Capturing the Moment
It gives me the great pleasure to announce the
winner of the Tigress Julie Photo Competition for 2013. It is Marion
Volborn. Congratulation Marion. I look forward to welcoming you and
your husband on a Big Cat Safari.
Marion's outstanding picture of the steam coming
out of the Tigers mouth, illustrates the advantage of visiting Tiger
Canyons in the mid winter (June, July). Shot against the rising sun
the backlight beautifully illuminates the steam. Marion's picture
captures this perfectly.
EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/1600 Sek; f/2,8; ISO 400
desire was to
take a photo of a tiger
in the morning
with breathing against the light.
Only on the last
day so I
managed a photo and I
Few who witnessed the brutal fight between Shy
Boy and Sunderban (as told in
Newsletter No 74) will forget the
primeval scene as these two huge male tigers, steam rising from
their mouths a bodies, fought for territory in the Tiger River.
Marion's picture captured a less brutal fight
between Tigress Shadow and her daughter Panna. Both tigers rear up,
protecting their throat and spine, throwing the paws forward, claws
extended, with blinding speed.
EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1/1000 Sek; f/2,8; ISO 1600
Shadow walked slowly toward
Panna. There was
a small dispute.
Panna that she is
There were many outstanding pictures entered and
none better than Dudley Steenkamp's "Flying Leopard":
70-200 f2.8 GII VR lens.
Flash +2 exposure bias.
instinctively kill any prey-competing predator they happen
upon, especially predators that could present a danger to
their young - like leopards.
The leopard in
this photo had inadvertently strolled past the concealed
‘den’ of a heavily pregnant lioness. She was not about to
tolerate a male leopard near her soon-to-be-born cubs so she
instinctively attacked. The leopard narrowly escaped her
initial charge and did the only thing he could do, he
hastily raced up the nearest tree. For several terror
stricken hours he was trapped in the tree by the pregnant
lioness. The expectant mother would simply not allow a
fully grown male leopard in close proximity to her young
cubs. The stand-off dragged on, with the lioness frequently
climbing as high into the tree as she could reach, at times
coming to within about a meter or two of the leopard before
the branches would no longer support her weight, only to
retreat and try again later. At her every attempt the
leopard was forced to retreat high up into the thinner
branches at the top of the tree. The standoff had to an end
somehow - sooner or later. I was there when it ended,
camera at the ready...
leopard finally decided to take his chances. A leap
followed by a dash for freedom would mean potential injury
for him on ground impact, that misfortune would spell
certain and instant death in the jaws of the lioness - the
stakes were high, the pregnant lioness was not going to
simply walk away, the leopard knew that too. His moment
finally came when the lioness appeared to be looking away.
In a dash of speed he leapt from the tree, hitting the
ground with a bone crunching thud. I was fortunate to get
this airborne shot as he flew through the air.
immediately set off in chase but her heavily pregnant state
was too much for her to compete against the speed of a fully
grown male leopard in his prime. In a blazing flash he got
clean away, his gamble had worked - this time...
Kemlyn Perry's picture of the Tiger jumping onto
a rock and Bridgena Barnard's picture of the leopard hoisting its
prey both show the athletism of the tiger and the leopard. In
addition both pictures capture the part the long tail plays as it
counter balances the cats.
Alex Kirichko's picture of the leopard stalking over the log is
exceptional. The haunting eyes and the intense concentration typify
a leopard closing on its kill.
Tigers will often mate 150 times over a period of
4 days. The copulation can be painful for the female so she turns
and swats the male ordering him to dismount. Nalin Trivedi's picture
has captured this perfectly in this mating sequence.
I would like to thank Marsel van Oosten and
Daniella Sibbing for judging this year competition.
Please begin preparing for next year Tigress
Julie Photographic Competition which is one picture of a lion, a
leopard, a cheetah and a tiger. The same format will apply. Each
shot scores points out of 10. The points are added up and the person
with the highest points is the overall winner. The judges for the
Tigress Julie Photo Competition 2014 are Jos & Yvette van Bommel.
The closing date is 15 November 2014.
The prize is 3 nights at Londolozi and 3 nights
at Tiger Canyons for 2 people. Good luck to all of you.
In remembering the beautiful tigress Julie who
died on the same day as Nelson Mandela (see
Newsletter No 86) I have renamed the Savannah Fund , the Tigress
Julie Foundation. In addition I have called the photographic
competition, The Tigress Julie Photographic Competition.
In a moving ceremony, several close friends of
Julie have planted trees on her grave.
This year's Big Cat Cub Safaris have started
well. Ussuri has 3 cubs (ten weeks old). Ussuri has already used 6
different den sites. The dens are truly spectacular rocky outcrops.
We have been fortunate to access all the den sites and the cubs 2
males and a female have become very habituated. Many outstanding
pictures have been captured. Bring your long lenses for best
I would like to thank Rodney and Lorna Drew for
creating this fine area and Kevin and Basil Drew for constructing an
Wishing you all a successful big cat 2014 with
many beautiful pictures.
Tread Lightly on the Earth