NatureScapes.Net 2009 Images of the Year

Wildlife Gallery - Honorable Mention

Previous Boy Meets Girl
Image © Phil Shaw
Boy Meets Girl by Phil Shaw

Leopard – male and female (Panthera pardus) – Lake Nakuru, Kenya.

Canon EOS 1D2N, 600/f4 + 2x, WH2 + Gitzo GT3530LSV. Manual exposure mode f11, 1/100, iso 1000. RAW image processed in Capture One; noise reduction using Imagenomic Noise Pro, sharpened in Photoshop CS4, full frame.

This shot was taken at Lake Nakuru National Park during my last visit to Kenya. We heard about a female leopard that was being seen regularly near the entrance gate and we spent three days periodically checking the area where the reports had placed her. We found her early on Christmas morning and, as is often the case with leopards, she was quite high in a tree. Wherever possible, I like to give the subject room to move and in this instance, by backing off some, I could shoot from a place that would give me a clear view and a less steep viewing angle. The downside was that I would have to use the 2x teleconverter to make the subject reasonably large in the frame. Backing off, though proved to be a good decision as, within a few minutes, she was joined on the branch by a male – what a Christmas present! I am sure he would not have joined her if we had parked-up and started shooting close to her position.

In the shot shown, the leopards are looking at a bushbuck that was feeding close to our vehicle and apparently unaware of the cats. We had this view of them from a distance of about 50m for about 30 minutes until a troop of baboons came through that part of the forest, and the leopards decided to slink away into deeper cover.

About the Photographer
Phil is an ecologist specializing in wildlife conservation, ecological restoration and habitat creation. He now runs his own consulting company, but previously he worked at the University of East London, lecturing and undertaking research in applied ecology, biodiversity and ecological restoration and at the Institute of Water and Environment at Cranfield University.

His first SLR was an Olympus OM1 which he bought while still at college and working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In those cash-strapped days his main photographic interests were macro and flower portraits. Photography was primarily a way of observing nature more closely. Looking through the viewfinder meant paying more attention to the details of nature, and as a result, gaining a richer experience of the natural world. This still provides the main motivation for Phil’s photography today, although now, the camera is a Canon 1Ds3, the lens is usually a telephoto and the subjects are mainly birds and mammals.


This year’s awards were sponsored by:

NatureScapes.Net Wimberley Gura Gear Nik Software
Manfrotto Lens Coat Hunt's Photo, Video, and Definitely Digital
Think Tank Photo
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