I have been doing a bit of wildlife photography lately as a sort of personal side project – some of it stalking real wild animals and some of it in zoos and wildlife parks with more exotic animals. Its a sort of precursor to a possible African photographic trip next year and I thought it might be a good idea to see just what sort of wildlife photographs I can make before embarking on such a trip. I plan to post a new Wildlife Portraits Project photograph once a week or so before I leave for Iceland in July. At which time I should have compiled a small wildlife portrait portfolio to reflect on.
Zoo and Nature Park photography has some fairly unique challenges that set it well apart from photographing animals in the wild; but ultimately, one needs lots of patience and a little bit of luck for both types of animal photography. I have written briefly on this subject before in a previous post – Wild Times with the Lions.
This second photograph in my Wildlife Portraits Project is of a one-eyed Persian Leopard. I just happened by sheer coincidence to be walking past the exhibit as the keeper was preparing the Leopard’s dinner. I used the Canon 300mm F2.L IS lens wide open at F2.8 to throw the bars completely out of focus and make them effectively invisible. It was just starting to rain and light levels were quite low so even at ISO400 I could only get a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second (handheld with the help of the inbuilt image stabilisation); but its still tack sharp where it counts.