say just as much as posting a leopard image.
What drew me to this image as my pic of the week had to do with a few things:
1.Leopards are patient and we should not be interrupting them, especially when they are hunting, so during that time, don’t put down the camera. You are privileged to be seeing a leopard so make the most of the occasion and look for something to capture in that scene.
2.Leopard’s tails often “twitch” when hunting, hinting at the excitement of potentially making a kill. Focus on that as that is the focal point of the image.
3.The composition here is also key – probably going against all the “rules” given the space on the right of the image. For me that space is so important, as the lush green woodland is the habitat of a leopard, giving this subject a natural place within its environment. The Bokeh in the background gives it a wonderful creamy effect.
4.Given the fact that you can’t see the leopard’s head leaves you wondering – what is it looking at?
- Camera – Nikon D4S
- Lens and Focal length – Nikkor 200-400mm F4 VRII @400mm
Settings used to capture this image
- ISO – 2200
- Aperture –f5.0
- Shutter – 1/2000
Editing used on this image
When I shot this image, it was a little dark for my liking, so I pushed the exposure up by +0.65 to bring out the colours a little more. Coupled with an increase in vibrance and saturation to +11 and +38 respectively bringing out the greens as well as the orange of the leopard’s coat. All that was then left to do was to apply the Noise Reduction due to the high ISO enhancing the Bokeh and giving the image that nice soft defocused effect in the background.
Your time with a leopard can be limited, an animal that can disappear in a heartbeat, so make the most of your time photographing these creatures. Use every moment to your advantage to create a variety of images in your portfolio.