Behind The Frame: Leopard

Andrew Beck Andrew Leave a Comment

Today, as part of a private guided safari I am leading we move from Mashatu to the well known Mala Mala Private Game Reserve. My guests are BIG fans of BIG cats and we will be focussing almost exclusively on the apex predators of Mala Mala for the next 3 nights.

This part of South Africa is not only synonymous with quality sightings of Leopard, but also for the sheer number of opportunities to photograph at night with the ethical use of spotlights.

This particular image was captured on the neighbouring Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve a couple of years ago but provides a good example of what we will be looking to capture during our stay in the region.

Canon 5DsR, Canon 70-200mm F2.8 @ 200mm and @ F2.8, 1/400, ISO2500

I like to shoot scenes like this in full Manual Mode and generally start off at ISO 2500, Aperture F2.8, and a Shutter Speed of 1/200 of a second. I’ll take the first image and then evaluate where I am at in terms of the resulting exposure.

This is obviously dependant on the intensity of the light and the distance between the subject and your position.

In this instance the resulting image was rather bright so I compensated using my shutter speed by increasing this to 1/400 of a second.

Why shutter speed? Well I’m not worried about digital noise at ISO2500 and depth of field is certainly not a major concern given the focal length of 200mm and the low light. Using a faster shutter speed on the other hand ensured that I had a sharp image.

Next time you’re photographing at night, try out the “Recipe of 2’s” (if you’re shooting at F2.8, and let me know how it go’s!

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About the Author

Andrew Beck

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Very few people can tell you what their passion in life is. Even fewer will be able to tell you that what they do for a living is in fact their passion. My love for the bush and conservation took me on journey which would not only allow me to explore the continent which fascinates me so much, but to share my passion for photography and conservation with others. Be sure to check out my my website and instagram account.

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