Close Encounter and an ‘attack’

From the archives. Shot in 2015 during a hike in the Eastern Cape. It was a hot midday and the animals had their siesta. Could approach them up to about 3 meters. That’s for me wild life photography: not in a game reserve but in the wild and up-and-as-close-as-possible.

This picture recently came under heavy attack (Instagram: @hermanvanbon) by a local wildlife photographer. Het mentioned that the photo was ‘crap’ (that’s his good right 😉 ) and that one can’t approach cheetahs that close without being attacked. I can imagine his thought behind that idea if you have your whole life being engaged in wildlife photography from the comfort of a game drive vehicle and in the presence of a ranger with a complete weapon arsenal (to exaggerate a bit). Next point he made is that there are no cheetahs in the wild in the Eastern Cape. Well that is certainly not true. On the contrary. Officially there should not be cheetahs in the wild in the Eastern Cape. But on numerous occasions they escape from the different game reserves and are not always recaptured. Unofficially the number is the wild is estimated up to a few hundred; mainly North of the line between PE and Plettenburg Bay. Source: Cheetah Metapopulation South Africa. Another thing one should know about cheetahs and other panthera species is that they are mainly active from sunset to sunrise and relatively inactive during the day and especially in temperatures above 30-35 degrees Celcius. After I made the picture I spoke with different nature conservationists and people of a panthera sanctuary about what happened that day and without exception they confirmed that in the circumstances I described it’s very well possible to approach even lions (except when there are cubs) up to a short distance provided you don’t sit down and keep yourself higher than they are. That’s a bit of animal psychology 😉

My ego tripped this morning

For what it is worth: one of my images became the banner of the Facebook page Cape Reflections. The administrator of this group wrote a review and that made my day ( 😉 ).

“The banner photograph at the top of the Cape Refections Group Page was the most liked image posted to the page in May as voted for by our members. Congratulations Herman van Bon! Herman is one of our regular contributors. He posts a range of his photographs to our page and it is always exiting to see which way he will point his lens next. Not only are his subjects carefully chosen illustrating a deep interest in nature and people and the world around him but he will often exercise his creative energies further by manipulating the image using a variety of tools available to the digital photographer, some times to very dramatic effect.”

The picture was one of a series of which I published a few in this blog some days ago. Herman van Bon Photography