Jul 042012

Waking up

One fine morning, we are in our luxury safari tents, and my guest George is brushing his teeth, I get up for my morning chores, not knowing the excitement that awaits us. George, David and myself have had a superb tour at this point, we all agreed during our fine dinner the night before, that anything else would be the icing on the cake.

The icing

Imagine, 2 safari trucks fired up at 6 am, long before the sun, misty dew everywhere, a coffee, and a few biscuits, and we start on the trail. Doug and Linda in the other truck hardy had a word to say, well, it’s early! So, how far did we travel? About 500 yards! Here she was laying down in a dried up river bed, February 18th, 2011.

Yes, we woke her up.

Amazing thing about these cats in Tanzania, they have no fear of safari trucks. She sat up, licked her chops, had a nice long stretch, then proceeded to her duties, which is nothing more then survival. Long lenses with a big, and gorgeous cat make life simple in the Serengeti. We could keep a distance of 60-80 yards, and still find some spectacular angles. I fired at least 800 frames on this morning with her, and she posed like a princess.

At some point, we simply had to leave her, and let this amazing gift of nature get on with her life. So, she decided to take a rest under a tree, and just survey the territory form a nice vantage point out in the open. she was laying down with her head up, in a very calm state.

I had to get out.

With permission from our guide, I climb out of the truck away from the animal, and crawl underneath to get a low angle. (last shot #9) Somehow, the clicks from my camera caught her attention. Her head and neck lifted, she turned to me with such a curious look on her face, it was incredible. Right away, my friends are suggesting… ” Rayyyyy!!”, well you can imagine the words.

Did I run?

Not a chance, I realized this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, she stared down my lens with an intense look, that at first, got my attention. I had to make a decision, stay or go… so I knew from all the Africa documentaries I have watch since a young child, that cheetahs are not at all aggressive with humans.

She got up! And started walking towards me, I hung on for a few seconds, and decided, before I get yelled at by our guide, I had better sneak back into the vehicle. Quietly, and safely, I was back in my seat, from there we left her alone, and she wandered off.

A story I will tell so long as I live, and enjoy each memory of this One Fine Morning.

Cheetah (4)

Cheetah (5)

Cheetah (6)

Cheetah (7)

Cheetah (8)

Raymond Barlow Photography Tours will connect you with the wildlife photography that you dream about, Tanznaia, Costa Rica, Newfoundland, India, or the Grizzly Bears of British Columbia.

We offer several tours around the world, private workshops, group rates. Please review the latest tour info on this webpage, and thanks for your visit here with “Focus on Wildlife”.

Raymond Barlow

Raymond Barlow

Ray Barlow's passion for capturing birds and wildlife began at the Manila Zoo in 2004. Since then he has established himself as a professional bird and wildlife photographer. Ray is based near to Toronto Canada and hosts photography travel tours and workshops around the world. He goes to places like Yellowstone, Tanzania, Costa Rica, India, and British Columbia. Action photography including animals in chase or birds such as hummingbirds in flight is Ray's specialty. Now being sponsored by Jobu Design gimbal Heads.

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  3 Responses to “Raymond’s Morning with a Cheetah”

  1. Thanks for the comments!

  2. Our experiences with cheetahs were a highlight of my trip to Kenya, seeing a mother with kits, and one memorable day when we watched a cheetah take down a wildebeest, decide it was too big to drag away, and promptly take down a young tommy, which it was able to drag away and consume–all in about a 30 minute time span…yes, unforgettable!

  3. Great Cheetah shots, I really like #9, worth the crawl under the vehicle!

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