andrew harrington – amur leopard

002andrewharrington-amurleopards

 

Amur Leopard by Andrew Harrington

Amur leopards are the world’s rarest cat. Between 25 and 40 remain in the wild. Can you remember how many kids were in your class at school? Imagine that’s the whole human race, it is not a good place to be. The population has been stable for the last 30 years but the cat photographed here is seriously inbred, his father and grandfather are the same animal. They suffer from the usual problems of poaching and habitat destruction. What started as a drunken chat at a felid conference has turned into one of the biggest privileges of my life (Imagine photographing one of the last Dodos)

 

Website: Andrew Harrington

38 Responses to “andrew harrington – amur leopard”


  • I know, stupid gear head talking here, but I’d love to be able to look up the EXIF data of this beauty!

  • how you got that cat to twist inside that perfectly matched comp is what amazes me, everything in that frame is working together to make that cat look on the cusp of a tightly wound spring, that much depth of field seems rare for an image like this. I love that patch of leaves creating a visual echo of the cat and all the verticals working with the tail of the cat to make it more concrete.

    As beautiful as the circumstances are tragic. Hopefully images like this that are as much like art as they are like field work could find its way into some deep-pocket benefactors.

  • !!! :))))

    For those who believe they know what Burn will offer, guess again! ;))….

    What I love about Andrew’s photograph and the entire suite of photographs from the Amur Leopard series is that his technical acumen is sublte, and in the service of this important story, which both celebrates this extraordinary feline and through the technical beauty of his work emphasizes the importance of it’s endangered status: what a tragic circumstance that, but again, we have inflicted upon our bretheren earth-sharers….and I have a particular soft spot for this Siberian ghost….

    As pointed about precisely by both Joe and Stoop, what is so powerful about the pic is the superb technical achievement and all the lovely compositional elements (the fur and the foliage, the wind and the tail scattering, the questioning of his eyes to us) hide beneath a seemingly ‘simple’ picture. Technique in the service, not the hammering of, story. I love the entire series…

    and it calls to mind, one of my favorite photographic essays of 2008. Steve Winter’s extraordinary story on the Snow Leopard

    http://www.stevewinterphoto.com/#a=0&at=0&mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=0&p=0

    THANKS SO MUCH ANDREW! beautiful work

    ENJOY ALL!

    running
    bob

  • I was tempted to say “Nice coat”, but knowing how few get the ‘english’ sense of humour properly maybe I shouldnt.
    Its a nice picture. It has some elements that bother me slightly, but not enough to really worry about.
    That it is a probably doomed species does not give the picture extra value in my book. I cant help wondering who will take the last pictures of us, and of what value they will be to anything. If on the other hand i am just a cynical old fart and pictures really can make people dig into their pockets/souls and ‘really’ turn the clock back on extinction then YAAAAY, absolutely, count me in. just making record shots of all the species we have fucked over however, just makes me a bit sad.

    John

  • “. Can you remember how many kids were in your class at school? Imagine that’s the whole human race, it is not a good place to be.” excellent remark, nomatter how commonplace it might sound

  • People who have pursued wildlife photography seriously understand the months of research and planning, the weeks of logistical hassles, and the days and weeks of waiting in difficult terrain and often hostile weather conditions that are necessary… but hardly sufficient!!… to get shots like these of rare predators. You also have to be very lucky AND have your photo chops down. Andrew Harrington, you have my respect and best wishes.

    “That it is a probably doomed species does not give the picture extra value in my book.”

    No? It certainly does in mine.

    “…If on the other hand… pictures really can make people dig into their pockets/souls and ‘really’ turn the clock back on extinction…”

    You never know until you try. Admittedly, with its numbers already so low, a limited gene pool, and the problems of poaching and habitat loss, the Amur leopard is a particularly difficult case for species preservation. But there are some extremely knowledgable, hardworking, dedicated people who are on the case, and it is possible to support their efforts in even small ways that will help. See the website of the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA), an international coalition of research and conservation organizations:

    http://www.amur-leopard.org/

    With many years under my belt as an environmental advocate and activist, I know that many of the battles to preserve threatened species and habitats will be lost… that the struggle to save even a few is a long and often discouraging one. You have to pick your battles carefully to have even limited success. But there have been successes, even against great odds. They only happen when people become committed to believing that their own efforts are necessary. Aside from the fact that the Amur leopard is a truly magnificent creature… what they call in the enviro racket “charismatic megafauna”, I have a particular interest in them because of the neighborhood they live in, the Russian-Chinese-North Korean border, and because one of the lead research organizations that has studied both the Amur leopard and the Siberian tiger in that neighborhood is the Hornocker Wildlife Institute, based in my old home town of Moscow, Idaho, and I have met some of the researchers… they are close friends of close friends of mine.

    Despite the slick Canon ad copy we have all read in NatGeo, photography really has played a key, even indispensable, role in research, documentation, awarenes, and education of the public in wildlife conservation issues. Good on ya, Andrew H. for playing your part. Your big cat photos are great.

  • Hello Andrew,
    Great opportunity for you, and also great for others to view such a magnificent, rare creature. Did you use a camera trap, blind or remote triggering device?
    Mike

  • Maybe it’s the Beijing larger talking, but this is playing tricks with my eyes! God knows how you managed to get close enough to get such a beautiful shot – congratulations for that. I’d be interested to know where exactly the shot was taken – was it somewhere in Buryatia? ‘Amur’ appears to be from Monglian ‘amur’, ‘peace’, ‘happiness’, ‘tranquility’ – the name I work under in Inner Mongolia. Had a quick look online to confirm that it was the same ‘amur’ but couldn’t find anything conclusive. In any case, that’s beside the point. Excellent shot – can’t imagine how much time and effort it took to get this – would love to hear about how you pulled it off.

  • Thanks for putting this up David.

    Stoop I can’t seem to copy and paste the data but 125th at F4 250mm on a 200 to 400. 200 ASA

    John: I don’t think this species is doomed. There should be a big transboundry park between Russia and China coming soon and I think China is going to be working hard on conservation in the near future. Global warming might actually help as the Leopards might be able to push their range further north. There are also a lot of fine people working to stop this species becoming extinct.

    For me photography is part of the whole conservation effort and can defiantly help raise money and more importantly change people’s thoughts.

    This photo was taken on my second trip to Russia and wasn’t actually that difficult. You can see the rest of the pictures at
    http://www.harringtonphotography.com/

    Sidney I’m thinking a lot about what’s possible at the moment have a read of this?
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118554126/abstract#ss16
    Really interesting stuff.

    Cheers Bob your words make it sound like I know what I’m doing.

    Mike: this photo was taken from a blind. He sort of knew I was there but did not seem to mind. Other pictures in the set used camera traps.

    Emyr: This picture was taken in Kedrova Pad nature reserve.

    BTW call me Harry, even my mum does nowadays.

  • wowowow this is beautiful, great work. i love the hint of movement you get from the leg and tail – like Joe says, you can almost feel how sharp his reactions are…inbred or not

  • I’m having trouble posting and wondering if by post is too big or somesuch so I’ll try and break it down and see if that works?

    Thanks for putting this up David.

    Stoop I can’t seem to copy and paste the data but 125th at F4 250mm on a 200 to 400. 200 ASA

  • OK that worked.

    John: I don’t think this species is doomed. There should be a big transboundry park between Russia and China coming soon and I think China is going to be working hard on conservation in the near future. Global warming might actually help as the Leopards might be able to push their range further north. There are also a lot of fine people working to stop this species becoming extinct.

    For me photography is part of the whole conservation effort and can defiantly help raise money and more importantly change people’s thoughts.

  • This photo was taken on my second trip to Russia and wasn’t actually that difficult. You can see the rest of the pictures at http://www.harringtonphotography.com/

    Sidney I’m thinking a lot about what’s possible at the moment have a read of this?
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118554126/abstract#ss16

    Really interesting stuff.

    Cheers Bob your words make it sound like I know what I’m doing.

  • Mike: this photo was taken from a blind. He sort of knew I was there but did not seem to mind. Other pictures in the set used camera traps.

    Emyr: This picture was taken in Kedrova Pad nature reserve.

    BTW call me Harry, even my mum does nowadays.

  • Seeing this on the day that so many are celebrating/commemorating Earth Day seems appropriate. The Amur Leopard is one of untold millions (trillions?) of species going extinct. I can read about such statistics and it goes over my head, but when I see one individual like you have shown us here and on your website, it socks me in the gut. I am grateful to you and all the others who are documenting the incalcuable losses animal by animal, insect by insect, bird by bird and reptile by reptile…not to mention all the plants and trees. So first of all I see this photo for what it represents in the life of our planet.

    Next I find my jaw hanging open in awe at the technical and artistic mastery shown in the photo itself. And then I begin to realize what it must have taken to GET this particular shot. Oh my god.

    I thank David for going “outside the box” and sharing this photo here on Burn. Just another in a long line of examples of his openness to ALL kinds of photography.

    Patricia

  • ANDREW

    The leopard is a very special animal to me for reasons I won’t go into, and my only criticism of this is that you could give us a lot more information about the reasons for its near extinction, what we can do to raise awareness about its precarious state and whether we could help by lobbying governments to get breeding programs etc sorted.

    This is your chance to do a bit more than take just a good picture- I realise what a priveledge it would have been to take the image but I know diddly squat about this particular leopard, so rather than hearing how lucky you were I would like to know a bit more about where, when, who, why and what you were.

    And as much as I would like to spend the next two hours researching more information about this magnificent creature I don’t have the time, so if you could have put a bit more in your caption it would have been great.

    Otherwise yes you are a lucky devil to have been there, but you can do more with this than just have a pretty picture- thats the power of photojournalism- you can make people think!

  • Lisa (Hi, its Sean here from Sydney too),

    I just wanted to make a general comment about some comments that I see here, and in other photography blogs, rather frequently. It has to do with some “gentle” criticisms that people write to photographers regarding their ongoing involvement with their photography projects.

    Lisa, you wrote (if I may) “my only criticism of this is that you could give us a lot more information about the reasons for its near extinction, what we can do to raise awareness about its precarious state and whether we could help by lobbying governments to get breeding programs etc sorted”.

    I think this single image is rather a beautiful image that Andrew has made. Having had a look at the other images he has on his site, it is fairly easy to tell that this fella is pretty competent at what he is doing. And I feel that he cares deeply for what he is doing, and why.

    In regards to the information supplied with this image, it is rather sad (like so many stories), and I really can’t support the criticism that we need more info as so we can “go and raise awareness” about this issue. I know that I’m personally pretty flat out, not only with my own work, my own life, as well as interacting with forum’s such as this one, trying to make a buck, and talking about work with friends and everything else that needs doing… as are most people. What keeps springing up though, are comments to photographers that suggest that they need to follow up on stories and make massive long term projects out of them (esp. in reference to Mark’s recent piece “City In Mourning”).

    I believe in long term work, but I also believe that we should celebrate,support and recognize the work that photographer’s do on short term projects. I find it hard to imagine that Mark (sorry for the hijacking of Andrew’s piece for the moment) would, or could for that matter, dedicate an extended period of time, and of his life, to this one story. He may do this, but at the same time, he may choose to move on to something else entirely. I don’t think that every project needs to be a life long affair. I get a bit tired or people arguing the value of their work by preceding the title with how many years they have been working on a project. Please refer to the work of Rudy Burckhardt: An Afternoon in Astoria, for what can be achieved in a very short amount of time.

    Back to Andrew’s work, and my initial reason for writing this comment. I think that the info supplied is sufficient to allow people an introduction to this specific area of interest. Anyone who wants to do some more research about this animal may do just that. But Lisa, I find it difficult to believe that if you don’t have “two hours” to do some personal research, then I can’t imagine how you would find the time to “help by lobbying governments to get breeding programs etc sorted”. That seems like a pretty time consuming task to me.

    I think Andrew has done well to go and do the work he has done, get motivated enough to put the work together and realize a forum (burn) to get it published. His information may be brief, but it has informed me about a subject I didn’t know about, and therefore has succeeded to a point. Perhaps if someone of sufficient professional standing in the are of fauna conservation sees this, then they might be inclined to do some more research that may in fact help this poor little leopard tribe last a bit longer.

    I read burn, because I believe it is primarily about photography and the support of photographer’s, not about each individual story that is published.

    Regards.

  • Harry, “125th at F4 250mm on a 200 to 400. 200 ASA”

    Thanks. I have no stupid idea how you got to that info but it’s very helpful!

  • hello harry,
    i like this image alot, the cat is so awesome. i love cats. it must be really exciting creeping around beautiful forests photographing such amazing creatures. wonderful karma

    best

  • I’m so stupid. Sorry, Harry. I had no idea you were the Andrew Harrington who make this image. Now I know how you got the EFIX info. Thanks again anyway. Love it!

  • ….thts a WICKED frame … mr HArrington .. thnk u fr sharing it

    vivek

  • Sean perhaps we should take this off line…

    Because your unthinking comment is exactly why I don’t partake of this kind of forum anymore.

    If you want the honest truth in my opinion this image is beautiful wallpaper and while it is of a magnificent creature, without further information it is just another photo on the web.

    Big woop… So if I am am meant to care about anything to do with this photo or animal then yes a bit more information is required for me and also probably for a NON-photographic or wildlife loving audience. I too had a quick look at ‘Harry’s’ site and sure I can see he is dedicated to photographing wildlife but I still couldn’t see anymore information about this particular cat.

    Its a simple suggestion to enhance a story with more accurate info that may bring someone who had no idea about this issue into some sort of enlightenment. And I am sure Harry’s reasons for persuing this kind of work is because he loves his subject. And I am sure he would want to see this animal preserved.

    Your post has a lot more to do with disagreeing with a valid point of view that I made, rather than bringing anything new to the discussion. And personally I don’t give a rats arse whether your life is full to overflowing with all sorts of things, how much longer do you think it would have taken Harry to give us a few more facts about the animal? As long as it took to get the photo?

    I don’t read Burn as a networking exercise, obviously unlike yourself, I read it because I am interested in life and the things that go on in it. And no I don’t have time to research everything I see.

    But if I am touched deeply by something then I will respond by bringing all my limited resources into play.

    So I am sorry if my reason’s and criticisms for taking pictures differ from yours Sean, but I do know the bombardment of meaningless imagery on the net does nothing for people who don’t have a lot of time to peruse stuff that might change their lifes.

    Enuff said by me, I won’t make the mistake of commenting again.

  • Geez Lisa, I’m a bit gobsmacked as you seem to have taken a great deal of offence to my comments. Believe me, this wasn’t intended. I am a bit offended myself at your remarks, but I’ll leave it here and I’ll give you a call.

    Regards.

  • Hi,
    I appriciate you for the patience you have to capture such a shot. It is one of the rarest cat and finding it in the jungle is not an easy task. may be somebody say about the composition, the timing etc but I give a considerable point for taking pain and give lot of efforts to capture the animal.
    Great shot.
    Partha Pal
    from Birbhum

  • It’s a great photo, and more so obviously because just the cat’s face is in focus. I can only imagine the patience and dedication necessary to get such a shot. Hat’s off to you Harry.

    Please though fix the cutline, it’s driving me nuts (“field” conference). And I wouldn’t in this case mind a longer one either just because I’m interested :))

  • Tom,

    Are you sure he didn’t mean ‘felid’ as in ‘feline’?

  • stupid photographer: if you are a firefox user you can download a free script called ‘exif viewer’ which allows you to see the info on most (but not all) pictures online

  • Lisa

    http://www.amur-leopard.org/

    http://www.wcs.org/globalconservation/Asia/russia/Amurleopard

    Wrobertangle – This was the exact opposite of exciting, if it was possible to die of boredom I would have but the end justifies the means.

    Young Tom yes Sidney is right I meant a Felid conference.

  • hi harry andrington,

    your picture has been up for many days and just 29 responses??? why??? too perfect, too technically great, too drop dead gorgeous? i hope your subject is not deemed too boring?

    i am not photographer so when joe said this and bobblack said that i went back up to the picture and looked and relooked. and figured that’s what they meant and that’s how i should do it and buried your pixels in my temporal lobe for good. this is a straighforward-very-pleasing-to-me picture. i am disappointed, jim powers has not pounced on this yet (pun intended).

    what makes your picture great to me is what you obviously show, the behind the scenes cut, your patience, fortitude and obvious dedication to the world around you. that cannot be taught.

  • Sidney and Harry … Ha! Call me stupid! My apologies, I learned a new word and it looks just like a typo :))

  • Just a few extra observations.

    Photo records of endangered animals are much more important than for the animals themselves. These species, especially those of the cute mammal ilk, are the canaries in the cole mines, the indicators of much greater issues of habitat destruction and the socioeconomic pressures that lead to habitat destruction, and too, the “lesser” threats of poaching and in this case, the fur coats for the women of Vladivostok. Perhaps these are not lesser threats for the Amur Leopard itself but certainly subordinate in the greater scheme of habitat destruction, the threats to all species of these habitats, the implications of mass extirpation of species and reduced biodiversity worldwide. The leopard is a beautiful poster child, and I can think of no greater poster than this image, but still just the surface.

    If the current trend of extinction continues, the world is beginning to experience its sixth great extinction and this time, it’s all on us. To lose one-third of the world’s plant and animal species in the next century is nearly unthinkable but many scientists believe it quite probable.

    Too often in the past, conservation groups or other such efforts focused on saving an animal, or even a habitat, without addressing the underlying cultural and economic reasons for habitat destruction and the needs of indigenous populations. A failure to address systems in their entirety has led, or is leading, to ultimate failure. This is a systemic failure of thinking in systemic terms. But this is changing.

    Similarly, this is a failure of photography and the media as well I think, at least some aspects of those disciplines. Everyone has their own style, their own niche and often, their own individualistic needs, prejudices, competitive and protectionist attitudes. And now, it would be a failure of thinking to continue isolate both individual photographers and all “content” (a truly outdated term now) generators from each other.

    To me, the ultimate magazine or website or information delivery platform, would pool the resources and talents of many diverse photographers, writers, filmmakers, sound gurus, and whoever has the wherewithal to jump on the bus into a symphony of interpretation, and tackle subjects in a planned, coordinated way with each player doing what they do best but adding to the overall chorus. Truly, it would take a maestro to direct from beginning to end, and to avoid all the colors blending to gray, but I have always believed the results could be astounding. With communication technology as it is now, perhaps this has become a real possibility.

    Maybe this is the next evolution of information we are just beginning to see now in its infancy. The boundaries of media and viewer are dissolving. What’s needed are spheres of coordinated vision and leadership to coordinate the talents of an Andrew Harrington with those of … you and me. I’ve seen a few emerging spheres heading in this direction, whether they are aware of it or not. And maybe this is what I feel is coming, I don’t know, but something amazing is happening, beginning, just outside our felid (sic) of vision. Call me crazy :))

    And yes Chris Bickford, I may in fact be a “socialist.” :))

  • For a long time I have been waiting for an animal picture here on burn. Finally!
    Thank you Harry and David!
    This is undoubtedly a great photo and an important one as well!
    Harry, as a wildlife or nature photographer you belong to a special species and I have very great respect for the efforts and the fine work that is done by nature photographers. I simply don’t have the patience to sit still.

    young tom,
    very interesting thought and I think with your vision you are absolutely right. This will happen in the near future, or perhaps it already happens right now. To interact and connect people and their knowledge, their thoughts and ideas is very easy via the world wide web.
    This will create a new kind of information stew or chaos if you like, that will result in new connections, new ideas, new ways of looking at the world. I feel burn is in a way a place that you have envisioned. Don’t you think so?
    I will keep your post in mind and we will see what the future will bring!
    Best
    Reimar

  • young tom, you’ve given this much thought. Make it happen. Don’t let it end with just a post on a forum. Just my stupid opinion.

  • Young Tom, Big thoughts for a Monday morning. We are only at the beginning of the 6th extinction (Rather than the middle or the end)
    The problems are all us (Homo sapiens) and the message of population reduction and less consumption are difficult to get across.

    I’m all ears on ways to deliver a better message. The web is a wonderful thing but very ephemeral

  • Wonderful shot! And it comes directly from my home woods. Great job, Harry.

  • they are very kool. animals its awesome to learn about them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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