The image seen here is, as I write this the night of May 28th, the most popular photo on 500px with a maxed out pulse of 99.9. It’s not ‘over-processed,’ not staged, not a composite, and not a beautiful woman staring longingly into the camera.

It is wildlife photography at its best—the quintessential intersection between preparation and opportunity.

The photographs was captured by South Africa-based fine art wildlife photographer and safari guide Greg Du Toit, who was kind enough to share the photo’s story in the image description on 500px:

It was a cold and nippy night in South Africa’s Mala Mala Game Reserve when we received a radio call to say that one of the dominant male leopards was on his night patrol and heading our way. Asking my guide to switch off and to wait in the dip it seemed to take ages for our subject to appear out of the dark night.

When the leopard got to the rise in front of us, he paused and turning his head to the side, his warm exhaling breath turned to steam. He stood there like a vision before us, with his outline made visible by another safari vehicle’s lights. Frantically throwing my camera into manual mode and pressing my shutter, I could only hope that the steam and dust had recorded in my exposure.

To see more from Greg, give him a follow on 500px or visit his website.