Click on the picture to see it large – it really is worth it!
The WHF isn’t open to the general public; they do, however, open up to small groups of photographers. This makes funds for their conservation work; there’s no merit in us aggravating the animals because they’d just hide away from the camera; so it’s win all round.
As a result, you can get far closer than you would ever get to big cats in a zoo – they let you inside the barrier so you’re right up against the fence – being careful to watch out for a paw reaching through to snag you or your camera… We saw (and shot) lions, tigers, Amur leopards, snow leopards, cheetahs, pallas cats, pumas and a lynx! The day started with a few of the cats, then lunch, more cats, and tea. Then, in the wonderful early evening light, we had time to wander round on our own to catch whatever we wanted rather than being in a group of fifteen photographers – great light, not tripping over each other, but with the background to know what you’re doing let us get some great shooting opportunities.
Our instructor (in this case Chris’s colleague Pete Watmough) was there to give advice when needed, but didn’t poke his nose in when it wasn’t; in my case, a few helpful suggestions about catching a cat in motion and some great observations about the cat’s characters, which is vital to spot their behaviour and hence catch them well.
More to come just as soon as I can get the rest of the pictures processed to a suitable standard…