So, wind back to my birthday in October last year and Becky decided that it would be a good idea to round up members of the family who were willing and, as a group, get me a voucher to attend a one day photography workshop at the WHF Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden. I checked for availability throughout the year, and the weather, being what it is was a little unpredictable over the winter so I waited until spring sprung (if it had snowed I would have jumped at the chance, but it didn’t). April came around and I booked my place as late as I could – light rain was forecast but as luck would have it, the weatherman got it wrong again and the sun came out to play.
I arrived at the Big Cat Sanctuary and was greeted by my guide for the day, Alma and introduced to the other four photographers in the day’s group, all wielding larger cameras than my little 6D and equally long lenses, I had my 70-200 and my 150-500, plenty of reach I hoped. After a quick run through some safety rules and the days plan, we trundled outside and were taken around the various enclosures as Alma threw chunks of horse for the assorted cats to run around and eat, thus giving us photographers the chance to shoot the cats in different places and poses.
Alma was great at directing the cats, I am sure that most of them would have allowed her to pet them just like a domestic cat however a few of them were a little feisty and enjoyed leaping at the bars and attempting to eat us photographers. We each had our moment of being potential lunch but one of the chaps seemed to be a favourite, much to his (and his go-pro’s) delight.
I spent most of my time trying to avoid showing ‘cage’ in my pictures but sometimes it was inevitable. We went inside for a quick feed at lunchtime and then the photos continued. All in a great day out, thanks to the weather and Alma, and of course the cats.