Ankul Shetty

Camera: Nikon Z9

Lens: NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S

Aperture: 7.1

Shutter speed: 1/32000

ISO: 200

Description: The image showcases a barren tree that serves as an unconventional dining table for the leopard's half-eaten prey. The warm, gentle hues of the setting sun create a mesmerizing backdrop.

Story from behind the lens: This photograph is the result of patience, anticipation, and respect for nature's wonders. During the morning safari, we came across the astonishing sight of a half-devoured kill hanging precariously from a branch. Leopards are known to be crepuscular hunters, and we knew that the elusive cat would return to its kill in the cooler hours of the evening when the sun's harsh rays had dimmed. Recognizing the opportunity to witness a unique and primal moment, we decided to stake out the site, waiting for the perfect time to capture the leopard's return to its meal.

As the sun gradually descended towards the horizon, the anticipation in the air was palpable. We remained quietly positioned, fully aware that patience would be the key to capturing this incredible interaction.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the leopard, feeling the cover of darkness, began its graceful ascent up the tree. Perfectly placed and timing allowed me to capture the leopard's agility and poise against the fading light. The resulting photograph, "Leopard's Twilight Feast," not only portrays the leopard's instinctual survival strategy but also the untamed beauty of the Masai Mara at dusk, reminding us of the delicate balance of life in the wild.