A cheetah tale

More often than not – I shoot from a low angle. In many cases – the low angle simply creates better pictures. However – no rule without exceptions – and here’s maybe an “unusual” example 🙂

The other day I found myself shooting editorial images inside a Cheetah enclosure at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center. While it’s said that the cheetah won’t attack humans (unless in self defense or for survival) – it was not without some apprehension that I stepped inside the fence. But I thought the cheetah looked well fed…..and I was carrying a camera for protection…..so no worries.
 (Lauge Sorensen)

So at one point I was doing some closeups of a seated cheetah – I was very close, probably only a meter away from this impressive and beautiful animal. In the first image – I’m shooting from a standing position and the relaxed animal hardly notices me. But when I followed my normal instinct of achieving that lower angle and slowly moved my body down to a kneeling position – the cheetah suddenly turned towards me and gave me that chilling look you can see in image two. It was the look of “dinner is served” – me being dinner that is! VERY quickly I got back up on my feet again. It turns out that it’s the imposing height of humans which cause the cheetah not to engage. Once we loose our height advantage – it’s a different story….

 (Lauge Sorensen)

NB. It’s HRH Princess Michael of Kent in the background. She’s seated too – but probably due to her extensive experience with cheetah behavior and cheetah conservation as described in her new book “A Cheetah’s Tale” – she’s achieved a certain calming influence on the animals which this photographer is obviously lacking.

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