Following the Herds 7 October 2020   

SM cheetahsThe club was delighted to welcome Sue Morris who is a professional photographer from Hampshire. Sue explained to members using Zoom, that to pay the bills she photographs weddings and portraits but her real passion is wildlife – especially big cats.
After a visit to Alaska and taking with her a fairly basic camera, Sue decided to take her photography more seriously and got hooked on wildlife photography. Sue has won many prestigious awards since and had many of her wildlife images published.
The presentation this evening concentrated on photographs taken on her many visits to Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park area.
On one of her first visits she managed to follow a female cheetah and her four young cubs for several days and became very attached to this very special family. On returning the next year she was delighted to find the whole family were still in the area and thriving. Sue showed us the many wonderful images she took as the cubs played together, the mother brought in food and told of the tough life that cheetahs have in the wild. It’s interesting to witness the circle of life as hyenas and vultures are quick to finish any remains from the kill.
The visits were made in the dry season so the herds of wildebeest have gone and there is very little game for the resident cats to hunt. The grass is golden at that time which gives the images a very pleasing subdued colour palette. There were some impressive portrait shots showing the deep orange eyes of the cheetahs. Other cats also featured with some impressive big maned male lions, playful lion cubs and family groups. Sue was lucky to have many encounters with the elusive leopards and captured some amazing images. She also showed a selection of elephant images with their family groups and the playful youngsters.
Sue showed us some photos of other African animals and birds to see if club members could identify them. Many of the club members have also travelled to that area so it was nice to see again the variety of photogenic subjects to be found there.
Sue advised getting as low as possible when photographing animals so that you can have eye level contact when possible. Cameras have to be set up quickly and be ready for the action which can happen very suddenly. Lighting cannot be controlled so photography can be difficult when the light is low. Sue uses a bean bag to support her camera as a tripod is not practical in a vehicle.
Africa is a country you can easily fall in love with and want to return time and time again.
Steve Hardman thanked Sue and said that her presentation showed her passion for the big cats. The images were stunning even when the lighting had been difficult. PM