Capturing the Magic – A few words from Russ Burden

September 22, 2014 Tanzania Cheetah | Unique Safaris

This photo of a cheetah was made one morning when our amazing drivers took us to a section of the Serengeti known for its kopjes. A kopje is what remains after erosion has worked its ways on the landscape. Granite strands of rock withstand the rigors of wind and rain and are majestically left in the wake of the elements. Predators use the kopjes as resting places, shelters and vantage points from which prey can be seen.

Upon approaching this kopje, a female cheetah and her fairly mature cub were resting. As they began to get restless, I asked our drivers to position the vehicles so the background would be blue sky instead of the busy rocks that were behind the animals. As if by magic, serendipity occurred. A small group of clouds rolled in behind the cheetah, the sun peaked out from behind a cloud that obscured its light, and the cheetah let out an enormous stretch and yawn. I particularly enjoyed the fact she raised her front right paw at the exact second she opened her mouth as wide as possible.

Whenever I photograph an animal, I try to stay one step ahead of its next move. When I’m correct, it often puts me in position to get the best possible image. In this case it worked like a charm. It’s a matter of learning the behavior of the subject you photograph. Research and an investment in time, energy and education certainly pays huge dividends. Ultimately, it pays to have fantastic drivers who know what they’re doing, where the wildlife will be, and how to work the wildlife to obtain the best possible images. The drivers who work for Unique can do this in their sleep!

About the Photographer

Russ is the owner of Russ Burden Nature Photography Tours. He has been leading tours and workshops for over 25 years. His stock work is sold through Getty Images and is featured in magazines and advertisements around the world. Russ is a multiple time winner of the prestigious Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Award and as a result, his images have appeared in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC on numerous occasions.

Russ will be leading two photographic safaris with us in March and April 2015. For more information about Russ, visit Professionally Escorted Safaris.

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