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Colin Woods

Super black leopard photos

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Saw this in the Guardian - fantastic images (especially the glowing eyes in the darkness) and, it seems, the first photographic proof of the existence of the black leopard since 1909. 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/13/first-photograph-of-rare-african-black-leopard-captured-in-more-than-a-century

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I didn't realise they were so rare and unconfirmed in the wild - at least the African ones

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In the first (top) image it does not look like the real thing. The front leg looks too straight and awkward.

 

Allan

 

 

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On 15/02/2019 at 10:29, Allan Bell said:

In the first (top) image it does not look like the real thing. The front leg looks too straight and awkward.

 

Allan

 

 

And the second image has the rock detail bleeding through the cat's legs. Perhaps it's just the nature of using that kind of equipment that images require manipulation

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30 minutes ago, Avpics said:

And the second image has the rock detail bleeding through the cat's legs. Perhaps it's just the nature of using that kind of equipment that images require manipulation

He's presumably used a slow enough shutter speed for the moonlight to register, in which case that's the ambient light exposure showing through the flash exposure.

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What a pity details of the site have been released.

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On ‎15‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 10:29, Allan Bell said:

In the first (top) image it does not look like the real thing. The front leg looks too straight and awkward.

 

Allan

 

 

Agree with you Allan the front looks out of proportion where the legs join the body, far to straight and thin at the top where the shoulder ends. May be a trick of the light but i'm not convinced.

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Not being an expert on the anatomical proportions of leopards I can't comment on such (and therefore have no need to doubt the authenticity of what is a particularly impressive and significant set of images), but spacecadet's observation on ghosting as a result of using flash with long shutter speeds is spot on.

 

DD

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12 hours ago, aphperspective said:

Agree with you Allan the front looks out of proportion where the legs join the body, far to straight and thin at the top where the shoulder ends. May be a trick of the light but i'm not convinced.

 

I am not convinced that it is real either.

 

Wonder why the camera was not set to video the subject as well as it appears to be three different locations.

 

Allan

 

 

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They are real. probably used upto a dozen different camera traps placed in different locations. An IR/heat sensor would be used to trigger the camera and any flashes used. The camera would not be set to video because 

a. the light source apart from ambient was a flash so video would be very dark> the leopard would be unlikely to come in range if video lights were used.

b. Even if the light was sufficient I am not sure that the triggers could start and stop a video clip as well as taking possibly multiple single pictures.

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6 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

I am not convinced that it is real either.

 

Wonder why the camera was not set to video the subject as well as it appears to be three different locations.

 

Allan

 

 

 

 

19 hours ago, aphperspective said:

Agree with you Allan the front looks out of proportion where the legs join the body, far to straight and thin at the top where the shoulder ends. May be a trick of the light but i'm not convinced.

I don't think you should be suggesting what would amount to deception. There's no reason to doubt this chap's bona fides- he's been doing this stuff for some time. For the BBC, no less.

Edited by spacecadet

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54 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

 

 

I don't think you should be suggesting what would amount to deception. There's no reason to doubt this chap's bona fides- he's been doing this stuff for some time. For the BBC, no less.

I'm just pointing out to me that image looks very stiff legged and odd where the front left leg joins the body, yes it may be a trick of the light or the angle causing it but looks a very unreal walk for a leopard.  

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17 hours ago, aphperspective said:

I'm just pointing out to me that image looks very stiff legged and odd where the front left leg joins the body, yes it may be a trick of the light or the angle causing it but looks a very unreal walk for a leopard.  

 

Ditto.

 

I am not doubting the chap's bona fides. It is that somehow the images do not ring true of an animal in the wild.

 

Allan

 

EDIT: I would love to be proven wrong.

 

ITMA

 

 

Edited by Allan Bell

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2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

 

 

 I would love to be proven wrong.

 

 

 

 

Will this do?

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/aje.12586

When the sightings have been confirmed by a PhD specialist in large carnivores from San Diego Zoo,  I think that carries more weight than a layman's "somehow".

Why do you need to doubt the evidence of your own eyes?

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I was not doubting the existence of the animal more that image was not doing it justice. And for a layman I have spent hundreds of hours tracking leopards/ big cats with Kalahari bushman who are also layman with no Phd  and they would show you how your eyes can be fooled by a skilful poacher.

Having said all that they are my fav big cat with the ability to vanish just by moving 2 feet into a bush.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, aphperspective said:

I was not doubting the existence of the animal more that image was not doing it justice. And for a layman I have spent hundreds of hours tracking leopards/ big cats with Kalahari bushman who are also layman with no Phd  and they would show you how your eyes can be fooled by a skilful poacher.

Having said all that they are my fav big cat with the ability to vanish just by moving 2 feet into a bush.

 

 

My "layman" comment was not directed at you, but I'm no sure how one was supposed to interpret "I'm not convinced" in any way other than that you did doubt its veracity.

 

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I am celebrating the photographer's success, the interesting newspaper article, and the beauty of the rare black leopard, rather than diminishing it all with petty criticism.

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I don't know if the images are real or not. Let's hope they are. Beautiful black leopard aside, I think this conversation shows how digital technology and the resulting ability to endlessly manipulate photos has rightly made people mistrust both the medium and photographers. Mind you, photo manipulation was around in film days as well, but nothing like it is now. And with CGI now looming on the horizon, it's going to be increasingly more difficult to trust visual imagery IMHO.

Edited by John Mitchell
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I think its pretty legit, he would be the first to dodgy up an image to gain notoriety but he's risking his career if he's caught and these days it doesnt take long to be found out. Googled both he and the scientist and there's plenty of evidence of their credentials. 

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4 hours ago, Stephen Dwyer said:

I think its pretty legit, he would be the first to dodgy up an image to gain notoriety but he's risking his career if he's caught and these days it doesnt take long to be found out. Googled both he and the scientist and there's plenty of evidence of their credentials. 

 

I wasn't really questioning the legitimacy of the images, just noting that in the digital age "photographic proof" isn't what it used to be.

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The first image shows the cat striding out.  The lower part of the leg is a good deal ahead of the part that joins the body. That makes the leg appear straight, or of the same circumference when in fact, it’s not.  I see this in my own photography of people sometimes, when one part of the body is on a closer plane to the camera than the rest.  The other leg on the cat shows proper proportions.

Just my humble opinion, for what it’s worth.

Just search some of the images on Alamy with a person holding a hand far forward toward the camera.  It looks like the hand is bigger than their head.

Betty

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Really interesting article - and you must have been so scared seeing a drone that close lol

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