Heather Moran

Camera: Nikon Z7 II

Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR

Aperture: f 10

Shutter speed: 1/1000

ISO: 220

Description: A mating pair of leopards rest in a tree.

Story from behind the lens: Shujaa and his mate rest in a tree during their mating ritual. Leopards typically mate about every 15 minutes over a 5 day period, it’s not exact and towards the end of the mating ritual the 15 minutes tends to lengthen into longer rest periods. Since this pair had been mating so close to the Wild Eye Mara camp we were able to witness the mating a few times and to follow them through to the end of their mating ritual. Shortly after this image was taken, the female left the area. The idea of Yin & Yang, an artist friend of mine pointed out the visual reference but the more I thought about it, the more I felt if fit the leopards characters. The male leopard (fully lit in the image) was all power and muscle. He would sit out in the open and acted as if he were a King. He had a very terrifying demeanor. The female (in shadow) was skittish and shy. During the mating she had stayed fairly close to the male, but would hide when they were finished and come back to the male when she was ready again.