Featured Critique 12 year old female Leopard hunting an impala at a PAN in Kruger

Discussion in 'Other Animals' started by agrumpyoldsod, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. While leaving the Kruger on 22nd July 2017, we had a very rare encounter with a 12 year old female leopard catching and killing a 6 month old Impala at the N'waswitshaka Pan (Water hole) closest to the Paul Kruger Gate in the Kruger Park, South Africa.

    Here are 4 shots from the sequence.

    A full set of larger versions of both this sequence and some of my other leopard shots taken over the last 16 months can be seen at 2016/17 Leopards

    20170722-11-36-18_C025765 WM 10mp max2. 20170722-11-36-18_C025766 WM 10mp max2. 20170722-11-36-20_C025774 WM 10mp max2. 20170722-11-36-20_C025776 WM 10mp max2.
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  2. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Amazing! The timing of the second one is excellent! Well done! I leave for Kenya soon.....thanks for increasing my anticipation to new heights! LOL!
  3. Wow! Luck sure does favor the prepared! Great shooting Andy!
  4. photogramps

    photogramps Guest

    Good sequence, #1 shows the size of the Leopard's head really well, a formidable attacker and master of concealment for sure.
  5. Excellent series..we are all envious of your experience, and thankful for your skills in capturing this real life drama and sharing it with us.
  6. Thom S

    Thom S

    Aug 15, 2012
    Great timing with your second picture - very nice.
  7. Stunning photos.................
  8. bett


    Mar 31, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Stunning indeed! What an opportunity, and you absolutely nailed it!
  9. Thanks all

    We got to the waterhole at about 10am and Stu our guide found the leopard almost immediately -- no one else had -- and we set up for whatever would follow.

    The image below was taken with my D5/400mm at 10:12am when she popped her head out of the deep shadows. The action, when it happened, was 50m away and so the 600mm was a logical choice - so was 1/2000th, DAAF 21 and f/6.3 (giving me about 2.5m DOFocus) and auto-iso with matrix-metering and EC set to EV-1 - I prefer to use Auto-ISO within tight limits so I don't need to worry about overall exposure - the 60 shots in this sequence ranged from ISO 250 to 2200, when the leopard dragged the kill into a ditch. The bulk of the kill sequence was at ISOs between 250-360.

    The kill happened at 11:36 am, but there were a number of impala that came close from the righthand-side, before the final one. So did a couple of giraffe, who could have spoilt the whole thing. But they did not. The fateful Impala was part of a group who came from the left/behind and walked on the very narrow path between the waterhole and the front of the gully, with a leopard hiding inside. It was then a waiting game - the leopard started to move very quietly forward as soon as the Impala got ready to drink and exploded out of the gully when the impala finally dropped its head to drink -- it never got there.

    The first shot in the sequence was at 11:36:14, the Impala first moved at 11:36:18 and the kill (when the leopard broken the Impala's neck) happened at 11:36:20 (2 seconds and 12 frames later).
    20170722-10-12-32_D503299 WM 10mp max (from AJM MacPro).
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  10. That's some great skills for a grumpy old sod! The clarity of the action and whole experience is amazing!
  11. McQ

    McQ Just your average, everyday moderator. Moderator

    What critique is necessary here, other than you didn't mention the temperature and barometric pressure in your description of the event. :D 

    Andy, these are fantastic photos. Great job with them. I concur with allowing Auto ISO to take over in this situation.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Thanks -- the temperature was relatively cool for Africa -- mid twenties to early thirties centigrade. We were at 200-300 m above sea level.

    You have to see my shots of the Terrapin covered Hippo that was swimming in the waterhole 20170722-11-22-24_C025705-20170722 WM PANO 10mp max.
    20170722-11-30-36_C025728 WM 10mp max.
    20170722-11-35-16_C025757 WM 10mp max 1.
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  13. Truly amazing shots. It is one thing to see it in person and quite another to capture it with photographs. Well done
  14. McQ

    McQ Just your average, everyday moderator. Moderator

    Andy, the hippo shots are also spectacular! Man, what a great series of photos! Thank you so much for sharing them.
  15. My pleasure -- follow this link if you would like to see more of the shots from the 12 day trip to Ngala, the Kruger and Mala Mala. Can I recommend Mala Mala to all who want grreat sightings, guiding and accommodation for a Wildlife Safari in South Africa
  16. I agree with all above comments, and add, stunning jaw dropping shots. I especially like the hippo pics. Welcome to the Café.
  17. This was an amazing experience -- but what you have to do while waiting on a sighting -- this including alternative use for a water bottle -- for an urgent bathroom break -- AND me dropping my D5/400 from the vehicle, while undertaking the urgent matter. I had leave the camera in the dust for about 1 hour until the action had finished its course. You simply cannot do anything that might disturb predator or prey. Nikon's UK Service Centre have the D5 and gave me a quote yesterday -- GBP 1,000 - a most expensive pee ;={{
  18. These photos -- the entire sequence -- just absolutely astonishing and stunning! Wow...... Thank you for sharing them with us, as they give us a glimpse into a world many of us will never have the opportunity to experience in person.
  19. rick_reno


    Dec 3, 2012
    N Idaho
    Incredible photos. Love that first leopard shot, the eyes are really intense.
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