“Down Time” was created by Cindy Bowman of Grapevine, Texas. The image features “Gus,” who was about 18 months old at the time, and his mother, “Gracie,” at the Fort Worth Zoo. Cindy had been watching Gus run, climb, and do somersaults with his father, Elmo. “Elmo got Gus’ attention and he climbed on for a piggy-back ride over to Gracie,” explains Cindy. “After the snuggle session, Gracie laid Gus down and, with some motherly coaxing, he relaxed to a gentle nap. I wanted to capture that moment as it reminded me of a typical human family where, after watching his child play and do mischievous things, a dad is ready to hand the child over to his mother and, more likely than not, Elmo was ready for a break!”
The image was shot hand-held around 4pm in available light. The zoo was crowded, so Cindy was unable to use a tripod. “Maneuvering around the crowd and the scene to be able to capture the image was a challenge, especially with a long lens,” adds Cindy. She used a Nikon D750 with a Sigma 150-600mm f5.6-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens at 250mm. Post production was done using Lightroom Classic, Photoshop CC, and Nik Software. “Down Time” received a trophy for Best Wildlife Image at the 2020 TPPA Annual Photographic Competition.