In May 2010, we accompanied friends to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park for the first time. I was a rookie photographer, keen to test my new camera and 200–400 millimetre lens. The first morning our experienced friends set off in the direction of Twee Rivieren on the then-Botswana Road, which has since become inaccessible. My wife and I followed closely, as we started learning how to ‘do’ the Kgalagadi.
When we spotted a leopard, the excitement was palpable. The magnificent animal was on the move, however, and although I was a wannabe photographer, I was also the driver of the vehicle. Trying to get my camera with the long lens ready to capture something worthwhile was no small feat. I had no fancy stabiliser or platform. Instead, a small window bean bag had to do the trick.
Everything happened at once… fiddling with the camera, manoeuvring the car and the leopard going into stalking mode. I couldn’t see what she was after and desperately tried to get her into focus. Then it happened – she jumped!
I sent my shutter into overdrive, in the hopes of catching the action. She flew through the air… what was she attacking? Had she succeeded? Had I even captured any of this? I was too scared to check the camera screen or the settings for fear of missing the action.
Then came the delightful realisation; she was not attacking anything but mock-stalking and charging her cub! The excitement in the car grew in leaps and bounds, but there was more to come...read more in Photo Tales.
Story by Johan Mocke
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