This is a personal note written with tremendous sadness .With all the devastating news coming out of Kenya over the last few days , my heart aches for the people of the inspiring country who have suffered loss and devastation
Having been a number of times to the country , I have never had any problems and issues with the many people I have interacted with. Only ever have they been friendly , helpful and incredibly kind.
I wish the people of Kenya well in there time of need and may they find peace and light soon…….. AA
Speed, Balance and Skill – Masai Mara Cheetah hunt
Three words that you may think relates to you as a photographer … Not in this case !
During my time experiencing this years great migration , I was very fortunate to witness an incredible 7 seconds of wildlife action. A female Cheetah with a sub adult cub hunt a Thomson’s gazelle from start to finish.
What does this image have to do with the story ? Well this is what we were doing prior to our legend guide Joseph spotting the Cheetah perched on a termite mound on the plains below or position of this “Leopard Tree ” ( thats another story in itself). Yes there was a mild panic as the golden hour was approaching and what better than a Cheetah on a mound in golden light.
We managed to calmly drive down the hill to where the cheetah was positioned. To our disappointment she had started to move off with her son . The area (only a few km from Camp) was designated “high use” and therefore no off-roading so we could not follow or reposition to get some golden light shots of the two of them .
With no where else to be, we decided to enjoy a cold Tusker while they wandered off into the distance. As I was watching her cross through a small shrub area, she went into a low crouch and stopped… she then walked forward with her son in tow. My hear rate shot through the roof and I thought, could this be… I immediately said to Stefan, Kirsty and Gerhard what I thought was going on. In a flash all eyes and lenses were trained on the moving cheetah.
This is what happened next…
So, some technical specs !
Canon 1 DX with 200-400 F4 L and 1.4 Convertor engaged.
AV mode , Aperture F5.6
Shutter speed 1/2000
25 % Crop for documentary use images
ISO 1000 (to keep shutter speed up due to overhead conditions and freeze the actions)
Panning Plated attached to lens foot on bean bag
Wild Eye vehicle platform (shooting through the pop top area with all three photographers and long lenses)
When tracking a subject some distance away, I tend to use the centre focus point and using a slight crop adjustment for composition later. On a prime lens and the incredible tracking system of the new canon bodies, it becomes far more practical for me. I also decide to keep the cheetah as my focus point as this is where the story will come from. I had a split second to decide on this and used the incredible frame rate of the 1DX to capture this sequence. (the buffer did not fill up). By slowly moving in a level plain thanks to the bean bag and panning plate.
I look forward to sharing more from this epic destination soon…