Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 07/07/2011

King of the Jungle… the Lion.. really???


My word that week went rather quickly; I would say where did the time go but I’m sure I’ll be accounting for nearly every single second in this blog for months to come. My trip to Kenya was hugely enjoyable, as well as incredibly successful having taken over 4800 photos whilst there. To put that in to some sort of context, in old money that would be 134 36 exposure films and at around £5 per film, that would have cost in the region of £670! The beauty of digital photography.

Back to the image in a second but I must just mention one thing that happened whilst away and doesn’t really relate to my trip to Africa. I checked the stats and comments for my blog whilst away when I was able; I was rather surprised when on the 30th I had a greater number of visitors and comments. It turns out I was listed on WordPress as one of the top ten most prolific bloggers on the site, which when you consider there are over 348,000 users, that is some achievement. I plan to continue at least until the end of the year and hope that something might come from the effort that I have put into all this waffle. If nothing else, this accolade is very gratifying, though of course “most prolific” does not equate to “most interesting” in any way!

Today’s image was taken at the end of a long day, and a particularly long drive to find this elusive and particularly beautiful creature (it’s a Leopard). Our driver and guide had taken us to see a number of fantastic animals during this later afternoon Game Drive, at one point we were only a couple of meters away from four teenage lions that were all tucking into a zebra that had been killed earlier that morning. The sounds of ripping of sinue and the tearing of flesh wasn’t something for the squeamish but a real taste (not literally) of real life for these creatures.

After having watched a family of Cheetahs for at least thirty minutes, our driver suddenly had an agenda as he set off at a pace. When questioned what we were going to see next, the guide enigmatically answered a “surprise” – this could mean only one of two animals in reality – either a Rhino or Leopard. As we drove on, other vehicles were also making a beeline to the same location as we were heading towards – in fact, it was only as we crossed a river that we slowed down at all. Finally with the late afternoon sun bathing the green and golden grasses in its warming rays we spotted a leopard emerging from the cover. Despite it’s reputation as a secretive animal, it was totally unperturbed by the half dozen vehicles that had descended upon it and ambled on its way. We couldn’t have asked for a better photo opportunity when the cat jumped up on to a fallen tree and sat looking at its surroundings obviously looking for prey.

We were with the Leopard for around twenty minutes and counted ourselves incredibly lucky to have even seen one, let alone get as close to it. Heading back to camp we had another close encounter as we crossed over the Mara river again, as a couple of hippos had taken up residence rather close to the spot where we needed to cross. Despite a reputation for being aggressive and unpredictable, the hippos seemed unconcerned about our presence and in fact the Driver was more concerned about getting across than these flighty creatures.

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Responses

  1. Your blog is great! All these colors! It is superb! I love to go see the new things that bloom on your blog! Thank you!

    • thank you for your kinds words :-)

    • Hi your blog stirred intense homesickness, my memories of africa – photos are splendid – the leopard so majestic – lions, elephants, wildebeest, painted wild dogs, fennic foxes, and more – such abundant manificent wildlife, thanks molly

      • Oh dear, sorry Molly, I’m getting a bit of a pang – I want to go back as soon as I can. As you say the wildlife is prolific – and the views are just spectular. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Congrats on Freshly Pressed. Your photography is stunning!

    • Thank you, I hadn’t realised I was actually on Freshly Pressed until you said.

  3. What Blog! It’s great! It’s a pleasure to go on this blog! Lots of kisses from here!

    • thank you very much for your kinds words :-)

  4. i love animals so much why i don’t know at all maybe because i love life and i love nature maybe because i love who can make so happy when i am looking and seeing how much we have beast and not them at all because co cute so much they are searching for eat but when they are full and have babies they are so lovely no matter what they are i love animals so much true.

    • Me too – and photographing them is both an pleasure and an honour – hopefully I do them justice. Thanks for the comment :-)

  5. Such an incredible photo. Kenya sounds absolutely spectacular!
    :)

    • it’s a fantastic place and I’m already planning to go back – either there or the Serengeti in Tanzania which borders the Masai Mara. Thanks for the comment :-)

  6. OMG! This certainly takes me back! I am born and raised in Kenya and the one thing I miss the most is our trips to Maasai Mara. I havent been back in 10 years and I want to visit but the tickets from US are so expensive :o|
    Luv your blog!

    -KP
    247spiceoflife.wordpress.com

    • It certainly is a fantastic country – and even though I’ve been back in the UK less than a week – I want to go back, so am starting to plan. Thanks for the comment :-)

  7. That’s a very nice picture.

  8. very nice experience to have a great pictures like that,nobody has chance like you.nice blog

  9. How beautiful, and what amazing photo opportunities. The elephants are stunning creatures. Makes my heart ache for what I don’t know.

    • I have a story about elephants I’ll be blogging about in the next few weeks – when I upload the photos of the specific encounter. I didn’t get as close as I had hoped – I wanted to get on the floor using a wide angle lens and fill the frame with one towering over me. Sadly I didn’t get close enough. Thanks for the comment.

  10. Amazing picture of the leopard, lucky to see one. Iv lived in the bush for a great portion of my life and only see leopards a few times. There is no place like Africa, and there is a magnet that keep pulling you back there. I have been away now for 7 months and missing it, but also enjoying my travels in Thailand http://allansjourney.wordpress.com Have a great day.

    • It certainly does get under your skin ( as do the mosquitoes) – I’m definitely going back. The Leopard was the highlight of the trip. Thanks for the comment.

  11. Beautiful Leopard – gorgeous photograph… you lucky thing! I’ve been living in South Africa for 14 years now, and still have to spot a “full” leopard! Great post, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

    • We were indeed very lucky to not only see this wonderful animals but for the light to be perfect and for it to jump up on the fallen tree. The planets were certainly aligned that day. Thanks for your kind comment.

  12. beautiful animal!

    • it certainly is – I was very fortunate to see it at all, let alone see it in good light and it being very relaxed with us.

  13. Thanks for sharing. Is very good and very interesting.

  14. Gorgeous photos. I love all big cats, but Tigers are MY fave!

  15. I was in the Serengeti this past January and also saw the Leopard! I miss Africa sooo much! It’s just like the Lion King! Great post!
    You can read about my travel at http://www.offtrackbackpacking.com.

    • I want to visit the Serengeti next so I can do my David Attenborough impression. I’ll certainly be checking your website out later. Thanks for commenting.

  16. Really a nice photo. http://calomiraeng.wordpress.com

    • Thank you – I was pleased with it – though I was pleased just to see the leopard.

  17. Amazing Pic – Congrats on being FP!

  18. Great work on the picture on congrats on being freshly pressed :)

  19. How lovely!

    • It was a magnificent creature – it was totally unconcerned by our presence but then when you’re as powerful as one of these animals a bunch of humans are nothing!

  20. Thank you for sharing these pics. I hope to be so fortunate one day to see those gorgeous animals with my own eyes as well.

    • We had an exceptional Masai guide who located the Leopard as well as a black rhino! Both magnificent creatures

  21. I would love to go to Kenya someday. Beautiful photo! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • The Masai Mara is amazing – you can drive and drive and drive and still not see any towns or villages. Thanks for the comment.

  22. Very nice

  23. I was going through your pictures. You have taken some great photos. I am not a traveler. I always envy (in a positive way)you guys.

    • Thanks – you must have some stamina – I’ve got loads of photos on Flickr! The good thing about photography is that there’s always something nearby to photograph (perhaps not Leopard or cheetahs though).

  24. I like the pictures in here. you’re so lucky to see all these :). I envy you :p
    anyway, how do do manage your archive so that it only shows title?

  25. Beautiful pictures! Seeing a leapard so close to you must be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m glad he held still for you so we could all see too. I’ve always loved cats, big and small alike. On my blog, I’ve started a comic strip thread about a guy who develops a tiger complex after adopting two stray cats.

  26. These are really good!

  27. Sounds like an amazing trip! And what a great picture. Thanks for sharing.

    • It certainly was an amazing trip – can’t wait for the next. Thanks for commenting :-)

  28. Great shots/composition. For a second I thought I was looking at my blog: same subjects, same location. Maybe we shot the same animals? Keep up the good work.

    • The Leopard obviously performs for the crowds ;-) THanks for the kind words – I’ll check out your blog as well :-)

  29. beautiful! king of the jungle is up for debate, but there’s no question that Cheetahs are pretty bad*ss. thanks for sharing

  30. Great stuff. Sounds like a worthy adventure. I enjoyed your easy writing style as well as the photos.

    • Thanks for the kinds words – glad you liked the words as well as the photo.

  31. Great shot! I just love cheetas.

    • Cheetahs are an incredibly graceful and beautiful big cat – the Leopard always looks so strong and agile in comparison. Thanks for the comment.

  32. I think the Lion is King, but the Leopard is definitely Queen. Beauty over power inspires me, no?

  33. Leopards are beautiful animals. When I was in South Africa we saw a leopard slowly walk in front of our vehicle, grouch into the grass, and then attack and kill an impala. It happened so fast! Amazing animals.

    http://wolvesonceroamed.wordpress.com/

    • Wow, actually seeing a kill must have been pretty special (though not for the Impala) – I’ll be sure to check out your blog :-) Thanks for commenting.

  34. Cool Pics.

  35. nice work! what do you shoot with?

    • Currently using Canon 1D4 – absolutely awesome camera.

  36. Wonderful description – I could picture it all so vividly albeit sitting thousands of miles away. Keep up the good work!

    • Oh good, my words aren’t letting the side down then! Thanks for the comment.

  37. Amazing work, keep it up (:

    • Thanks, I will :-) I’m planning to write a blog a day for all of 2011.

  38. Thanks for sharing. King of the Jungle!

    • I wish I were, I’d get all the animals to pose for me more then! THanks for commenting.

  39. Stunning shot. A rare event indeed, glad you had the opportunity to embrace it. What camera are you using if you don’t mind me asking? Your steady hand definitely shows up in your craft. Well done Andrew.

    • Thanks. Currently using a Canon 1D4 along with a number of lenses. In this case I had a 600mm, with a 1.5x and 2x convertor attached. Didn’t have room for a tripod so I have to use a bean bag and a the vehicle seat to steady the lens… which was no mean feat.

  40. Breathtaking image. How lucky you are to have had the moment.

    • Thank you – I was pleased with the images of the leopard, especially when it was skulking in the grass prior to this shot.

  41. I have to pay attention to you, dear blogger.2011-7-13 13:14:39

  42. Nicely Freshly Pressed photos, but how about the Cheetah?

  43. I love the photos, Africa is such an amazing wildlife reserve and there is always lot more to see than animals: The people, the natural settings, unspoiled culture and traditions its all amazing. You should come back again and this time come and visit Tanzania too.

    • It is indeed an amazing place – I can’t wait to get back there – though I don’t think I’ll take as much camera gear with me next time. Thanks for commenting.

  44. Wow!!

  45. wow this leopard looks majestic.!

    • It certainly did – especially with the evening light on it. Thanks for commenting.

  46. Love the post! I find it very interesting.
    If you can drop in to my blog:http://businessempowering.wordpress.com
    Thanks

    • Thanks :-) Took a look at your blog – very interesting – might well help me with my photo sales.

  47. Amazing capture! Great work.

  48. Nice blog! nice shots.

  49. These shots are awesome, you have to be in awe of such natural power and grace.

    Nice blog, and congrats on being featured on post a day.

    Rob
    http://robfranklin83.wordpress.com

    • Absolutely – the natural world is incredibly humbling esp when you’re up so close to it. I have a couple of nice closeups of the Leopard which I’ll be posting to Flickr and possible here in a week or two. Thanks for the comment.

  50. I think you had an awesome trip. 4800 pictures–really!

    • I couldn’t have put it better myself – it was indeed awesome.

  51. That is truly a beautiful picture :)

  52. Wow, what an awesome story for such a great photo. You killed with that shallow depth of field and the leopard’s fur is so rich in color… Perfect opportunity seized! You are truly gifted at this stuff! Thanks for sharing this great photo and post. Congrats on being freshly pressed, and being named one of the most prolific bloggers! I just saw this documentary called Discover The Gift and it talks about the gift that we all came to share with the world, including ourselves, our loved ones and those who could help us bring our gift our more [teachers, guides, etc]. Gratitude was also an important theme in the documentary, among many other things. I really recommend it! Thanks again :) http://on.fb.me/n57FHB

  53. nice shot!!
    http://rodposse.com/

  54. I feel like I’ve seen this page earlier on , but upon taking a bit on here it’s evident that this
    is a new web page. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often.


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