Normally going to a safari park means driving around in your own car taking photos out of your window – unless you’re in the places where the animals eat you, where instead, you have to take photos through a (probably) dirty window, complete with wonderful reflections and optical impurities.
Thankfully someone invented the Big Cat Photographic VIP Experience. Now you get to take photos unobstructed, and close up view of all of the animals that might eat you. But the results are incredible.
Apart from being a really great experience being that close to animals that you’d normally see behind a lot of protection, it also gave me a chance to try out my relatively new Canon RF 800mm f11, along with the even newer Canon RF 70-200 f2.8L – both of them made light work of getting super sharp shots on the Canon EOS R.
Here are some of the best shots from the day, starting with a Tiger laying on a log, just like a domestic cat would…
This next shot is probably the photo I’m most proud of from the day. It was taken with the RF 800mm, and there’s no crop used here apart from a very slight crop as part of a tiny rotation of the image, so it was perfectly straight, apart from that it’s straight out of the camera.
I felt black and white looked better than the colour version of this shot mainly because it makes it feel a lot scarier. If I had a bucket list of shots I wanted to take before I die, this would be on the list.
Given it was the hottest day of summer the tigers were always either looking for share or surprisingly playing in the water, which according to our guide they never do.
As I said, they were always trying to find shade, not least in this shot where one of them was stalking us and hiding in the bushes, anything to get away from the hot sun.
The Lions were less interesting than the Tigers were, they were mostly just sitting around enjoying the sun, but I did like taking some photos of them, these shots were taken with the 70-200 f2.8L – it’s an amazingly sharp lens, and I love it, but I’ve spent years using a DSLR with a cropped sensor, with the Canon EOS R and its full frame sensor it just isn’t as zoomy as it was on a cropped camera, and I definitely noticed it, especially since It was either 200mm or 800mm and nothing in between.
If you get the chance to go on one of these VIP experiences, I’d certainly recommend it, the kind of shots you can get are infinitely better than what you can get in your car or at a normal zoo.
Posted in: Photography