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Thread: My Big Cat Adventure pt 1 Lions

  1. #1
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    Not sure who I told , but I treated myself a couple of months ago to a 'photographers on safari' adventure day that was advertised in the BBC wildlife magazine. When all the paperwork came through I was amazed that the day was in Kent , near Ashford about an hour away from me. There is a charity run sanctuary for big cats that is not open to the public that opens its gates a few times a year to let small groups of photographers in to take shots of their charges. They look after rescued animals and are involved in important breeding programmes, non more so that in the case of the Amur leopard ( only 2 females remain in the wild )

    When I booked it we were in the snow but on the day of the adventure it was bright and hot and sunny - 28 degrees infact !!

    Found the reserve up a twisty and windy country lane to a electric gate that just had a mobile number on the sign , rangit and gave my name and as if my magic the door slid open :D - all very James Bond

    They have obviously just had a big rebuild as all the buildings were splending and shiny new, had an hours saftey and photography lesson from a guy who spends his whole life taking people on trips to photograph animals in this country and abraod - spent 10 minutes or more drooling over his alaskan photos ' I have one place left for my polar bear trip if you like chris'

    hmmm 7000 without flights - crazy I know but you should see his shots

    Then as we all got out our kit ( there were I think 14 of us) we headed off with a keeper to the enclosures - we shot through wide wire fencing but there was only the width of that between you and these cats when they rubbed themselves against the wire they were touching you!

    I can now say I have felt the breath of a tiger on my face - have included one shot to show you quite how close we were - the leopards were cunning and needed to be watched all the time.

    The keeper threw small hunks of horse meat to various parts of the enclosure to try and help us get some good shots whilst the pro ducked around and offered advice if we needed it

    Too many to post - took more than 1200 shots and there will be more on flickr - only had time to do a first run through the lion, white lion and Amur Leopard shots so far.

    ... still have to go through my , white tiger, bengal tiger, cheetah, lynx, serval, clouded leopard, panther, cougar, snow leopard and pallas cat shots yet

    NOT complaining at all but the bright harsh sun actually made it quite hard to take good shots technically as a lot of the whites were blown and there was a lot of contrast with shadows, also a lot of shadows with fencing which makes it look unnatural

    Anyway if you are interested I'll put a couple from each beastie up and a link to the sets on flickr which I'll add to / change as we go


    African Lions


    Untitled by Sidleydoc, on Flickr


    Untitled by Sidleydoc, on Flickr


    lion2 by Sidleydoc, on Flickr


    Lion stare by Sidleydoc, on Flickr

    Big Cat Day - African Lions - a set on Flickr

    Not that many great Lion shots today , but some more to go through

  2. #2
    Administrator keith's Avatar
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    Utterly brilliant Chris and it sounds like a wonderful experience

    I hear you about harsh light. Midday style summer sun *really* sucks and can make everything seem really 2d and flat, as well as washed out and lacking in detail. (hate it when we shoot a wedding with the outside shots about 1pm or so) I think you've done brilliantly from what I can see!
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  3. #3
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    Stunning! I love the composition














  4. #4
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    Amazing, Chris! Simply amazing.

    Tom (... nice kitty!)

  5. #5
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    Chris tried to tempt me into going too but it was just way too far to travel....and I'm not jealous at all (by much) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Having worked a little with the big cats, I know how thrilling that must have been Chris and you have some truly amazing shots there. The male lion is my utmost fave of the cats.

    On our way home from seeing Buddy today, DH asked me what my utmost fave job in the world would be and I didn't hesitate a nanosecond before saying working with the big cats. My few times with them was so special and I actually had tears in my eyes remaniscing my time spent with them.....I always fill up just thinking about it.

    I imagine you came away with feelings you can't put in words!

  6. #6
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    Chris, those are truly amazing shots. What a fantastic opportunity for you. I can't wait to show my Mum.
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  7. #7
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    Just looking at the Amur Leopard photos and my chin is practically on the floor.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member uscwest's Avatar
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    OMG Chris those are FABULOUS shots.





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  9. #9
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    Beautiful!



  10. #10
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    My chin is also on the floor. My jaw just dropped. I have never seen photos like that with regards to the closeness and detail of a lion!

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