Big Cats, Up Close and Personal

Discussion in 'Birds' started by JeffKohn, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Got a chance to to shoot some privately owned big cats in McKinney, TX last weekend. These are cats that had been previously used as show cats (circus, etc) or had been owned by individuals who didn't have the means of taking care of them once they got bigger. These shoots are put on once or twice a month, and the fees go to help feeding the animals (which can't be cheap). They currently have a female lion, two female Siberian tigers, and one male Siberian tiger (he's a biggun, 600+ lbs).

    The access we get is truly amazing, there's nothing between us and them but a wire fence with gaps big enough to stick a lens through. Of course if the cats approach the fence you need to back off, those gaps are also big enough for them to get a paw through. Needless to say chimping next to the fence is not a good idea. :) This was my second time to attend one of these shoots. First time was back in February and the cats were pretty frisky. You can tell these cats are much happier and more active than any cats you'll see at the zoo. This time around the cats were a bit more laid back because of the heat and there weren't as many action shots to be had, so I put the TC-17 on my 70-200VR and concentrated more on portrait-type shots. On the plus side, this time around things were much greener, and they've been letting the foliage grow up in places which helps a lot with getting shots that don't have a fence as the background.

    Click on the image to link to the pbase page with EXIF info. As always, comments/critiques/feedback welcome.

    original.

    original.

    original.

    original.

    original.

    Rest of the gallery is here: http://www.pbase.com/jkohn/tiger_shoot_jun_05
    Gallery from my first shoot is here: http://www.pbase.com/jkohn/tiger_shoot_feb_05
     
  2. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Wonderful series Jeff. Excellent shots of beautiful animals. A little closer that I would have gotten maybe. 8)
     
  3. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    3 and 4 are just dynamic..wow..

    Beautiful animals.
     
  4. Wow, great opportunity! You've captured them well, and nice to see them laying in the grasses, naturally. Nice to know someone actually takes care of the kitties later in life - live out their days in proper surroundings, good food and relaxed atmosphere. Beautiful shots!
     
  5. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Jeff...all that I can say is...WOW. Awesome series....
     
  6. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Frank, Gale, and Frank, thanks for looking, appreciate the feedback.

    Thanks Sandi. It's sad the abuse these animals sometimes have to suffer due to people who are ignorant or just downright cruel. One of the tigers there had been used along with its sibling as a photo-prop when they were cubs. They basically kept the cubs tranquilized all day so that they were more "manageable" and people could get their pictures taken with them (the sibling didn't survive, too much damage from the tranquilizers).
     
  7. Jeff what a great job you did with these. They look very natural. It is nice to see that they are being taken care of as well.
     
  8. wonderful shots of my favorite animals...if I ever get back to texas I'll have to check this out. What's the name of the organization, do they have a web page?
     
  9. hans

    hans

    827
    Feb 5, 2005
    The Netherlands
    Jeff

    Really great ,beautiful animals you're a lucky man to be able to get these pictures.

    Fantastic.
     
  10. Cory Cooper

    Cory Cooper

    300
    May 24, 2005
    Salem, NH
    Beautiful shots!

    Reminds me of the days my friend Ann had a cougar named Rocky. Spent a lot of time with them...he was only a year old when I first "met" him...but boy was he strong! He was actually a lot of fun to wrestle around with - unless he hadn't been fed first! At the location she kept him at, there was a lion and a tiger as well...very young though. Too bad I didn't own a camera back then...would love to have some shots of him.

    Will check out the other shots on PBase.

    C
     
  11. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    James and Hans, thanks for the kind words.

    Janet: the place is called Pug Mark Park but it's not generally open to the public. That said these photo events happen on a fairly regular basis although they're slowing down a bit over the summer because the cats just aren't as active in the heat. If you'd like to attend a future event, check out this thread: http://www.texasphotoforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=694

    Cory: that must have been a real treat to play with a young cub, I envy you. I don't think I'd want to get inside the fence with an adult Siberian tiger though. :)
     
  12. Cory Cooper

    Cory Cooper

    300
    May 24, 2005
    Salem, NH
    I know what you mean! The cougar, although young, was still larger than a full grown German Shepherd. I'd say he was a good 3.5-4' long (without the tail) and at least 100 lbs. Was amazing that he knew we were playing...he would lightly bite down on your arm or leg, not enough to hurt you, but enough to hold on to you. As he got older and bigger, I grew a little more weary of him. Was an awesome experience.

    You should have seen the looks people gave when she was driving around with him in the car!!!

    C
     
  13. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Wow, that's bigger than I had envisioned when reading your first post.
     
  14. Cory Cooper

    Cory Cooper

    300
    May 24, 2005
    Salem, NH
    Yes, he was smaller at first, but when he got to be about 2.5-3 years old he was pretty big. I think (hard to remember it was years ago) he got up to about 195 lbs and a little over 5'8" in length. He was on the biggish side...wasn't fuly grown the last time I saw him.

    I do know he ate a lot of meat that she bought from the zoo. Special food with nutriuents in it. Was wicked expensive too. He got a lot of exercise, but not as much as a free cougar would, so he was a little bigger. Proabably had something to do with the diet as well. He was extremey clean and healthy though.

    C
     
  15. StephanieHelen

    StephanieHelen

    Jun 9, 2006
    Really awesome shots!
    Stephanie
     
  16. Hey you are venturing out to shooting animals now? Very nice shooting with that 70-200 and TC... very nice...
     
Loading...
Similar Threads Forum Date
little birds and big ISO Birds Jun 3, 2017
Phiily Zoo Big Cats Birds Mar 11, 2007
Big Cat Birds Sep 6, 2006
Big Cat Falls Birds May 20, 2006
Big Cat Birds Apr 23, 2005