Behind the Frame – Mara Lion

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Andrew Leave a Comment


Canon EOS 1D MK IV, 600 mm, 1/1250, f/4,0 ISO 400

The ultimate goal of any wildlife photographer is to capture visually stimulating images that tell a story. A tight image of a leopard draped across a branch of a large tree is great, but a wider view of the scene which captures a broad view of the environment tells more of a story.

A tight image of a lion sleeping at the base of a thicket for example doesn’t tell much of a story, but a wider view of a lion sleeping beneath a Camelthorn tree in a dry river bed in the Kgalagadi with beautiful red sand dunes in the background certainly tells a far greater story!

Yes, sometimes less is more and there is certainly a fine line between taking an image which is too simple and having to much going on at the same time. Story telling images don’t necessarily need to be shot with a wide field of view either.

For example, this image was taken during an early morning drive in the Masai Mara with a Canon 600mm f4,0. We watched this young male Lion stroll across the rolling plains and literally walk through the middle of a large herd of Wildebeest. His presence resulted in a lot of snorting and excitement amongst the herd but he was clearly unperturbed but their antics.

Rather than capture him strolling across an empty plain (I had already captured that in a previous sequence of images), I waited for the herd to move in front of him, telling a story of what was going on on the day.

Gerry and I are heading up to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier park with some guests over the next week and capturing animals in their environment with the aim of telling a story will be on of my main objectives for this trip.

As a parting note, interactions between different species often provide some of the best opportunities to capture visually stimulating images which tell a story – keep this in mind when you are next out in the field!

Andrew Beck

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