Don’t you have enough lion images?
This is a question I have been asked on numerous occasions, but the answer is not quite as clear-cut as you think it might be.
Enough lion portraits? Maybe, but still… no.
You see, it’s easy to use a telephoto lens and fill a frame with a lion’s face. The subject is generally strong enough to carry the image, but the exclusion of the environment generally means that the lion shot is just another lion shot is just another lion shot. I know I might be oversimplifying it, and I can most definitely appreciate that there are many very subtle nuances, ranging from quality and direction of light to posture and composition that can make a portrait stand out, but as a general rule you are going to have to really have a unique sighting and light for a normal portrait to stand out.
Where it becomes interesting is when you start pulling back from the large telephoto lenses and include some of the environment in your wildlife images. Creating unique images then becomes much easier, as the inclusion of the environment immediately places the animal in a specific place.
An image of a lion walking across the open grasslands of the Masai Mara is very different from an image that shows a lion in the bushveld of the Sabi Sands. Same subject, different image.
So, to come back to the original question.
No, I don’t have enough lion images.
There are still too many amazing environments, beautiful backdrops and breath-taking scenes out there in Africa which I would like to photograph with a lion as a part of the scene.
Not the focus of the scene, but as a part of the scene. Big difference.
Nikon D3s, 600mm, 1/1000, f/4, ISO 500
Lake Nakuru, Kenya
Yes, I do have a lot of lion images but up until recently, this collection did not include an image like the one above.
The Fever Tree forests of Lake Nakuru makes for a lion image that I could not have created anywhere else, and that is what keeps me going and looking for more.
Don’t ever stop looking for new images. Don’t settle and think you have enough shots. Keep looking. Keep shooting.
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt
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