Having not posted The Week in Pictures for awhile I thought I’d showcase a few of the more memorable cat sightings I’ve had recently, since they are high on many peoples’ photographic agenda. A lot of the photographs have been taken at night, and in the settings used you will notice some high ISOs coming into play. With the advancements being made in digital photography one can crank your ISO nice and high without worrying too much about noise creeping into your photo, and if you are using spot metering or manual mode and tweaking your settings, night photography can be far easier than you think.
I’ll go into a bit more detail next week in a post on photographing at night, but for now, enjoy this Week in Pictures..
Who is this leopard? A young male of probably between three and four years old was found a few days ago wandering through Londolozi quite close to the camps. His relaxed demeanour suggests that he grew up in a private reserve where he became used to vehicles at an early age. He was seen in the evening walking into the deep south, and we don’t know if we will ever see him again on our reserve, as he is probably too small to compete with any of the current territorial males. f2.8, 1/320s, ISO 2000
Trevor McCall-Peat, Richard Ntabeni and their guests enjoy prime position as the new male walks towards them. f3.2, 1/640s, ISO 2000
A female cheetah had been robbed of its kill by a hyena on the clearings opposite camp, and as we were arriving we spotted the Tutlwa female leopard down in the river on a large granite boulder, watching the proceedings… f2.8, 1/800s, ISO 640
This was an hour later on, after she stole the remains of the kill from the hyena while it went after a jackal. The lights of Tree Camp can be seen in the bottom left of the picture. f2.8, 1/80s, ISO 2500
Nick Sims and I were in the deep south reconnoitering some of the roads less travelled when we noticed what we thought was an impala leg dangling from a marula tree. On closer inspection it turned out to be a reedbuck kill with the Makhotini male resting in the branches nearby. The Little Bush female and her cub were at the base of the tree, and we presume the male stole the kill from them. This is him resting in the evening light before feeding again. f2.8, 1/250s, ISO 1000
We tried from a different angle to get some shots of him in the tree with the moon rising behind him, but the difficult lighting conditions meant this was the only usable shot captured. f2.8, 1/30s, ISO 1000
The next morning the Little Bush female and her cub were found leaving the scene. They courted disaster by moving within 80m of where the Sparta young males were feeding on a buffalo, but managed to slip away without bumping into the lions. Here the Little Bush cub rests on a rock before following its mother once more. f3.5, 1/1600s, ISO 500
The Matshipiri males are relatively enigmatic lions. They seem to be settling in well on the South-eastern areas of Londolozi. On this evening this male approached the water hissing and snarling loudly, most likely with the intention of scaring off crocodiles. We were very surprised when he grabbed this log out of the water and ran off with it like a dog with a bone, settling down to chew on it in the Gwarrie thickets. f2.8, 1/500s, ISO 2500
As Andrea Campbell and guests were enjoying sunset drinks they heard the noise of a buffalo in distress and hyenas laughing. When they arrived on the scene they found four hyenas devouring the carcass of a young buffalo and the 4:4 male leopard watching from nearby. At one point he charged in at the hyenas, scattering them, and managed to grab a few morsels before being chased off again. We don’t know if he had made the kill or not and got robbed, but it was wonderful seeing the interaction between the two predator species. f2.8, 1/400s, ISO 1600
Amazingly enough, the Mashaba Young female was also on site! Her presence was not welcomed by the 4:4 male however, and she was chased ignominiously into the treetops a number of times by the larger leopard. Here she descends a marula tree while the full moon rises in the background. 1f2.8, 1/800s, ISO 6400
The leopard viewing has been nothing short of phenomenal these last few weeks. We followed the Makhotini male while he was being escorted by the Little Bush and Warthog Wallow females, and had front row seats when he pursued and caught this sub-adult warthog. f2.8, 1/800S, ISO 1600
Two of the Sparta lionesses eye out a herd of Nyala nearby before setting out on the stalk. f3.2, 1/640s, ISO 640
Backlighting is a technique used to create glowing outlines of animals at night. Here the Tsalala pride lie up near camp before setting out on the night’s hunt. f3.2, 1/200s, ISO 1250
Blood is evident on the chin of one of the lionesses of the Sparta pride as they snatch a drink from Shooting Range Pan. They had just finished an impala kill and were looking for a cool place to rest out the warmer hours of the day. f4, 1/640s, ISO 640
The Inyathini male grips the neck of the Tamboti female during one of their mating bouts last week. f3.2, 1/800s, ISO 2000
Photographed by James Tyrrell
Thanks for the updates re. Quarantine male.
The Inyathini male’s territory seems relatively stable for the moment. He and Piva had a serious clash a few weeks ago and both seemed pretty beaten up afterwards but no major territorial shifts have been noted.