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The eyes of a creature

Forget about BeetleCam and other devices. A British photographer risked his life as he captured these wildlife shots.

Jonathan Griffiths held his camera just inches away from tigers, bears and cougars as he took the pictures. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

The 32-year-old endured minus 40 degree Celsius temperatures at a Canadian wildlife breeding reserve as he gained the trust of each animal over two or three days. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

He enticed them with meat – mainly chicken – to photograph them close-up in his 15-month project. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

..and in another shot a tiger left condensation on his lens with its breath. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

The currency trader flew to Canada, where he stayed in a lodge by a wildlife breeding reserve. He would wake up at 5.30am each day, trekking off mountain trails in search of snow leopards, wolves and black leopards. A guide at the wildlife reserve stood by his side as he came face to face with some of nature’s most dangerous animals to capture them in intimate detail. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

Jonathan said: “At first I was quite nervous being so close to the animals as I did not know what to expect and they are wild… (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

For Jonathan the scariest moment came when he came face-to-face with a black leopard, “which made me fear for my life and I thought it could attack at any moment. It was was just mean and did not like humans full stop”. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

My family think I’m a bit nuts and worry about the consequences if something went wrong. But I just like getting as close as possible to get a different kind of shot.” On the approach….a Bobcat. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

Two Brown bears roar at the camera. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

A Siberian tiger bares its teeth. (Jonathan Griffiths/Solent)

More photos!

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  1. ChrisFebruary 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Fantastic! You can see their thoughts

    • johnMarch 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm


      • KateMarch 16, 2011 at 3:08 am


        • zing!April 8, 2011 at 5:23 am

          ^^^ these two plus 8 :D

          • JazzApril 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm

            Haha I get it! =P ^^

          • mattJune 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm

            hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa…. i wonder if their restraining order includes internet chat

  2. K. BrentFebruary 6, 2011 at 10:08 am


  3. A. FifeFebruary 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    D. Pierce, I believe you meant ‘You are nuts!’ or ‘You’re nuts!’

    Also, wonderful photographs.

    • Sam PMay 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      THAT is what you pick up on amongst these pictures. Go screw yourself!

      • Zoe SJune 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm

        It’s amazing how people pick out things to critic people on when everything else about these photographs are amazing!

        • adam IsaacsAugust 9, 2011 at 6:37 am


        • charlesSeptember 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm


  4. Steve MontyFebruary 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I admire your courage, you may have the chance of a rare thing these days, a short but glorious life!

  5. saraFebruary 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

    these pictures scared me!

  6. levMarch 1, 2011 at 5:19 am


  7. afclesMarch 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    nice work well done

  8. afclesMarch 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    nice work

  9. HippiewolfMarch 2, 2011 at 5:30 am

    These are amazing. Congratulations on doing something amazing that most will not even consider. I envy you.

  10. FakeMarch 3, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Snow doesn’t exist in a tigers natural habitat. These are posed.

    Nice pics though ;)

    • misraluMarch 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      seberian tiger

    • RuthMarch 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      What do you mean they’re posed? Do you think he hires some “model tigers” to “pose” for him for a while, and he hires a make up artist to do the tiger hair and make up. You cannot get animals as magnificent as these to pose for you. Like some others have said, read the captions, and maybe you wont put yourself in a firing line.
      P.S These photos are amazing, the lighting and angle of every single one of them is perfect. You have a very special talent. Don’t let it go to waste!

      • georgeMarch 20, 2011 at 5:55 am

        don’t think he was knocking the obviously stunning photography, or referring at all to the impressive behavior of the animals, just the fact that these are not natgeo pics, and the environment is strangely identical, regardless of the animal photographed. that is all i have to say. some people play in manmade pools, some swim in the ocean. the swimmer’s skill is irrelevant. but the circumstance is what makes it truly real… carry your talent into the land of the truly veral, and you will find a tiger, with his / her teeth bared. you are a photographer, and a good one, but you are not an adventurer… anyhoo, that’s how i read the comment, troll, patron.

    • RMarch 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      It does if the Tiger is a Siberian tiger….which the picture caption states.

      In case you don’t know where Siberia is…its in Russia, Northern Russia.

      • LaurenJune 4, 2011 at 1:35 am

        and since its a siberian tiger, that means it can only exist in siberia. just like siberian huskies are only found in alaska, and japanese magnolia trees only exist in japan.

    • aaronMarch 24, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      you should try reading… also, snow is part of the natural habitat of some species of tigers… maybe you were thinking of the lion in the first picture??? fail.

    • ChiefMay 8, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      Note: wildlife breeding reserve, fool. This man’s got big kahunas and you’re patronizing him.
      Respek Jonathan

    • BrianMay 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      Canada, contrary to popular belief, is the home of a rare breed of snow-loving tigers. Of course, since this tiger lives in Canada, a barren wasteland, nobody goes there to find them.
      Except this brave soul. And then you tell us that he didn’t risk his life braving the Canadian wilderness, rife with snow-tigers and rabid alpacas, and that he just posed these animals?

      In all seriousness, they’re part of a canadian wildlife breeding center. I’m shocked that the tiger is comfortable in the snow, but it seems fine.

    • charlesSeptember 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      yes, siberian tiger, o uninformed

  11. JaniceMarch 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Actually, he mentions that these pictures were all taken on a Wildlife Breeding Preserve in Canada…Cananda has snow. These shots are all very real. So, please actually read the passages he posted under the photos, because there is a reason they are there.

  12. subbu..March 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Jonathan IS in his natural habitat.. Well done, just be careful..

  13. wellMarch 12, 2011 at 8:12 am

    that’s what zoom lenses are for…

    • LaurenJune 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

      yeah, if you’re a wimp..

  14. MarkhorMarch 14, 2011 at 1:17 am

    These are not “Wildlife” photos, they are “captive animal” photos, any real wildlife photographer will tell you that. Funny how he doesn’t specify which Canadian reserve. Also it’s funny how over 15 months he only has a handful of photos and most of them aren’t even of native species. I watch a wildlife photographer on Deviantart and he brings back more photos from every short trip than this guy supposedly did in 15 months. This isn’t the first time I’ve run into this story either and last time I could have sworn the article said he went to Colorado.

    • PyreMarch 17, 2011 at 12:16 am


    • MarkhorsucksMay 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      You are an idiot Markhor. He probably didn’t post every single photo for you to be able to copy and paste it to your desktop. You are an idiot. And you would shit yourself if you were that close to any of those. Shut up, enjoy the pictures, and go fuck yourself.

    • charlesSeptember 28, 2011 at 12:08 am

      what part of wide open mouth and bared teeth are you missing?! interrupt a dog feeding and see what happens. christ, how stupid can one man be?

  15. ElvisMarch 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I think the panther is very cold and therefore pissed-off. It’s a short haired pissed-off solid black cat in the snow.

  16. TonyMarch 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    There are some very ignorant people around willing to demonstrate just that by making idiotic comments about other peoples’ photographs.

  17. crashMarch 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    These are beautiful, primal pictures. Absolutely love it!

  18. jessicaMarch 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    For the guy who said this is what zoom lenses are for (aka telephoto lenses), he didnt use one. If we would have the images would be extremely compressed and lossy.

  19. LiLiMarch 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    every one loves lion and its power.
    These are beautiful, primal pictures. Absolutely love it”"”

  20. fredMarch 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I don’t care if these are posed/captive/stuffed animals.
    I care that this Jonathan Griffiths fellow has his work posted all over the internet but has never seen a dime. Or that you don’t even link to his website.

  21. Weiner VictorMarch 23, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Pics are shot on a reserve in Northwestern Canada…Most of the animals are used to people and these were done with a Zoom Lens probably from 50 or 60 feet away BEHIND a fence. Check the “metadata” in pics before you buy stories.

    • wtwrushApril 14, 2011 at 2:49 am

      No, dude, a telephoto lens compresses the background, it almost looks like he was using a fisheye, definitely a wideangle for the tiger shots…

  22. andreaMarch 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    breath taking

  23. CaseyMarch 28, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Say what you want about Siberian tigers being adapted to this type of climate, but what about that lion in the very first photo? Why is a lion, which is not accustomed to outrageously low temperatures of -40 (seriously?!), being subjected to such an environment? Wildlife preserve, my arse.

    And Jessica…shots with a telephoto are compressed and lossy? What are you talking about? Maybe on that $100 Koolpix you’re shooting on. Some of the shots were clearly taken at a short focal length (wide angle shots), so I believe some of these to be genuine. The others, shot with a longer focal length, I am skeptical of.

    As for the validity of these photos, these animals are practically domesticated. This is a breeding preserve and thus the animals would have much contact with humans (breeding wild animals in captivity is a notoriously difficult endeavor).

    • LaurenJune 4, 2011 at 1:30 am

      well then let’s see you do it if its so easy. you’re obviously so ready to condescend everyone here, including the photographer. how about you go show off your “i’m better at and know more about everything” skills somewhere else. the rest of us are trying to appreciate these beautiful animals.

  24. LisaApril 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I absolutely love these photographs, my only dilema is how he enticed these animals with food to achieve an awesome picture.

    Otherwise, bravo!

  25. KevinApril 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Nice pics, but SHOPPED

  26. IanARTic
    IanARTicMay 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    great job

  27. Tana87June 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    i LOVE these pics. they are so clear and amazing. im a starting photographer using a small samsung digital camera, i was wondering what camera you were using? im sure its a more professional one, and i may have missed it if you already said so. im learning about the more pro cameras lol.

  28. RachelJune 10, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I agree with Casey. If you are using a REAL camera zooming in rather than being right up next to something does not affect quality and that comment makes no sense. I understand people tend to wet themselves around such animals, but this is just a preserve where they will tolerate anyone who is giving them food (which he did) And there are people that hang around REAL wild animals all the time. Also I would just like to say that these seem to be pretty low quality photos. The background is blurry, the images are dull and not crisp, and he catches most of the animals at such an awkward angel or time. btw I’m so sorry you had to wake up early and walk around in the weather everyone else in the area does and play with the animals just like everyone who works there does, must have been tough!

  29. MalloryJune 27, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    jeeze you people are harsh… the pictures are pretty cool regardless of if they’re photoshopped, zoomed, in a preserve, on mars, inside out or whatever. quit being pessimists and try enjoying life without so much criticism.

  30. MArinaJune 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    These are incredible. BUT. why are the Grizzly’s Wolves and Tigers all snarling?

  31. MissApocalypseJune 30, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Wow! These are really cool pictures! Bravo for being brave enough to get these pictures!

  32. BradenwitteJuly 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Amazing good work

  33. GioJuly 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I call bullshit. Not that the pics are fake, but I believe I’ve seen these before with the article mentioning how it was done with a special, non-operated camera that was placed in the wild. Explains how the animals would get so close to it instead of the “I’m so crazy, I walk right up to bears and lions and take pictures of them!” theory this guy is trying to pull.

  34. TereseJuly 28, 2011 at 3:05 am

    this is amazing! i love it i think the lion, black panther and wolves are my favorite!

  35. DanielOctober 16, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    You have some cojones grande my friend. You also have a magnificent eye/shutter for beauty. Keep coming out with photographs like this and the world will know your name.

  36. BetaOctober 22, 2011 at 5:20 am

    do you need a free intern? that would be an amazing experience!!

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Michael Dachstein

Inspiration junkie :)