Every once in awhile I just want to do something different. Photograph something I’ve never photographed before. The perfect way to expand my experience and skills. So this past weekend when some friends of mine (who are amazing wild life photographers by the way) invited me to Animal Ark wildlife sanctuary in Reno, NV to photograph the cheetahs, I was ecstatic! Not exactly in the ‘wild’ but probably as close I’ll ever get to it during my lifetime.
All my life I have loved the big cats. And although I specifically love the tiger because I have always related to their behavior of being a solitary, but social animal, I was beyond excited to see the cheetahs in an environment other than behind a cage. As a wildlife sanctuary, Animal Ark does a lot of education about the animals that end up there and as a non-profit organization, they rely on donations and memberships to pursue their work. The cheetah run is one of the events they provide to bring in funds, plus it keeps the cheetahs that are there more happy and healthy to be able to perform behaviors similar to what they would if they were in the wild.
On this day they ran two males, gorgeous creatures that ran faster than any horse I’ve ever photographed! That was, however, all I could pull from my own experience in hopes of getting at least one photograph to enjoy when I got home. Thankfully I ended up with several despite that the event was over within a very short time. They only ran them about two times each and in short bursts. All of my images were shot using my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in manual mode. My shutter speeds were kept anywhere from1/2000 to 1/4000 with my aperture between 5.6 to 7.1. It was a great way to end my weekend!