“Botswana offers incredible biodiversity and ecosystems for wildlife photography,” explains Vicki Santello. “It’s one of the locations in Africa I visited annually to capture unique images. On this particular trip, my guide spotted a leopard tucked into the fork of a large tree. It’s a credit to his spotting skills that he noticed her because she was well hidden inside the inner cavity. Only the top of her head and ears were visible. We drove up slowly and stopped a respectful distance away to ensure she didn’t feel threatened.
“She ignored us completely for the first 20 minutes, during which time we could only see the tips of her ears. Eventually, she raised her head to check us out but only enough so that her eyes were above the edge of the inner cavity.
“Finally, she either decided we were trustworthy or curiosity got the better of her. She raised up from her hiding hole, peeked around one of the thick branches of the tree fork and graced us with a partial viewing. Her portrait tells a special story of a shy and beautiful cat in the uniquely textured background of her treehouse.”
See more of Vicki Santello’s work at vsantellophotography.com.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM and Canon Extender EF 2x III. Exposure: 1/500 sec., ƒ/8, ISO 4000.