Thursday, 5 September 2013

Africa Day Three: Photographing Cheetahs

This is one of the most coveted of all safari subjects. Cheetahs are exquisite, cute, and very, very photogenic. Once a cheetah or family of cheetahs are found, you’ll find other game drivers arriving from all directions. Word gets round fast.
Typically you’ll find most big cat carnivores at rest – lions are often hard to see because they tend to sit on long grass or in deep shade during the hottest parts of the day. Cheetah, at least from my experience, like to sit in a place with a bit of a view - on top of a small rise, an old flattened termite mound for instance – maybe to get a vantage or to catch the breeze. This makes it a lot easier for photographers to get great shots – providing the cheetahs are alert - otherwise, like the lion, they are very hard to spot.

One interesting cheetah fact I learned at Honeyguide was that mothers with several growing cubs are unusual - because they are rarely able to defend themselves from predators. A cheetah’s defence is, of course, speed, something that mum can pile on in an emergency but cubs can’t.  In the presence of marauding hyena or maybe lion, the cubs can easily be killed.
What’s apparent in the wild is that life is in fact harder for predators at the top of the food pyramid that you'd imagine. Herbivores on the other hand, have a relatively easy life. Providing they don't get eaten by a cheetah...
(Canon EF300mm f2.8 and EF 100-400mm lenses from approx 20metres)

1 comment:

  1. Adorable! Photos have captured the regal and the ludic side of their characters. Looks like the weather is still good - as it should be. Snow on Table Mountain last week proving winter had yet to recede.