Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Three Great Ways To Capture The True Nature Of A Male Lion

Trevor McCall-Peat All Authors, Trevor 2 Comments

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a male lion?

When I think of a Male Lion – Power, Confidence and hunger for dominance are just few things that spring to mind…

Many documentaries and books show these incredible animals as sleepy, lazy creatures who rely on females to do all the work. To a certain extent it is true, but lions in general sleep for up to 80% of their lives, which can make photographing them very difficult. Timing and understanding animal behavior plays a huge part in capturing what a lion is really all about.

As I mentioned, majority of time spent with lions they are sleeping but what we don’t often realize is that when we curl up under the sheets and settle in for a good night’s sleep, that is when lions are most active. That’s not to say you wont see them moving around and going about their daily business during the day because you often do, but the chances are not as great as viewing and spending time with them at night.

If we look at a male lion – as they go through life, their main goal is to be dominate, to gain a territory for themselves (or coalition) and then try and defend it for as long as possible while having as many females inside their territory and in turn successfully spreading their genes.

This means that for a majority of the time they are awake they are off patrolling territory and scent marking, vocalizing and making sure that no other lion moves in, which results in losing his territory and females. On average, when a male lion is on patrol they can cover up to between 20 – 25km/ 12.5-15.5miles in a single evening. Which, if you think about it is like us running a half marathon almost every single night, its no wonder they spend majority of the day sleeping, resting and conserving energy.

Having said all this, what are the 3 best ways to showcase the true meaning of what it is to be a male lion?

Below I have included 3 images which to me, optimize what a male lion is and stands for.

Number 1 – Eye contact

Although lions spend a large chunk of time sleeping, it gives us the opportunity to capture different images. Anyone who has looked into a male lions eyes will agree with me when I say, locking eyes with such an incredible animal, even if its just for a moment, will leave you speechless and humbled. Capturing any eye contact automatically boosts the image and adds intensity.

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Number 2 – On patrol

Photographing lions while they are moving and on patrol is a great way to show off their body size(while standing and not lying down sleeping) and also portrays their intimidation, especially when walking towards you.

Number 3 – Spotlight photography

I am sure we can all agree that the evening darkness belongs to the lion. It is the period of they day where, the temperature has dropped, the diurnal animals are hiding away and the stillness of the night sets it. There is something mysterious about these animals at night and by photographing lions with the spot light, it often creates that mystical element.

So next time you spend time out in the field with a male lion(s) and he/they are on the move, don’t just snap away and hope for the best, put some thought into the shot and try portray the true nature of a male lion…

Until next time,

Happy Snapping.


About the Author

Trevor McCall-Peat

Having Grown up in White River which then was a small town in the Lowveld, I have had an inner burning desire to pursue my passion and love for wildlife. From a young age I was guided by my family who shares the same passion for the natural world as I do. Frequently visiting wilderness areas from a young age instilled a deep craving to explore and learn more about the bush. Once I left school I began my journey to becoming a guide and following my dream. I have been a field guide for the past 9 years, starting out in the Western Cape and then returning to the lowveld where I spent my last 4 years spend at Londolozi Game Reserve where I gained invaluable experience and had the opportunity to learn about myself as an individual. Through my love for wildlife it has kick started my passion for photography and has allowed me to grow and pursue it as a career. Combining an array of different elements such as safaris, photography, being one with nature and sharing experiences with others is something I have really enjoyed doing and looking forward to continuing it on this new and exciting chapter.


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Comments 2

  1. Andrew Preece

    Awesome! I’ve had the privilege to see lions every time my family and I go to the Kruger Park.. Never really taken the best photos due to them always being on the run ( ironic enough )! My goal is to take a spotlight photo of them, its incredible! Your blogs and posts are awesome and really inspiring me to become a ranger and one day a photography guide.

    1. Post
      Trevor McCall-Peat

      Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it. Not being able to get photos of lions cause they are always moving is not the worst problem to have, as I said in my blog they sleep for a large chunk of the day.

      Please let me know if I can help you at all – Camera setting etc and If you do get the chance to photograph them with the spot light, I would love to see the results…

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