Solo was the last cat of the day to have her portrait taken. We had already spent the better part of the day traipsing around the Cheetah Conservation Center's farms shooting the other roughly 20-25 cats for the semi-annual photo updates (sponsors can adopt a cat to provide financial support). Solo, however, was one of the older, more experienced cheetahs and was not afraid of us. She was also not afraid of the stick the cheetah keeper used to keep her at a distance.
As we climbed out of the truck to get a better angle she starting walking right at us with this deadly stare. A good wild cheetah runs away at sight of a threat, but not Solo. She confronted us and gave us her best intimidation looks, snarls and hisses. Fortunately, we had some nice late afternoon light behind us broken up by a large tree behind us. I crouched down quickly and snapped away as the other two (my wife Stephanie and Ryan the keeper) tried to simultaneously keep her at a distance while getting her attention at the camera. I snapped of a bunch of shots and only worked for maybe 2-3 monutes before Solo started swatting at the keeper's stick and we quickly called it good and jumped into the truck.
Despite only having a couple minutes some of my favorite shots are of this girl. She brought her game this day even if she only humored our presence.