By Anthony Bond
Scary: This incredible picture of a leopard was taken in Namibia by famed wildlife photographer Steve Bloom. He spent a decade travelling the globe and seeking out some of the world's most lethal creatures
In the first few years of their lives they are cute little creatures which even the hardest of hearts can't help but adore.
But, as this picture clearly illustrates, it's worth remembering what happens when they grow up.
This incredible picture of a leopard was taken in Namibia by famed wildlife photographer, Steve Bloom who spent a decade travelling the globe and seeking out some of the world's most lethal creatures.
Intense: This picture shows an elephant drinking across a waterhole from a family of lions in Savuti, Botswana
From brutal battles to tender moments between a lioness and her cubs, these stunning pictures capture the true beauty of big cats on camera.
The 59-year-old, who is originally from South Africa and now lives in Kent, admitted he had a few scary moments during his travels including a face-to-face meeting with a leopard.
He said: 'Every situation is dangerous in one way or another but the key is to stay in your vehicle.
'If you do that it's almost like you're in a cage because they don't see you as a threat.
Adorable: They may turn out to be fierce predators but they start out as cute little cubs, as this picture taken in Queen Elizabeth Park, Uganda, shows
Touching: A lioness washes her cubs in the Masai Mara, Kenya. The photographer, Steve Bloom, didn't try his hand at wildlife photography until he was 40
'Once you step out of the car you break the silhouette and that's when they see you as something different and you're in danger.
'I once had a leopard climb onto the bonnet of the open top car I was in. It's paw reached over and actually touched my camera bag but I just froze.
'I stayed completely still and it eventually went away. That was a pretty scary moment but you just can't predict something like that.
'You have to show them respect because you're in their territory not the other way around.'
Surprisingly Mr Bloom didn't try his hand at wildlife photography until he was 40-years-old but just three years later he made it his full-time career.
How they change: This image on the left shows a cute cheetah cub in Namibia while, on the right, is a snarling adult leopard, also in Namibia
Together: A lion family looks for shelter from a storm in the Masai Mara, Kenya
Cute: A cub can be seen snuggling up to a lion in the Masai Mara in Kenya
The dramatic images taken over a period of ten years have now been compiled to form a new children's book entitled My Big Cats Journal (Thames & Hudson).
The book is the latest in a long line of successes for Mr Bloom who has also published numerous other works exhibiting his photography including Untamed, Elephant! and Spirit of the Wild.
He said: 'The thing about wildlife photography is it's a balance of luck and opportunity, it's so hard to predict what result you're going to get.
'You need to make sure you're in the right place at the right time.
'I love the glamorous, attractive and dynamic nature of big cats.
'They're visually very dramatic but there's definitely also a primeval fascination with them because we relate them to the fluffy kittens we have at home.
'I didn't actually get into wildlife photography until the 1990s and I turned 40.
'I took a camera with me when I went on safari and I just became completely immersed and obsessed with taking photos.
'From there I made the decision to turn my back on the hustle and bustle of London and go travelling. I haven't looked back since.'
Monday, June 11, 2012
By Anthony Bond