Photographing a Cheetah Kill

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

During our visit to the Madikwe Game Reserve last week we spent one of the mornings tracking a coalition of 4 cheetah.

From the tracks we could tell that they were moving with intent and after an hour or so we found them.

Gerry van der Walt - Gerry van d

We must have just missed the kill as when we arrived at the scene the slender cats were still breathing heavily and they had just opened up the young wildebeest they had pulled down.

Now I am not one for blood and gore type photography – personal choice – but this sighting was great, and since my client and I have been discussing how to work a scene, we got stuck in to see how many different images we could get of the kill scene.

Gerry van der Walt - Gerry van d

After a few wider scene setting shots we moved to longer focal lengths to get some of the more ‘intimate’ moments of the scene.

Gerry van der Walt - Gerry van d

This boy did not want to let go, and the more his brother fed next to him, the more tight his body became.

When I am faced with a kill scene I tend to gravitate to shots like this which shows the predator and a little bit of the kill which tells the story without too much blood and guts.

But in wildlife photography you can only shoot what you see so we kept going.

Gerry van der Walt - Gerry van d

When cheetah are feeding they look up and around quite often as they are very aware that most other predators will be able to take their kill away from them.

This gave us the opportunity to try different shots, angles and apertures to tell the kill story.

Gerry van der Walt - Gerry van d

Again, quite a bit of gore but the soft, out of focus cheetah and kill at the bottom of the frame helps to put the scene in context.

It’s part of nature.

It’s what these cats do.

Gerry van der Walt - Gerry van d

All too often we get portrait type shots of a bloody faced predator but I quite like this shot – apart from the tracking collar – in which the cheetah at the back adds to the story – the story of cheetah keeping an eye out for other predators around a fresh kill.

Like it or not, a kill scene in Africa will always make for interesting sightings and potentially great wildlife photography.

Until next time!

Gerry van der Walt 

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      Gerry

      Thanks a lot Lea! This was a great trip and we had incredible sightings! 🙂

      At this stage we don’t have any set departures planned for Madikwe but I can most definitely help with private photographic guiding should you be keen. The packages we cab put together, which includes accommodation, private vehicle and a LOT of photography time is actually very well priced and makes for an incredible experience! If you would like me to send you more info feel free to drop me a mail at gerry@wild-eye.co.za

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