Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 28/06/2011

In Absentia – Day One

Cheetah, originally uploaded by andyskelton.

Whilst I’m away I’ve decided to write about some of my favourite images that I’ve posted to Flickr, why and how I took the photo and how I might do it different next time.

Today’s image is one of my very favourites of a cheetah taken At Dartmoor Zoo back in 2010. I was only really just finding my feet with the 1D4 and 600mm combination, though of all the cameras I’ve owned the transition to the 1D was the easiest and fastest. I’ve found before that it takes a few months before I’m able to get the best out of the camera, this in part due to my depth of knowledge I’ve now gained.

Back to the photo; I’ve already describe the circumstances that allowed me to capture such a memorable image, all due to the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff at the Zoo, and I’m looking forward to visiting the Zoo again in the next couple of months.

Of all the combinations of lenses, extenders, flashguns etc, this was the simplest of combinations – taken with just the camera and the 600mm all mounted on the tripod (of course – you don’t handhold the 600mm, and if you do, you don’t handhold it for long!). The shallow depth of field (and notice just how shallow it is, with the animals body being thrown out of focus) helps accentuate the intense stare of the Cheetah and is achieve by using the lens at it’s widest apperture (F4) as well as the distance to the animal.

This wasn’t the only great photo I manage to take whilst meandering around the zoo, you may well be seeing some more this week whilst I live it up on the Masai Mara (where I will be continually mimicking Sir David Attenborough – “Here on the side of the Cheetah’s enclosure, the female paces around trying to avoid the incessant intrusion of the photographer with the long lens.”).


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