Photos of a tiger attacking me

Started Jan 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Photos of a tiger attacking me
Jan 27, 2013

I am in Florida and a friend of mine drove me to a private residence where there were a dozen real live tigers living. I was allowed to go into the cage with a few and photograph them up close and personal. At one point I handed Trina one of my cameras and asked her to photograph me photographing the tiger. She told me to get closer a few times and the last time I guess I was too close. Samson, a 7 month old white tiger, decided to attack me. I was about 10 feet away when he made his move. I was using a telephoto lens, which magnifies the subject and I can't even begin to tell you just what a rush it was to see Sampson suddenly making a move towards me. In the photo you can't really tell how fast he is moving, but he was moving quickly. Notice the movement in his back legs.

Here are the photos I was taking as Sampson was attacking. Notice the look in his eyes. My telephoto has a minimum focusing distance of 5 feet and in the last photo he is out of focus meaning he was about 4 feet away. Well I am here to tell the story so obviously I was not tiger lunch. The trainer was right off camera and he cracked his whip just in time to make Sampson change his path. 
I don't think he was going to seriously attack me, I think he was just wanting to play. An attacking tiger lowers their ears and gets all serious first. He is only 7 months old and just looking to have fun. I am proud that I kept on shooting and didn't soil myself.

My camera was set at 7 frames per second burst mode. So there is less than a second between the first and last frame. As soon as Sampson started for me the trainer cracked his whip and the last shot is a reaction to the whip crack. They don't even crack the whip anywhere near the tiger, it is not to hurt him. The tiger is reacting to the sound, they hate the sound. Mellows the tiger right out. My a55 did a great job of keeping him in focus as he moved towards me. He was moving very fast. Tigers are quick.

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Sony SLT-A55
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