BIG CATS CRIT­TERS:

’VE HAD A

Bird Watching (UK) - - Advertisement -

Nat­u­ral­ist, broad­caster and au­thor Simon King speaks about his ex­pe­ri­ences of us­ing ZEISS op­tics to cap­ture all crea­tures great and small…

Simon King Lions at Lon­gleat Sa­fari Park Lemurs at Lon­gleat Sa­fari Park & field mouse in Na­ture­watch

Ibusy cou­ple of years. Be­sides my on­go­ing con­ser­va­tion work with our land restora­tion and ed­u­ca­tion project (www.si­monk­ing­wildl­life.com), a lot of my ef­forts have con­cen­trated in the field of wildlife still photography, fo­cussing on two ma­jor projects; a book about track­ing and watch­ing Bri­tish wildlife, called Na­ture­watch and an ex­hi­bi­tion of im­ages to cel­e­brate the 50th anniversary of Lon­gleat Sa­fari Park in Wilt­shire. The only sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two projects are that both con­cern an­i­mals and DSLR cam­eras. Oth­er­wise, each re­quired dif­fer­ent ap­proaches and both pre­sented a unique set of chal­lenges! For the book, I have trav­elled the length and breadth of the UK pho­tograph­ing the mag­nif­i­cent wildlife and the clues they leave be­hind, from foot­prints to poop, in an at­tempt to pro­duce the most com­pre­hen­sive and fully il­lus­trated book on the sub­ject avail­able to date! This task has called upon the full bat­tery of lenses I have at my dis­posal, in­clud­ing the ra­zor sharp ZEISS 100mm f2 Mil­vus lens for the ma­jor­ity of an­i­mal track and sign im­ages, as well as pho­to­graphs of rep­tiles, but­ter­flies, small mam­mals and the like. By con­trast, I ap­proached the chal­lenge of pho­tograph­ing some of Lon­gleat’s iconic an­i­mals in the Sa­fari Park with a clear tar­get – to get in­side their world! With this in mind I had a spe­cial preda­tor-proof door built to fit on the side of my Land Rover. This en­abled me to get down to ground level and up close and per­sonal with the more dan­ger­ous res­i­dents of the park, in­clud­ing the lions and tigers. To en­ter their world I wanted a low, wide, very close view and so I pre­dom­i­nantly used ZEISS wide angle lenses, specif­i­cally the as­ton­ish­ingly sharp 15mm f2.8 T* Distagon and the ZEISS 28mm f1.4 Otus. Both of th­ese re­mark­able pre­ci­sion op­tics gave me punchy, bright and sharp im­ages with a min­i­mum of edge dis­tor­tion. Just as well, be­cause for the ef­fect I was look­ing for, the big cats had to be very, VERY

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