A Plain and Simple Lion Portrait

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment

Lioness by Gerry van der Walt

Canon 1D Mark IV, 800mm, 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 1,250

Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Earlier this year I spent a few days in the Madikwe Game Reserve with the Canon 800mm f/5.6.

The destination was probably not ideal for the focal length as Madikwe is quite thick and overgrown in areas but I was quite psyched to give the 800mm monster a go.  I was not disappointed and the lens blew me away.

I do however think that a lot of wildlife photographers get too stuck on longer focal lengths and by always wanting to ‘have more zoom’ they loose the ability to compose, or rather, to think about their composition.  A long focal length makes it easy cause you simply go in tight, loose all the distractions and click away.  A wider lens will not only force you to think more about your composition but also, when used correctly, to create unique and stunning images of animals in their natural environment.

That being said, there is still something to be said for a good, almost old-fashioned, lion portrait.

In this particular instance the background was horrible and full of sickle bush so a wider shot which includes my subject’s environment just wouldn’t have worked.

I used the Canon 800mm to get in tight and at an aperture of f/5.6 and a relatively short distance to my subject I knew the background would not be an issue and that my subject will be separated from due to the shallow DoF.

A quick monochrome and I’m done – a plain and simple lion portrait.

Sometimes photography is about just doing the basics right.

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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