africaaddict

A protective leopard mother and her cubs.

39 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

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

 

D315316-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

D315342-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

5.51pm

Note the cub's scratches top left corner.

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

 

D315370-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

D315416a-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

D315707-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

D315733-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

D315758-XL.jpg

 

 

 

Cheers

Marc

Edited by africaaddict

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Great story and photos.

 

I love the second to last photo.

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WOW!! Stunning, thanks for sharing.

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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

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

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Awesome.

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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?

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

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Really like the third picture! Wonderful sightings!

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

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

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marc

Simply stunning!

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Posted (edited)

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

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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?

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

Many thanks for sharing!

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

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

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Wow, a stunning set of images indeed.

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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

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

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A brilliant series!!! great pics and story!

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I don't post very often but I have to say the ethics of disturbing a den site with such young cubs have to be seriously questioned. :angry: In all likelihood the mother will have moved these cubs to another den site following this intrusion with all the danger that entails. Yes, you got some nice photos but a pity they may have led to a premature end for these cubs.

 

Was this at Tafika?

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Posted (edited)

I don't post very often but I have to say the ethics of disturbing a den site with such young cubs have to be seriously questioned. :angry: In all likelihood the mother will have moved these cubs to another den site following this intrusion with all the danger that entails. Yes, you got some nice photos but a pity they may have led to a premature end for these cubs.

 

Was this at Tafika?

 

Sorry Gary, you're entitled to your opinion but I must disagree with you, :angry: mum was going to move those cubs regardless and a completely natural thing for her to do.

Leopard cubs at this stage of development get moved almost weekly with ALL the usual danger that this entails whether we had found them or not.

We were extremely careful in our approach to this pair and made sure we were the only vehicle around, please remember that we were in a remote area of the Sth Luangwa

and not the Kruger, Mara or Sabi Sands. <_<

Edited by africaaddict

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Could I maybe use those pictures for our survival records? Rarely get pictures that good of leopards that small!

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Thanks Jochen

 

What is your user name on 500px?

 

Jochen Van de Perre

http://500px.com/marulacamp/photos

 

We should hook up, all us here on ST. I'll start a thread!

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