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"if I catch you, I'm going to rip your head off!"
This is Mia, one of the two cheetahs at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation's Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent. I had a rare day off from important Government affairs yesterday went with a chum from the Mad House to the sanctuary to spend our photographic workshop voucher that we had bought back in January. It was a voucher for a group workshop of ten photographers but such was the luck that there were just three of us on that particular workshop. A fabulous day photographing most of the big cat members with a superb host/guide who was very knowledge about the cats and how to photograph them - I just wish I had paid more attention to what he was saying! To have a cheetah lick your lens was very special; luckily there was still a very strong mesh fence between her and us! A brilliant day out.

Thought for the day: The human jaw can crush an object at around 100lbs per square inch; a black leopard can it at 1000 lbs per square inch. We were shown a sheet of metal that had been punctured not only with teeth but, worryingly, claws. Those claws are on the end of a leg that can extend around a metre through the mesh fence. The guide said that if he said "Get back!" to us, just do it; don't bother wondering which of us he was talking to. Oddly, we were all quite nervous photographing that one.
File information
Album name:alanuk / A miscellany
Rating (3 votes): (Details)
Keywords:Big Cats Sanctuary Kent Smarden Wildlife Heritage Foundation
Author's Comments:Yes, it would have been better if I had included all of her back! Still, a good reason to go back at some point and try again.
Editing Performed:Cropped left and right. Cloned out bright fence post in the background. Some dosging in the shadows.
File Size:210 KB
Date added:Apr 03, 2013
Dimensions:900 x 828 pixels
Displayed:66 times
Color Space:Uncalibrated
Customer Render:0
Date Time:2013:04:03 21:22:35
DateTime Original:2013:04:02 15:13:37
DateTime digitized:2013:04:02 15:13:37
Exif Image Height:828 pixels
Exif Image Width:900 pixels
Exif Offset:360
Exif Version:version 2.3
Exposure Bias:-0.33333333333333 EV
Exposure Mode:0
Exposure Program:Aperature Priority
Exposure Time:1/5000 sec
FNumber:f 3.5
Flash:No Flash
Focal length:90 mm
Max Aperture:f 2.8
Metering Mode:Multi-Segment
Model:Canon EOS 7D
Orientation:Normal (O deg)
Resolution Unit:Inch
Scene Capture Mode:0
Software:Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 Macintosh
White Balance:1
X Resolution:240
Y Resolution:240
IPTC Title:
IPTC Copyright:Copyright Alan Rolfe 2012
IPTC Keywords:Big Cats Sanctuary Kent Smarden Wildlife Heritage Foundation
IPTC Category:
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Mazda_Man  [Apr 04, 2013 at 09:39 AM]
Must have been an enjoyable day out, I love visiting zoos. This fellow looks to me to be overfed and perhaps a little to lazy to bother eating you Alan.
I am a little surprised at your choice of 1/5000 sec @ f3.5. At 90mm you could have got away with something around 1/500sec @f8 and thereby get a lot more DoF.
JOHN  [Apr 04, 2013 at 10:31 AM]
Sounds like you had a good day Alan, I must look out to see if there are any workshop days going on around here, some of the ones I have seen though are rather expensive.
You mention that you did not include his/her shoulders in the shot, which is a pity. Some wonderful detail in the face though and I like the way the focus falls of as it gets further back, certainly don't need any fences in the background. Well done I presume you have more so will look forward to seeing them.
Silversnapper  [Apr 04, 2013 at 11:34 AM]
This is gorgeous Alan. For me this shot is all about the intentness of the gaze and the fall-off in dof really concentrates the viewers attention on that. I don't have a problem with the missing 'hump' either, although with your cloning skills you could soon rectify that. There is a slight 'orangey' cast which I find just takes the crispness off the tones in the cat but that doesn't stop me from giving it top marks for that mesmerising gaze, the detail and texture in the fur and the spot-on sharpness from the tips of it's whiskers to the tips of it's ears. Luv it, just luv it!
George  [Apr 04, 2013 at 06:13 PM]
What more can I add Alan, just perfik, excellent work.
Helen  [Apr 04, 2013 at 10:06 PM]
An excellent pin sharp shot with excellent eye contact, & you have caught his colouring superbly. looks as if he is ready to pounce any minute. I just love it.
Mart  [Apr 06, 2013 at 08:57 AM]
Lovely shot Alan, as per the comments above, pin sharp and I love the "gaze" of this not so cuddly feline ready to leap into action.
Beermonsta  [Apr 08, 2013 at 07:58 PM]
The shallow dof gives extra punch to the pin sharp face of the cheetah. Stunning detail and facial expression complete with eye contact. For me, this is a top quality image, very well done indeed.
mpfenton  [Apr 09, 2013 at 12:31 AM]
Super sharp shooter... You can look into his eyes for ages to read his thoughts although all I could read was "FOOD" Beautiful...