“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Friday, 28 January 2011

Day 8 - The Uncomfortable Leopard Chase

Spent a very difficult morning trying to shoot backlit lions.
Not only was it bloody freezing, but with such high ISO settings and moving targets, the image noise becomes way too apparent and the whole thing became a real challenge.

Afterwards we stopped for breakfast out on the plains. A beautiful breezy view and perfect for the penultimate morning.
Returning to the camp for lunch I unfortunately discovered my firat tick of the trip... in my groin!!! not good. Eventually got him removed and was raring to go find a leopard that we had been told was in the area. Unfortunately it turned out to be not such an enjoyable or exciting trip. We found her and we followed her and we all managed to get a shot or two, but then more and more trucks turned up and she began to move through the grass. Each driver then sped off after her trying to get their clients the best view - it felt like a chase. I felt like we were hunting her and I wasn't alone. But our view divided our passengers and some wanted to continue to get better shots and others wanted to stop and leave the cat alone with her kill.
Eventually after one member of the group had been reduced to tears, the truck fell silent. Eventually the Leopard moved off and as Daniel turned the ignition, David finally ended the awkward situation by telling him not to follow the cat. Thankfully, by the time we got to Sundowners everyone was friends again and the episode forgotten. I do not regret speaking my mind, nor do I regret not getting great images of the Leopard. Watching wildlife is one thing, but chasing it to increase your portfolio is another thing altogether.

The day ended with a fantastic traditional Masai dinner with arrowroot and sweet potato, and a dance display from the staff around the campfire.
A truly magical evening. (Although I will be glad when I finish the Malarone tablets and can get rid of these vivid dreams too.)

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