Leopard Mother and Cub

Leopard Mother & Cub 08I would love to claim that it was photographic mastery or intuition that created this image, but the reality is that it was simply about being in the right place at the right time. I’ll reiterate that. The right place at the right time. The place, Chief’s Island in the Moremi National Park in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Put yourself in the right environment and as a photographer you will be in paradise. There is something happening around every corner. It wont always be the “Big Stuff”, but through the lens of a camera, thats not what its all about. It may be trying to capture a Southern Carmine Bee-Eaters flying next to the vehicle, or a Hammerkop trying to catch a frog. Or it may be a leopard with a cub up a tree. Its always a surprise, and with the right guidance you will realise that there is always something to see. The Okavango Delta is one of those places. Rich in biodiversity, untouched by man and continuous interaction between the species that occur there. It is a wildlife photographers eden. So, to get back to place and timing. Place – Okavango Delta … tick.

Now timing can be all about luck, sometimes its good luck, sometimes not so good. The secret with this luck, is to try and stack the odds as heavily in your favour as you possible can. This comes down to experience. Now if you don’t have the experience yourself, don’t worry, that’s why you have a guide. He’ll know the area well, where territorial animals have their territories, where grazing animals are grazing or where birds are nesting. Use his experience and the odds start to change very quickly. And don’t be shy to say what your interests are, and what you are keen to photograph. Place … tick … Guide … tick. Now you are ready to go.

It was our first afternoon out on game drive and our guide Sky mentioned a leopard had been seen hunting that morning, so it may be a good idea to explore the area where she was seen. Not long after we arrived in the area, he was quick to pick up some movement out in the distance in a tree. Out with the binoculars, and there she was, a mature female leopard lazing over a large branch high up in the tree. We made our way a little closer only to discover that there was a kill indeed, and during the course of the day she had gone to fetch her young cub. They were both very relaxed with our presence, and very soon after we arrived the cub began moving about and went to sit slightly above and behind her mother. This created the perfect opportunity to get a shot with both mother and cub in the image. We asked Sky to reposition the vehicle to get us in the perfect position, and CLICK. MOTHER AND CUB. Right place at the right time.

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