Leopard in Pink Light

Leopard at Twilight, Linyanti Concession, Botswana
It was twilight, and this leopard was just waking up from a nap. We watched her for quite some time as she climbed down the tree, stalked through the grass, and jumped up on a termite mound to get a better view of any unsuspecting prey. By then it was quite dark so we left her to her hunt and headed back to camp.
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 200-400mm lens (at 400mm) ISO 1600, f/4 at 1/200th of a second

This entry was posted in Botswana.


  1. Nicole Reno May 12, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    A new favorite!

  2. Pauline May 13, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    fantastic photo Sean, beautiful soft pastel lighting

  3. Hope May 13, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    Exquisite – leaves me breathless.
    And being a lover of cats, this image and what it expresses, makes me all the more understanding of their nature and their love of our earth mother and the out of doors and, of course, trees and the heights.

  4. michael huber May 13, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    looks like she is ready to pounce on you.great pic.

  5. Donna Strollo Zentek May 13, 2014 at 12:57 am #

    I like the background, the limb and of course the leopard.

  6. Mom May 13, 2014 at 6:29 am #

    Another true beauty, Sean. Anyone who loves cats has to appreciate this. She looks just like a cute domestic kitty, but vive la difference!

  7. Peter Butterfield May 13, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    Stunned to silence—-Beauty of the motif feline—-We cannot but gasp

  8. Lawrie Taylor May 13, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    I love big cats, and this is a beautiful example Sean. Taken at the perfect moment against a beautiful backdrop. Was flash used here and the exposure adjusted for the sky behind? However you took it, it is a gorgeous image. I want to go up and say, “here kitty, kitty!” Probably would be my last words.

    • Sean Crane May 14, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Hey Lawrie,

      No, no flash. I played with highlights/shadows a bit in post to even out the exposure between the leopard and the sky. At the time of exposure, I also tweaked the white balance to reflect the actual pinkish color of the sky (auto white balance will always try to strip the warmth out of the scene).

      • Lawrie Taylor May 14, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

        Thanks for that Sean, so it was a bit of white balance and post-processing. Do you use PhotoShop, Light Room or which do you find is, in your opinion your favoured editing software. Best regards Lawrie 🙂

        • Sean Crane May 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

          I use Aperture instead of Lightroom. When they both came out, I just took to Aperture and liked its user interface. It seems now, however, that Lightroom has been more aggressive with updates. I also use Photoshop a lot. I do as much as I can in Aperture before exporting to Photoshop to make my final jpegs and to do anything that wasn’t possible (or was more difficult) in Aperture. That being said, more and more these days I’m able to most of my adjustments in Aperture. I try not to do too much with post processing. Mostly just tone curves, color adjustments and selectively playing with the highlights and shadows sliders when needed.

          • Lawrie Taylor May 16, 2014 at 6:57 am #

            Thanks Sean, I appreciate that. I am trying to learn the ropes of Photoshop CS5 which I have. I come from a very long life in film photography, having started at about age 10. I am just turning 77 now and took a while to come to grips with digital, but absolutely love it now. I have a friend in his 40s who has basically always been in digital and he has been a great mentor to me. I belong to a Hamilton NZ Zoo Group (my home city) and love shooting wildlife, although the range of animals and birds is quite limited. I just love your book “The best of Photo of the day??” Thank you for your inspiration Sean. I appreciate your daily posts very much.

  9. GH May 13, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    thanks Sean.

  10. Mo Crane May 13, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Nice one! Look at the length of that tail!!

  11. Amanda D May 13, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    gorgeous light!

  12. lesley -Collinsville May 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm #