Absorbed

When I took an evening class in black and white photography I shot my kids as an assignment. (Sounds funny saying it like that, but I was using a camera, so it’s okay!) One of the things the tutor noticed about my photos was that the kids weren’t looking at the camera.

There were two reasons for this. Firstly, I was using my camera a lot in those days, and the kids were less conscious of being in front of the lens. Course, now it’s more ‘Dad’s got his camera out, run for your lives!’. The second reason is that I would wait until they were distracted – absorbed with what they were doing.

Playing with a car

I don’t use my camera as much these days, so if the kids do decide they’ll let me take their picture, they’ll pose, and I miss the shot I was going for. Sometimes though, I get lucky, like the shot above.

rattle

I much prefer these types of portraits because you see a person in their natural way, doing what they do. Some would say that looking into someone’s eyes let’s you catch a glimpse of their soul, and there are times when that approach is the best, but my favourite portraits of the kids are moments like these, when they don’t even know they’ve been caught on camera.

As an aside, it’s been a busy old time again, with a lot of changes, but more about that later.

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The Rarest Cat

If anyone had asked me what my favourite animal was, I would have said a tiger. That was until we visited the park. Now, if anyone asks me that question, the answer will be the Amur Leopard.

Amur Leopard

The Amur Leopard is on the verge of extinction thanks to the continued destruction of its habitat and poaching. It’s thought there are only about 35 of them in the wild and there aren’t many in captivity, so the opportunity to see one of these magnificent cats is rare.

And it is a beautiful animal. Like most big cats, it was taking a nap when we got there, but was considerate enough to raise its head and yawn for us. Fantastic.

Amur Leopard

The World Wild Life Fund include the Amur Leopard as one of the animals you can sponsor and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park are helping out as well. Not only have they built a brilliant enclosure for them, they have managed to acquire a female and hope to start a breeding programme which will help boost the numbers both in captivity and in the wild.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park Leopard enclosure

Overall, the park was okay, (there is a wildlife park in the lake district that is probably better) but to see the way they look after these animals, and to see the conservation work they are involved in, makes the park a worthy place to visit, especially if it means there are Amur Leopards for future generations to enjoy.