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Cats, are definitely not my favorite animal. I thought I’d just put that out there from the start, so the challenge was in photographing a subject I dislike and have no access to, well unless I trapped my neighbors cat that poops in my back yard. (however we haven’t had any mice in over 10 years so it’s somewhat forgivable)

Maybe I should clarify my statement I don’t like “Domesticated Cats”, large and wild cats on the other hand are off the hook cool!

And unlike the annoying little backyard poop machine access to these large predators is actually real easy, (in the off season) it only costs $9! I ran up to our awesome Hogle Zoo and headed straight for the Tiger (we used to have four now we have one, I can only presume the others have been sent to other zoos for breeding)

When I got there the big guy was resting, and I had him all to myself, so I slapped on the 70-300mm and started snapping away and apparently the sound of my shutter really pissed him off, because he walked straight towards me and stared my down for a second before he started bellowing! If you’ve never heard an Amur (Siberian) Tiger bellow/grunt it’s loud and very intimidating, and echoes through the entire zoo. Tigers do not “meow” And I love that about them.

Meet the gorgeous Kiril.

Meet the gorgeous Kiril, this is as close to a “Meow” as you’ll get from him.

Here are a few more shots of the big guy.

Sleepy_Tiger Tiger_Contemplative_Wide-BW Tiger_Portrait_look away-Vert Tiger_Portrait_lookalmost straight-Vert Tiger_Portrait_Walking_Open_Mouth-Vert-BW Tiger_Profile-wide Tiger_resting-closeup-BW Tiger_Roar_Teeth_eyes-closed-Vert-BW Tiger_Roar_Teeth_look away2 Tiger_Roar_Teeth_look away-VertHogle Zoo also has a beautiful  Snow Leopard (who hid from me so I didn’t get any shots of it) and two Siberian Lynx.

Siberian_Lynx_1 Siberian_Lynx_2Here is Dmitri the Amur Leopard rumor has it he’ll be getting a girlfriend soon.

Leopard_Closeup Leopard_Walking_vert Leopard_Walking_Vert_look away Leopard_Walking_vert-BW Leopard-Vert_look away Leopard-Vert_Walking_look awayHe was really tough to shoot since the fencing is farther away and doesn’t blur away as well as the tiger’s enclosure, not to mention he was pacing like crazy and the enclosure was mostly in shadow with just one small section in direct sunlight. When you can’t beat the fence embrace it! (Or use really fast glass which sadly I do not have)

Tiger_Profile-wide-BWThanks for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed these really cool cats.

Happy Shooting!