by Naomi on August 29, 2010

in Inspiration, Wildlife

Post image for Thirst

Thirst comes first.

Silent paws pad down the dirt road, leaving perfect prints. Leopard prints. Warren has picked up the trail of this most elusive cat. It appears to be a male, heading for water. Our eyes scan ahead for the flash of his tail tip. Nothing. Still, my pulse quickens as I flick the video camera onto standby. Leopards are among the rarest of game drive diamonds. We approach the dam slowly, spotlight sweeping from side to side.

The rustle of passing leaves whispers that someone has snuck from view. But we’re focussed forward. Rounding the road’s last bend, we see him! Cutting the engine, we coast closer for a more intimate look. Not too close, preserving the dignity of his personal space. Our frail human faculties can’t detect his scent, although the reverse seems true. Muscles bunch beneath his sleek spots, anticipating action. This is the way at waterholes. Encounters with other creatures are on the cards. After all, Thirst waits for no-one.

Quotes to consider:

“You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst.” – William Langewiesche

“When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” – Ingrid Newkirk

“Kissing is like drinking salted water: you drink and your thirst increases” – Chinese Proverb

“Good as drink is, it ends in thirst.” – Irish Proverb

“They talk of my drinking but never my thirst” – Scottish Proverb

“Thirst will parch your tongue and your body will waste through lack of sleep ere you can describe in words that which painting instantly sets before the eye” – Leonardo da Vinci

While reminiscing about the Sabi Sand reserve, and taking a cue from that last quote, I simply have to share a few more of Dave’s photo’s with you. These are from another spectacular sighting at Londolozi, legendary playground of South African leopards. We followed this female for a magical hour or more, before she leapt up a tree:

FEMALE LEOPARD EYES - Londolozi Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa

FEMALE LEOPARD PAW - Londolozi, South Africa

In videography terms, we call those shots ‘simple reveals’. Now for the ‘wide establisher’:

LEOPARD IN TREE - Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Don’t you just love her body language, delightfully draped in her natural vantage point?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

cindy August 29, 2010 at 10:02 am

Oh my hat, these photos just took my breath away.
I am going to call my family to look too.

Naomi, please could you tell me how you post these / save them? My food pics look stunning on my pc, but as soon as I put them onto WordPress they look simply awful.


Naomi August 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Thank you, Cindy! I’ll pass on to Dave 🙂

Because images are our business I take quite a lot of care over uploading them. This is my workflow, which may be useful to you:

1. Duplicate the pic into two folders: High Res (for the record/future use) and Low Res (for web use).
2. Downsize the Low Res version for web (+- 400KB) which is faster for processing, good enough to view online, but not to print.
3. Copy the Low Res image into a Watermark Source folder.
3. Add a watermark via iWatermark (inexpensive downloadable program).
4. Upload to Wordpress, using the Medium size as a default, before upscaling the size (maintaining proportion) in the HTML code.

I’ve noticed that images look worse if you upload them using the smallest thumbnail size, even if you enlarge them afterwards. It may be that this is causing your problem?


theonlycin August 30, 2010 at 8:07 am

I use Photoshop and change the size to 72dpi then upload to WP at the medium size; I will try the HTML upscaling thingy and see if that works.


Naomi August 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Sounds good, Cindy…will check your blog out to see 🙂


Lance August 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Incredible shots by Dave!! And what an experience – to be in the presence…to be seeing…these leopards.

I personally just love the leopard paw shot!!


Naomi August 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Thanks so much for your comment, Lance, which I’ll pass on to Dave! He never ceases to amaze me 🙂

If you ever have the chance to visit Africa and fancy seeing leopards, the Sabi Sand reserve is the place to go. We spent years exploring the bush, barely glimpsing any, before being blessed with this opportunity, thanks to a good friend who was the head ranger at Londolozi. It was the long weekend of a lifetime!!

I’m with you on the paw shot – absolutely love close little crops 🙂


Jingle August 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm

excellent images,


Naomi August 30, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Thank you, Jingle! Also for stopping by – I’ll visit your beautiful blog shortly 🙂


souldipper August 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Simply amazing, Naomi. The paw profoundly captivates me, too. This has been a feast for my senses.


Naomi August 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Thanks, Amy! Always love to share Dave’s wonderful work 🙂


nrhatch August 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Paraphrasing Da Vinci:

Thirst will parch my tongue and my body will waste through lack of sleep ere I can describe in words that which these photos instantly set before my eye.

Thanks, Naomi


Naomi August 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Thank you, Nancy! You took the words right out of my mouth 🙂


kateshrewsday August 29, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Breathtaking photographs and a feast of quotes. What more could one want? Thirst really is the great leveller, isn’t it? Something so overpowering that one would risk anything to quench it.

Thanks. This post is a gem.


Naomi August 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Thanks so much, Kate! I’ll be back across to your fabulous blog later 🙂


Tokeloshe September 13, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Absolutely stunning post and photos!

You have a beautiful blog.


Naomi September 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

What a honey you are, thank you!


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