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Leopard at dusk

Leopard at dusk

This evening I was driving along the Wafwa (dried up lagoon) on my way back to Lion Camp. The sun had set and it was beginning to get dark. As I got to the edge of the Wafwa to an area we call the shelf, I could see the Puku antelope were staring intently at something in the bush nearby. They then started to whistle loudly, a clear indication that they had spotted a predator. I scanned the area they were looking at with my binoculars but was unable to see anything. There was clearly something there however as there was now a cacophony of alarm calls coming from the Puku. Suddenly it popped out at me. I could just make out the tip of a leopards tail above the grass. It was moving in my general direction and I moved my vehicle fifty meters to the left to a point near where I hoped that it would come out of the grass.

By now there was very little light remaining and I switched my 200 – 400 f4 zoom for my 70 – 200 f2.8. I sat with bated breath as the leopard walked straight where I had hoped she would, out of the grass and onto the edge of the Wafwa. She was a beautiful female and very obligingly stood stock still while my shutter clacked away. I increased the ISO to 500 and managed to get some decent shots before she moved behind the car and began rolling on her back in the sand. She did this for a few seconds and then moved quietly off into the grass again.

It is always a thrill to see a leopard on the ground in daylight as most sightings here are either at night with a spotlight or in a tree where dense foliage and bright skies can make photography very difficult. I am pleased with the shots I got although there is some visible noise at higher magnifications.

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Content Copyright Patrick Bentley Photography

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