Lope National Park, Gabon
Photographing any leopard in the wild is no easy task. Finding and photographing one in the tropical rainforests of Central Africa is even less so. The forest undercover itself is two meters high, making it near impossible to spot these elusive felines. Only by building a highly-customized camera trap was I able to photograph this male African Leopard (Panthera pardus). During my five week stay in Gabon’s Lope National Park, I learned that this individual routinely used log bridges to cross the river that traverses the rainforest. By purposefully placing the camera trap close to the log I wanted to ensure an intimate view of the big cat, while showing the habitat in which it lives. The two flashes highlight the leopard against the shadows of the forest as the cat looks back at the camera. Leopards, like all big cats, are decreasing in numbers and are considered near threatened by the IUCN. My hope is that in the future, leopards are hard to photograph because of their characteristic stealth, rather than their dwindling numbers.
Canon 30D, 10-22mm f/4.5-5.6, Flashes, Camera Trap