Side Light For A Lioness

Side-light-for-lionessThe most exciting thing about wildlife photography is its unpredictability and the ever-present notion that almost anything is possible.

Wildlife photographers often have to take what they can get but they also have to be prepared for something amazing to happen in the blink of an eye.

Whilst out on a game drive one evening we found a pride of five lions; four females and one young male. The pride was just becoming mobile, when one young female moved off away from the group and unexpectedly jumped up into a huge jackalberry tree.

Because two Land Rovers had tracked together to find these lions, we had another vehicle in the sighting – and this meant that there was more than just our own light source. This allowed me as a photographer to be creative with the soft side light provided.

It is great to use “off camera” lighting like a flash or as in this case a light from another source as this gives the image more depth and makes it visually more interesting.

Because of the very low light conditions, I pushed my ISO all the way up to 5000 to obtain the highest shutter speed possible in order to get a sharp picture. Using my Canon 100-400mm lens and shooting in aperture priority, I underexposed by -2 stops and ended up with a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second at f5.6. I made sure my camera was stable by resting it on the vehicle. This allowed the camera to be well supported, a factor that is key to getting a sharp image at low shutter speeds.

Stay focused

Darred Joubert

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