Africa 2012 Live Diary: DAY 1, Leapin’ Leopards!


DAY 1, Leapin’ Leopards!

Hello and welcome to the first post from out in the world famous Masai Mara.

An evening flight from Heathrow that seemed to drag but eventually landed us in Nairobi early in the morning and after the usual slow Visa and bag pick ups, Chewi our driver was there to welcome us as always and take us over to the nearby Wilson airport for our short flight into the Mara!

The traffic was bad as this is is a Friday but we just made the connection and 1 hour later we touched down at our airstrip in the Mara!!

IMG 0695B

Daniel, a good friend and our guide was there to greet us and it is always great to see him again after a year! Mary, Daniel says hi!!

After a short ride back to the camp, lunch and a nap later we climbed back into the now modified 4×4 (I insist on a few tweaks and customisations to the Land Cruisers), and set off on our first drive.!!

The first drive is always a mixture of excitement and frustration as you are aching to see the cats, but need a little time to settle into the wildlife way of things and not let periods of looking with no shows frustrate you. After a few hours I soon settled back into the routine and allow the Mara to speak to us and know that we will find something!

The recent rains have made for longer grass this year and whilst this produces a challenge, challenges were made to be overcome as you will see!

We are now shattered at coming up to 23:00 as I write from the travel and then long afternoon drive, so in this instance I will let the pictures do the talking. All I can say is we have named Jen “Lucky Leopard Jen”, our new lucky charm and here you can see why! We headed to the famous Leopard George area and after a short while of tracking was graced with the presence of this gorgeous female…. These images are pretty much strait out of the camera with some mild cropping…






The play and subsequent leaping of this female was a real, rare treat and proof that as a wildlife photographer you need to know your camera inside out and sometimes shoot on instinct as this all happened in an instant, one we predicted it literally seconds before, allowing me to get my camera set up for the shot. Taken on the D3 with the 200-400 and 1.4 tc (my most used safari setup!).

The D800 is proving an interesting and very specific beast! More on this in a few days after I have given it a real workout, but the detail is astounding but with a totally different feel to the ever trusty D3.

I hope you enjoyed these images, please let me know via Facebook and twitter if you do as it really spurs me on to do more and I love hearing back from you all.

Thanks all, Richard.

Now, time for be… ZZZZzzzzzzz

Stay tuned via the RSS feedFacebook and Twitter! Lots more to come.

Comments 8

  1. Cracking shots Richard, great way to start the mara trip. What were your settings for the leopard profile shot and the images where she is jumping in the air?

    1. Hi!

      Super busy with the new group at the moment but I will get them on there soon for you. I’ll do the Leaopard first.
      Note though that the shot was possible thanks to predicting the behavior and getting into position (just!) in time.
      In essence it was a high iso to get a fast shutter speed. Will get the details up though when I can.

      Richard 🙂

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