Sunday, May 27th, 2012 at 10:37 pm
Caption: Two lionesses show their softer side as they doze contentedly with heads entwined, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L; Focal length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/500; Aperture: f/8; ISO 800.
Caption: Lionesses nuzzling and rubbing heads together, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
In a previous post, Lioness, Upside Down, I wrote about two affectionate lionesses nuzzling and rubbing heads heads together, and why this occurs. These photos were taken at the same time.
The one above was taken when the lionesses, snuggled together, drifted into sleep. I like the pose, with the heads entwined, and the texture of the fur.
Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at 6:21 pm
Caption: Yawning lioness (above and right) showing the long tongue with papillae or barbs on the surface.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Focal Length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/200; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400.
Lions (Panthera leo) are members of the cat family (Felidae) and, like domestic cats, the surface of the tongue is covered in sharp papillae or tiny barbs that give it a rough feel.
Lions use their tongues for grooming and eating. While grooming, the rough surface helps a lion remove insects and debris from its fur as it licks itself.
The rough surface also means a lion can lick fragments of meat from bones after a kill, ensuring it gets maximum return for its effort in bringing down prey.
Thursday, May 10th, 2012 at 3:27 pm
This Cheetah photograph, taken as the sleek cat pauses briefly and turns its head, illustrates many of the cheetah’s characteristic or distinguishing features.
- A member of the cat family, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is uncompromisingly built for speed
- It is lightly built (compared to leopard or lion), with long, slender legs. The back thighs are powerful and muscular
- The feet are small, with claws unsheathed for better grip while running
- The head is small with large nostrils for sucking in oxygen, while the chest is relatively broad in relation to rest of the body
- The tail is long for helping with balance while running at speed; the bottom section of the tail is ringed in black and white, ending in a white tip.
For more about cheetah, see Cheetah Information
Thursday, March 8th, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Caption: Big male leopard (Panthera pardus) gives us a warning stare, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM telephoto; Focal length: 400mm; Aperture: f/5.6; Shutter speed: 1/125; ISO: 400
We found this magnificent leopard male while on an afternoon game drive in Mashatu Game Reserve. But we didn’t find him by luck — we were pointed in his direction by two cheetah we’d been watching. The two streamlined cats, as if in unison, suddenly turned and focused intently on some point in the distance, aware of something we couldn’t see. They then moved off quickly in the opposite direction (below).
Our safari guide immediately went in search of whatever had caused their agitation and soon enough we sighted the leopard lying relaxed in a shady spot, exactly where the cheetah had been watching.
Although our vehicle was some way off, the leopard initially ignored us before giving us the “keep your distance” stare. He then padded off, briefly passing ahead of us through dappled sunlight (below). The image of course has been manipulated in PhotoShop, but is actually quite close to how I remember the scene.
Sunday, February 12th, 2012 at 5:31 pm
Caption: Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) scans its surroundings from the elevation of a tree stump, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal length: 135mm; Shutter speed: 1/125; Aperture: f/8; ISO: 400; Exposure compensation: +1⅓
Although the cheetah above obliged its human audience by climbing and “posing” atop the stump of a Mashatu tree, the lighting was extremely tricky. It was already late afternoon and we were looking into the bright light of the dipping sun, while the cheetah was in deep shadow cast by the huge tree.
While our eyes can magically adjust to the contrast produced by this sort of lighting, the background brightness will trick your exposure meter, leaving the subject far too dark.
To compensate for this, I overexposed by 1⅓ stops, using the camera’s exposure compensation button.
In the shot below, instead of using exposure compensation, I tried an external flash on the camera to throw additional light on the subject.
Here the shutter speed was 1/200 at an aperture of f7.1 — not much different from the first shot where I’d compensated by +1⅓. I had, however, increased the focal length from 135mm to 165mm, eliminating more of the bright background light that was influencing the meter in the first shot.
Both images were processed in RAW using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional then cropped and resized in Photoshop.