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Unique footage of the wild cats. Photo

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. ФотоShooting feral cats is a difficult matter.

This requires observation and experience. We are talking about the African Cheetah in their natural habitat, i.e. in Africa, specifically in Kenya national Park Masai Mara.

First you have to figure out where he lives an interesting cat…

Photography and text by Alexey Osokin

Observation

When I begin working with a new animal, the first days I almost never removed. Mainly observed. Previously communicate with the Rangers of the reserve, local residents and biologists. Listen to their stories, some of which are more like myths and legends, some are incredibly interesting. It all helps me to learn about the animal more than is written in books. In addition, the local always know where to look for the animal whether the district cubs.

After gathering information, I’m going to Savannah in search of. Met pet, do not grab the camera. It is important to meet with him. If you just start shooting, then the probability to catch an interesting moment will depend on the size of your memory card and shooting speed of the camera. To do 1000 frames for 2-3 good — expensive, especially if you shoot on a SLR camera. And it’s not just the wear and tear of the camera, the fact that you will not get any pleasure. To make a “wow” shot is cool, but what will you see yourself? What you will have memories of the Safari? About the animal? It is clear that someone, and it’s important to bring a dozen cool shots. But you can enjoy it, and bring hundreds of good pictures!

Watching the animals, you will quickly be able to tell that he loves the animal, which places chooses to eat, where he likes to hide, how to hunt, who, like marking territory, what time of day more actively, at what point will yawn and many other interesting moments that are guaranteed to tell you when to take the camera.

You can say, “Here’s a nerd! We have three days on Safari, when we refer to local and biologists? And no time all day to spend getting to know one beast…” All right, time is often against you, of course, if you are a photographer who came for a month to shoot a lion. What do you say to that? Well, first off, Safari is worthy of greater than three day accidents. I suggest to come at least for five days. It is important that your guide was great. It will depend on very much. If you go to the national parks of Kenya or Tanzania, it would be good to get “Off road permit” to be able to move out of the selected tracks and easy to follow the beast.

Shooting

Of course, the most interesting that can be is a mother with kittens. Usually in a litter of cheetahs is four kittens, but it often happens five or even six. The most fun age kittens from 5 weeks to 4 months, until they came children’s withers:

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

In Masai Mara is enough females, and the chance to meet the kittens is very high. Here there is no reference to season. Cheetahs mate regardless of the time of year. As soon as the female leaves her children, and this is usually to 1.5 years, she was again ready to mate. Sometimes she comes into contact with a male before and that is what causes the care of children.

A competent guide often can figure out where at the moment you can find a family of cheetahs. Usually, if a guide from the local Maasai, he knows the Rangers, and they know exactly where to look. It is worth noting that cheetahs are on the brink of extinction, but because they guard them carefully. As a rule, during the first weeks of life the kittens to them put a separate group of Rangers that are on duty around the clock close to the cheetahs so that they do not create discomfort, but to keep close to them tourists.

In such cases, there are two options:

Wait, when the animals approach the road at a distance of the image.
Issue the permit “off — road” and then you will be able to approach him.
Now you know where is the family of cheetahs. Most likely on the road from the hotel will take at least hours, plus about an hour (at least!) you will spend on search in area where last seen. Thus, in order to come to a place before other tourists, but still catch good light, you need to leave no later than 5am.

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

4. Lucky you — you found them! What’s next? Next you took out my camera and started filming. I’m sure no one will be able to hold back. 🙂 If you are lucky enough to drive up to them close, it is likely that you made a series of decent shots. Now calm down and relax. It’s time to watch.

In the early morning and near sunset cheetahs are very active. For moms (or adult) is the period of the hunt. If they have already eaten, the adults can relax and kids cheetahs are incredibly playful. They are constantly running, jumping on each other, trying to climb on any Bush or tree. By the way, the adult cheetahs in the trees to climb can not, as their claws are not as sharp as kittens.

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

5. Unlike lions, which sleep up to 20 hours a day, cheetahs are constantly moving. They are forced to move in search of food, as well as for security purposes. So long in one place you can sit will fail. In what direction will the Cheetah? Where to go to stay in the best shooting position (don’t forget about the sun!). Carefully observe adult fish. They are constantly looking out for prey or danger. The vision of the cheetahs are incredibly good. And if they noticed a herd of Thomson’s gazelles, most likely, will go in their direction. And you already know the approximate direction.

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

6. Even if you did not guess the direction, then just see where the Cheetah is moving. They rarely change direction and often go in any one direction. Boldly departs in the direction of their motion for 500 meters and wait, most likely they will come to you. If the path will be small bushes, snags or hills, then with 99% probability they will jump the kids. Adult animal can also climb to the top of the hill or snags to look around. Mothers often leave their kittens in places. First, it is a natural shelter for kids while mom will hunt, second, a top a better sight of potential victims. So I see a snag in the path of the cheetahs — get ready, interesting shots are almost guaranteed.

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

10. Hunting. Everyone wants to take pictures of a Cheetah at the time hunting when the fastest animal in the world moving at the speed of 100 km/h and overtakes the unfortunate Gazelle… by the Way, again a serious argument in favor of what to look for have a mother with kittens. She is forced to hunt more often because more mouths to feed. Children should not only eat fresh meat, but to drink the blood to receive the necessary amount of minerals. Found a female with kittens — I think I saw the hunt. But can you remove it? First you need to understand that the hunt began. Here difficulties will not. The muzzle of the Cheetah will be extremely focused. The cat will no longer just stare into the distance, and will rise to stare at one point. Kittens also will be disturbed. They are very keenly watching the mother and react quickly.

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

11.

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

12. Further (except if the game itself randomly came closer than necessary) Cheetah very slowly begins to move towards the potential victim.

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

13. Most likely victim will be the calf Gazelle Thomson or a small female. Although adult males they also often eat. The question is, who exactly was in a comfortable hunting position. It plays the role of browse, grass, wind, light. Ideally, when the grass is high enough, the light falls from the attack, and the wind is blowing from the victim to the Cheetah. So the game does not see, feel or hear… I think — served food on the plate. All the movements of the Cheetah will be very slow and careful. Every 30-50 meters he stops and observes:

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

14. If the kittens are old enough, they are not sitting in the shelter, and going behind her mother. They do not lose it from view, and parallel to learn to hunt. Important! If you don’t want to spoil the hunting Cheetah, and his good footage, that do not approach very close and keep quiet! After all, if the victim notices you, then you are likely to notice and Cheetah.

The speed of a Cheetah is really crazy, but the “reserve” is small. In fact, the shot is no more than 10 seconds. Before the attack, the Cheetah gait changes with the usual, “battle” and some time is pressed to the ground so that it was not visible, it is constantly accelerating, and at some point makes a breakthrough.

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

15. By this point, you and the camera should be ready! But here you will find several difficulties:

Most likely, the Cheetah is far. And much will depend on your lens. Ideally, you should have a telephoto of at least 600 mm.
The Gazelle would notice a Cheetah before the attack and started to run. Where it will run victim lottery. Most often, they run helter-skelter in the direction of you, although sometimes different.
Given the speed, they will be removed very quickly, and even changing the direction of running. To establish a good tripod with a rotating head on the roof of the jeep is almost impossible. Therefore, the heavy lens with the camera would have something to lie down or you will keep it in hand, and have very deftly wield them to hold on to what is happening in the frame. All this is difficult, but possible. However, luck must be on your side.

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

16. All have from 3 to 7 seconds. Even if you have the rapid-fire camera is not more than 70 frames. And most likely no more than 30. Then drive to the crime scene if the hunt was successful. There you can admire over Breakfast. According to statistics, only every 4-5 attempt is successful.

If the kittens are adults, and the victim was a calf or a young Gazelle, it is likely that the mother will not immediately kill the victim and bring her kittens, so they were able to run after her and to be trained in hunting.

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

20. Walking with cheetahs and hunting figured out. What’s next? If on the horizon appeared the hyenas, which, from afar, smell the blood, then the family will take some time for a meal. Kittens eat fast enough. As soon as they finish their Breakfast, it starts mom, happy and well-fed happy kids with bloody faces definitely will run to play. This is another good time to shoot. By the way, if after opening of the carcasses produced by the mother or an adult Cheetah paw starts to dig next to her, raising the dust, they do this in order to hide the smell of blood which, as I said, can quickly catch up the treacherous hyenas.

After a meal, cheetahs must rest, but unlike lions, they do it in the side of the remains. Especially if we are talking about a female with cubs. Hyenas or other predators sooner or later they will smell fresh meat and will definitely come here. So as not to expose the kittens and herself to unnecessary risk, the mother takes the offspring to a safe distance. Most likely the sun by this time is already quite high and in Savannah will be quite hot. Relaxation cheetahs mainly choose shrubs or are located in the shade of a tree. And then you have another chance to make an interesting, and rather cute frames. Kittens and mom begin to lick each other, cuddle and build an incredibly gentle face.

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

26. And finally another tip. Love all the shots yawning or snarling predators. The Cheetah is no exception. Catch the grin is not so simple. To do this, someone has to annoy Cheetah. For example to get too close during meal as I:

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Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

29. To sit and wait, peering through the lens of the camera is not necessary. Prepare equipment and just watch for the beast. If the Cheetah started to lick, it is a sign! Often after this cat yawn. By the way, this applies to all cats, which I had to remove, including home.

In General, if you have a cat at home, before going on Safari, watch her carefully. All cats are somewhat similar. Believe me, the better you know the animal, the easier it is to photograph…

Hope have not forgotten anything and my tips will help you. Next time we’ll talk about the most secretive and dangerous cats of Africa, leopards…

Уникальные кадры из жизни диких кошек. Фото

PS by the Way, cheetahs are very long remember their relatives. They can search and call of the deceased brother a month, and when even longer…

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