Nothing defines Yucatan like the apex predator: Jaguar (Panthera onca). They are incredibly beautiful creatures, and reign supreme down here—they are at the top of the food chain. I photographed this gorgeous specimen this morning in Parque Zoologico del Centenario (Merida, Yucatan, MX). Only 2-meters separated camera lens from whiskers, and he could have cared less. Draped over a log, legs and paws dangling, he stared right into the lens as I clicked away. Soft natural light bathed his features, and provided nice catch lights in his eyes. He was just perfect, and allowed me a few more quick shots before getting annoyed and slinking off. Some months back we sited and installed over thirty remote cameras in the jungles of Puuc Jaguar Conservation to track and photograph these glorious beasts in the wild. To me Yucatan is the Jaguar.
Jaguar (Panthera onca)
(Click on image to enlarge)
Canon EOS 5D Mk2 camera with Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens plus Tamron SP AF 1.4X TC
(1/250s @ f/5.6, ISO 1600, FL=280mm, AV-Priority, Natural Light, Handheld)
Photographer’s note: I love this shot. Everything worked for me. Captured in CameraRAW and converted and edited in PSE11. This is a very ‘High Resolution’ image and will print to a maximum size of: 38 x 48 inches (basically 3 x 4 feet). I was using my 70-200mm zoom telephoto lens, with a Tamron Pro SP AF 1.4X TC (teleconverter), which gave me an effective focal length of 280mm. I was very close (about 2-meters from lens to whiskers) and came away with an extreme closeup with incredible resolution. Just take a moment and look deeply into his eyes—wow! The only thing that would have made this shot better is if I had captured it in the wild. But I still love it.