When going on a safari, the most requested features are usually the “Big 5”. Now finding the “Big 5” at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is usually what guests get treated to, however, one of these species makes the safari for most guests, seeing the shy, elusive and secretive leopard.
In the photo I have issued as a picture of the week, a cub, roughly around three years of age, is walking on one of the roads. Now this is a special sighting, but what makes this more special to me is when I first arrived as a guide at Sabi Sabi, this cub was shy and would literally run from any vehicle sound or movement. At that time, he was about a year and a half old. Over the past year or so, he has become extremely relax and custom to the vehicles to the point of not knowing that the vehicle even exists. His mother, who is an aged leopardess at Sabi Sabi familiarly known as White Dam female, has shown the utmost parental guidance in raising this cub to be an independent, beautiful specimen that we as rangers and most guests will cherish as long as he is seen before being chased off to develop a territory of his own. The success in a well raised leopard cub to full independence, a task not regularly carried out in the natural world.
- Camera – Canon 600D
- Lens and Focal length – Sigma 70 – 200 mm F2.8 at 190mm
Settings used to capture this image:
- ISO – 3200 as the light was intense due to the time period being late afternoon/early evening and the light was decreasing.
- Aperture of 5.0 in order to create great detail on the subject (leopard cub) and try to minimise the detail of the background and the vegetation as it was getting dark. Therefore, the focus was solely put on to the leopard cub shown in the spotlight, allowing the eyes to stand out.
- 1/400 shutter speed, which is a low shutter speed for an action moving shot during the early evening low light, but allows the perfect capture of light as the leopard cub was in artificial lighting from a spotlight, moving along the road.
- White balance – Tungsten allowing for a cooler temperature in a bluish type colour as the light was very low and decreasing but not taking away the natural effect.
Editing used on this image:
Not much editing was put into reconstructing this image as the settings used were able to capture the image to the best of my ability as I saw it in my head. A small bit of contrast and exposure was added in order to create a little bit more vibrancy and light in areas where the spotlight wasn’t focused.
Pic of the week by Kevan Dobbie (Bush Lodge Ranger)