Elliot the one-eyed leopard.

Elliot the one-eyed leopard.

I recently spent a day and part of the night, in the presence of one of my favourite leopards in the Valley. He is known locally as Elliot and is a small but incredibly strong male who lost his left eye a few years ago. The injury doesn’t seem to affect his quality of life much and he still kills regularly like any other leopard.

Elliot the one-eyed leopard

When I first got to know this leopard I would be disappointed on finding him in the bush as his missing eye – especially when the injury was fresh – didn’t make him the most photogenic subject! But the more time I spent with him the more his appearance grew on me. I find his face to be much more interesting than that of other leopards and the fact that he has one eye encourages a more creative approach when photographing him. Of course it is possible to get a ‘normal’ image of him and the easiest way to do this is to wait until he turns to his left and photograph him from that side.

Leopard portrait

Or you can ignore his eyes and zoom in on parts of his anatomy such as his incredibly long whiskers.

Leopard's long whiskers

My preference is to photograph him from a slight distance, showing him in his environment. Either in colour,

Leopard in a tree

or in black and white. (the following picture is actually an infra-red image taken with an infra-red converted camera and then desaturated in post)

Leopard in infra-red

Then as the sun set and the light fades I photographed him as a silhouette and by the light of a hand held spotlight.

Leopard silhouette

Leopard at sunset

Leopard at night

Content Copyright Patrick Bentley Photography


  1. Awesome shots as always Patrick.
    I wonder if this is the leopard we saw on our safari.

  2. Excellent collection here Patrick, my fav is the infared conversion.
    If I’m lucky our paths may cross this year on 2 trips to SLNP 🙂


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