This image was taken at Cheetah Plains Safari Camp in South Africa near Kruger National Park.
It was mid day and our guide got a tip from another guide that a mother leopard and her nine month old male cub returned to a kill which she had placed in a tree.
All natural lighting and nice that is was mid day as most times we were out on game drives it was early morning or late afternoon.
I used a Canon 50D with 300mm f/4 IS lens handheld but supported by a bean bag on the door of the vehicle. I was able to do this by hand as I had pushed the ISO up to 640 and used 1/200 sec, which is a little slow. Most photographers will use a shutter speed that is at least equal to the focal length of the telephoto lens being used. In my case that would have been 1/300 of a second. But with the support and IS capability of the lens I was able to shoot at a slightly slower speed and not have to increase ISO higher, which can result in digital noise.
We watched this mother leopard and cub for over 20 minutes and I must have taken 50-100 shots. This was a keeper because of the focus on her eyes. I was after that stare and a look directly into the lens for this shot and finally got it. I have several other images of them climbing the tree. I also took some video with my 5D-MkII and it is on my YouTube Channel Titled: Cheetah Plains Safari Camp South Africa-Part 1 here is a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LAvX9US5bI
I use Lightroom for processing all of my RAW files. I start with Lens correction then crop the image as desired and straighten if needed. After that I am working in the Basics section adjusting White Balance if needed then adjusting Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks. Then I go to the Tone Curve and colors for any fine adjustments there. My final step is if there is any sky in a photo where look for spots from the camera sensor. Finally I do noise reduction as needed and sharpen the image for its purpose, either print or web.
In my camera bag
On this trip carried one bag due to weight and space limit. In it I had both a wide angle telephoto and prime telephoto lens and had the wide angle mounted on my 5D-MkII and the prime telephoto on my 50D. Also had a tripod and various filters such as CP, Grad ND and ND along with extra batteries, chargers and about a dozen CF Cards.
We were lucky in retrospect as we were able to get very close to the subject, about 20-30 feet away. At times I switched from the 50D with 300mm lens to the 5D with 24-105 lens just to keep from over filling the frame. This was my first trip to Africa and I think what I took worked well in most situations. Be patient, take lots of shots and listen to your guide above all else.