Make It Work

Michael Laubscher All Authors, Michael 3 Comments

As photographers we are always looking for a crispy sharp image with nothing in line of your subject. Creating an image like is attractive but it does not always work out that way.

I know how frustrating it can be if you take a few images and you realise that there are branches or grass blades in front of the leopards face. At times animals are in such dense bush that a shot is not even possible or so you think…


This image of a leopard cub at Sabi Sabi was taken along a very dense riverbed. We followed the cub and her mother for a short while. They had lead us to a dense island in the riverbed, everyone on the vehicle thought that its over and no more images would work out for them.

The cub was well hidden in the shadows of the shrub but thanks to a beam of light coming in, hitting the cats body a image could be captured. Yes i know it is not the sharpest out there with many obstructions. To be honest, this is one of my coolest leopard pictures i have created.

The mood set and the story that is told by this beam of light together with deep shadows, the cub looking back and the obstructions around and in front of the animal. Man, to me this is beautiful, what do you think?

What about a leopard in a tree?


Every photographer wants to see on safari is a leopard in a tree. Correct? Sometimes the type of tree is not what they wished for. It could be a tree with a dense canopy, therefore it’s tough to get a good image. An experienced guide can help you get a shot or two by positioning the vehicle in a area that gives you a bit of a gap to bank the shot.


A Bushbuck’s preferred habitat is riverine thickets so photographing them could be a challenge but not impossible.


This leopard cub got given instruction by mom to stay put in tall grass as she moved off to hunt warthog which could be a big threat to a young leopard.


In this image of a lion cub there was no dense vegetation in front of it. The reason for putting it in the blog is because of a tree stump obstructing half of it face. Notice the cub is looking up into the tree; capturing the image will get the audience thinking. “What was it doing?” “What was it looking at?”

Not all the blame should be put on the vegetation because at times it could be other animals obstructing the way.


In the three images above you would have seen that a clear shot was not possible due to another animal obstructing the way.

Again I will say, make it work! Eye contact is vital and getting it sharp is key. How in dense environments?

All these images I took with manual focus.

Its the best way otherwise you will not only be frustrated because the animal is in dense bush but also because your camera does not want to focus where you want it to.

So next time a animals moves into dense bush, don’t put the camera down. Try something different and make it work!

Until next time!

Happy snapping!


About the Author

Michael Laubscher


Haunted by the allure of spectacular wildlife and African sunsets. I am a hunter-gatherer of natural light and candid moments, an appetite whet with a taste of the unknown and the smell of home; “This Is Africa”! I look forward to sharing life long experiences with you and helping you capture them. Please feel free to go check out my Instagram account

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Comments 3

  1. Piet Stander

    This proves that one should look for anything interesting and extend your chances while out there. Thank you for making one think

    1. Post
      Michael Laubscher

      Your words are 100% correct Piet!

      NEVER let a opportunity slip by, you don’t always get ample time out in the field.

      I’ve seen many people not photograph a leopard or leopard because it is behind a busy. MAKE IT WORK!

      You never know what type of shot you will get unless you try.

      Sometimes it will blow your mind as to how amazing the end result will be!

      Keep well.

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