Although I've been granted special access to Khao Kheow Open Zoo's Clouded Leopards, of which there are currently 34, capturing the sort of images I've dreamed about for so long is proving to be more of a challenge than I thought it might be. Main reasons for this are the enclosures they're in: each cat has it's own enclosure, some of those who have been paired before have joining tunnels through which they can visit each other under supervision; being that these cats have already successfully mated, thereby strengthening the gene pool for conservation, the idea is to only allow breeding to take place between different family groups, otherwise the captive population will grow too large for the zoo to take care of. In other words, supervision is necessary to make sure that these particular cats don't take frisky to the next level, if you know what I mean!
Anyhow, while the enclosures are of a relatively decent size for a zoo, typical of most zoos there's still too many distracting manmade elements to make for the most appealing photography from a wildlife photographer's point of view, being that it's always much nicer to see a picture of an animal that appears to be in something close to if not actually its natural habitat.
Adding greatly the challenge is the fact that, for the time being, I'm shooting through small gaps in the wire fence, which is far better than trying to shoot through glass, but unless you're shooting straight ahead with the end of your lens pressed tight up against the fence, any slight degree a part of the lens is pulled away brings fractions of fence's wire into focus, and even a little of this deteriorates the sharpness one's trying to acquire on any particular part of one's subject.
So far I've spent between 4-5 hours with three new (to me) Clouded Leopards and I've taken hundreds of shots, though having invested many more hours in post-processing I can see this is very much a work in progress and it's going to take a great deal of time and patience to put together the collection of Clouded Leopard images I'm aiming for. I will eventually be sharing some colour images that show the true beauty of this most gorgeous of cats, but for the first couple I've worked on, developing them like this appears to be working the best, so I hope you're OK with this style for now.
Bit of a long read, then again, I'm writing for the few I know also appreciate a little commentary accompanying images. See I try to provide a little something for everyone – LOL ;^p
Thanks for your time and hope you're enjoying a great weekend :^)