Patience For The Perfect Lion Photo

When taking photos of lions it’s normally a case of needing lots and lots of patience. Lions may be the kings of the African bush, but these animals sleep for about 18 hours a day – and you can only snap so many sleeping lions! Once they are awake and moving it is so often when the daylight has already faded and the temperature has cooled.

I spent about 2 hours watching this pride of lions sleeping. Just as the sun started to drop onto the horizon and we had the last rays in the sky, this female woke from her slumber and looked straight into the light. Fantastic! I kept my finger on the firing button until the buffer filled. The light filling the eyes makes that lion stare just so much more intense and alive.


I used my faithful and favourite 200-400 F4 Nikkor lens. The settings were 1/250 of sec, F 6.3 +1/3 to fill the shadowy areas with light and an ISO of 640. I used the F6.3 setting to get enough depth to make sure the whole image was sharp, but only just enough so that I still blurred the background, making the subject (the lioness), stand out.

Happy snapping,

Rod Wyndham

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