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Photo

A protective leopard mother and her cubs.


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38 replies to this topic

#1 africaaddict

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:01 AM

One of the highlights of my recent return to the Sth Luangwa was our discovery of this leopard cub den site tucked away in this large fallen log surrounded by heavy croton thicket.
Getting a clear shot is never easy with leopards particularly on this occasion. These were two 4 week old cubs, one male, one female, certainly the youngest I have witnessed in all my travels to the dark continent.
It took a while for the pair to gain our confidence, but when they did we were rewarded with some special images, a time not easily forgotten, especially when the very protective mother returned!

4.37pm
I'm vicious!

D3s 500VR 1/800s f/5.6 ISO1600. Almost F/F. Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia

Posted Image




We managed to get around to the other side for a slightly clearer view.
Here the little male is using the branch as a teething ring!


D3s 500VR 1/320s f/4 ISO3200. Almost F/F. Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia

Posted Image




5.51pm
Note the cub's scratches top left corner.

D3s 500VR 1/100s f/4 ISO6400. Almost F/F. Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia

Posted Image




Here the very cute little female is pushing her brother around!
(The light is diminishing fast)

D3s 500VR 1/50s f/4 ISO6400. Almost F/F. Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia

Posted Image





4.45pm. (On another visit)
This young, skittish and very protective mum was none too pleased that we had discovered her den site with her two, 4 week old cubs.
With her tailing flicking nervously back and forth I had an uneasy feeling and sure enough she started snarling viscously and promptly charged our vehicle,stopping fortuitously at the fallen log!
Brian's (my guide) girlfriend, almost leapt from the front of the (no door) vehicle into the back,
thinking she wasn't going to stop, I lay behind the protection of my viewfinder :lol: and still kept my finger on the shutter firing away,
I wasn't going to miss this (possible) once in a lifetime opportunity! ;)
After this excitement, and everyone had collected their senses.........we got the message and promptly left.


D3s 500VR 1/1000s f/5.6 ISO800. Almost F/F. Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia

Posted Image




D3s 500VR 1/400s f/5.6 ISO800. Almost F/F. Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia

Posted Image




D3s 500VR 1/400s f/5.6 ISO800. Almost F/F. Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia

Posted Image



Cheers
Marc

Edited by africaaddict, 18 March 2012 - 06:16 AM.


#2 pault

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:13 AM

Great story and photos.

I love the second to last photo.

Waiting again... for the next time again


#3 PCNW

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:15 AM

WOW!! Stunning, thanks for sharing.

#4 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:24 AM

Lovely, Marc ......... Couple of questions on the D3S - I probably am not using it to full potential .......... How come you cranked the ISO upto 800 as early as you did? Do you recommend shooting Shutter priority and then setting for "auto ISO" so that you can stop thinking of that element?

One last question - I did read another post of yours the other day with a mention that you preferred the 500mm VR to the 200-400mm? Anything in particular that stands out?

Thanks a lot,
Hari
http://500px.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......

#5 Jochen

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:45 AM

Saw these on 500px. Great sighting & shots!!

#6 Super LEEDS

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:52 AM

Awesome.

#7 africaaddict

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:38 AM

Appreciate the comments guys, many thanks.

Lovely, Marc ......... Couple of questions on the D3S - I probably am not using it to full potential .......... How come you cranked the ISO upto 800 as early as you did? Do you recommend shooting Shutter priority and then setting for "auto ISO" so that you can stop thinking of that element?

One last question - I did read another post of yours the other day with a mention that you preferred the 500mm VR to the 200-400mm? Anything in particular that stands out?

Thanks a lot,
Hari


Thanks Hari

Back before the days of IS and VR in lenses, the rule of min shutter speed = focal length, ie 1/500s = 500mm. It's still something I still adhere to if/where possible,
also the fact that with the D3s an ISO of 800 is certainly not an issue. The log den site position that we were shooting from was also heavily shaded by late afternoon, facilitating
upping the ISO to keep a reasonable shutter speed.
I primarily shoot in manual or aperture priority and only really use auto ISO when I'm shooting BIF (birds in flight) when speeds of around 1/2000s + are needed.
Yes you're correct about my preference for the 500 over the 200-400, which I sold to fund the 500 purchase, would have loved to have kept them both.
I found the 200-400 a little lacking in quality when shooting at 400 (which was 90% of the time) over distances of 30M+, I can't fault the 500 in that department also the prime
lens will tolerate tele converters much better, even the new tc2.0 is pretty good. With the 200-400, the 1.4tc was the only one with acceptable results, as one would expect of a zoom lens. For me the only thing I miss about the 200-400 is the versatility of the zoom, to cover shorter distances I also have my 70-200+ 1.4tc on another body (D700).
What lens combination/s are you using with the D3s?

Hope this helps.

Cheers
Marc





Saw these on 500px. Great sighting & shots!!


Thanks Jochen

What is your user name on 500px?

#8 twaffle

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:47 AM

Beautiful images and the quality I've come to expect from you. What a sighting.

… clarity in thought comes after challenge …


#9 egilio

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:35 PM

Really like the third picture! Wonderful sightings!
My blog about my life and work in the Luangwa Valley in Zambia: http://egildroge.blogspot.com

#10 whorty1970

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:35 PM

Beautiful pics. love the clarity and drama of the last pic.

:D 

 

 

 


#11 Rainbirder

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:47 PM

Superb series of images & sounds like a great experience!!!

#12 ZaminOz

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:45 PM

marc
Simply stunning!
*******
Warning, if any safari camps wish to employ me as a guide, I expect a salary far, far, more commensurate than my actual experience!

#13 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:01 PM

Appreciate the comments guys, many thanks.


Lovely, Marc ......... Couple of questions on the D3S - I probably am not using it to full potential .......... How come you cranked the ISO upto 800 as early as you did? Do you recommend shooting Shutter priority and then setting for "auto ISO" so that you can stop thinking of that element?

One last question - I did read another post of yours the other day with a mention that you preferred the 500mm VR to the 200-400mm? Anything in particular that stands out?

Thanks a lot,
Hari


Thanks Hari

Back before the days of IS and VR in lenses, the rule of min shutter speed = focal length, ie 1/500s = 500mm. It's still something I still adhere to if/where possible,
also the fact that with the D3s an ISO of 800 is certainly not an issue. The log den site position that we were shooting from was also heavily shaded by late afternoon, facilitating
upping the ISO to keep a reasonable shutter speed.
I primarily shoot in manual or aperture priority and only really use auto ISO when I'm shooting BIF (birds in flight) when speeds of around 1/2000s + are needed.
Yes you're correct about my preference for the 500 over the 200-400, which I sold to fund the 500 purchase, would have loved to have kept them both.
I found the 200-400 a little lacking in quality when shooting at 400 (which was 90% of the time) over distances of 30M+, I can't fault the 500 in that department also the prime
lens will tolerate tele converters much better, even the new tc2.0 is pretty good. With the 200-400, the 1.4tc was the only one with acceptable results, as one would expect of a zoom lens. For me the only thing I miss about the 200-400 is the versatility of the zoom, to cover shorter distances I also have my 70-200+ 1.4tc on another body (D700).
What lens combination/s are you using with the D3s?

Hope this helps.

Cheers
Marc

Thanks, Marc. Useful, info indeed ...... I use the D3S with the 200-400 with (1.4tc). I use my old D300S with the 70-200.
Cheers
Hari





Saw these on 500px. Great sighting & shots!!


Thanks Jochen

What is your user name on 500px?



Thanks, Marc. Useful, info indeed ...... I use the D3S with the 200-400 with (1.4tc). I use my old D300S with the 70-200.
Cheers
Hari

Edited by madaboutcheetah, 16 March 2012 - 02:02 PM.

http://500px.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......

#14 africaaddict

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 03:21 PM

I use the D3S with the 200-400 with (1.4tc).
Cheers
Hari


How do you find the image quality at distances over 30/40M?

#15 Shreyas

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 03:59 PM

:o :o goodness....what a sighting! And what an amazing set of pictures, Marc! Am seriously blown away.
Many thanks for sharing!

#16 dawhitworth

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:09 PM

Absolutely fantastic images and recap of events. Thank you for sharing!
Cheers,
David

#17 philw

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:23 PM

Fantastic sighting - Have to add Zambia to my wish list !

#18 Kavey

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:49 PM

Wow, a stunning set of images indeed.
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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"I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees."
Alfred Tennyson

#19 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:02 AM


I use the D3S with the 200-400 with (1.4tc).
Cheers
Hari


How do you find the image quality at distances over 30/40M?



Oh! I'm not nearly in the same league as you in terms of my photography, so my expectations are lower ...... :D
http://500px.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......

#20 KathBC

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:04 AM

Absolutely stunning photos and an equally amazing story to go with them. Those cubs are beyond adorable!





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