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    Posted May 30, 2014 by
    New Zealand
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Wildlife photography

    The "Perfect Shot"

    I’ve been photographing wild animals for the last 15 years on all the continents, always looking for the perfect image that represents a species. To get the perfect shot is not easy. Sometimes it presents itself unexpectedly for others it’s a long process of planning and waiting for that moment to arrive. This is story of 3 such images.

    I wanted to get the “preys eye view” when a leopard stalks it prey. Its not quite as easy as it sounds, to get this as a photographer you have to be low down, that means laying on the ground to make eye contact. It’s the eye contact that counts for this image. The leopard needed to be staring into my soul with it piecing eyes for this image to work. The opportunity for such an image finally came one day in Namibia, a female leopard was in a tree. After a while she stirred and started climbing down the tree. I knew that when she got to the ground it was my chance for the image I as looking for. I slipped out the vehicle and lay next to it while my guide kept an eye out for anything I couldn’t see. As the leopard reached the ground I started taking images, this caught her attention and she turned and started slowly walking towards me. I took the shot. Perfect, back in the vehicle with an amazing image that caught the feeling of being stalked by a leopard.

    I had for several years wanted to photograph the Kakapo (approx. 135 left in the world). It’s the heaviest parrot in the world, flightless and nocturnal. And it lives on only one island in the world, Codfish Island at the very south of New Zealand. After months of paper work I got my permit and could travel to island, which is accessible only by air, so I flew with a group of volunteers by helicopter to the island. Several nights later I was standing the forest with a Kakapo ranger watching a male Kakapo in a tree. As we were speaking to each other the kakapo suddenly moved, spreading it wings (which is very unusual). It happen so quickly that I didn’t have time to raise my camera, which I was holding at waist height, I just used my reflexes and took the image in that second from the hip. Got it, a very rare image of an extremely rare bird. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. In wildlife photography you have to expect the unexpected as there is no second take for a picture.

    Sometimes you know things are going to happen so you can plan to be at the right place and at the right time. This occurred on Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. Every year millions of Red land crabs migrate from the forest to the coast to mate and spawn their eggs into the ocean. Its dependent on the moon cycle as it requires the right tide for the eggs to be taken out to sea to develop. So I figured that I could get the images I was after in 2 weeks. But as always in wildlife photography not everything quite goes to plan. The Red Crabs didn’t follow their usual course due to the rains, which were delayed. They only migrated to the very south of the island to a location known as the blowholes. And they did this on dawn of the day I was leaving (there are only 1-2 flights a week from Christmas Island). I had been watching closely over the last two weeks so I was prepared. I was traveling through the forest in the dark, before dawn to get the location, it was raining and to make things even more difficult the Red Crabs were spawning near to large blowholes. This meant that every 20 seconds of so each blowhole would send a column of water into the air. Rule one in photography is not to have water droplets all over your lens, so this was tough. But with rain filled skies and salt water spray I managed to place myself in the right location. Quite often it seems your best shots are the ones taken on the last day, it was in this case.

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