lion in a tree at sunrise

Africa Live 2017 – 02 | Lions, Lions and more Lions

Hi everyone. Continuing on from last time I am out for the morning warm up with Charles before the guests arrive at the airstrip just before lunch. All being well they should leave the runway at Wilson around 10:00 for an 11:00 pickup.

As I am sure it almost goes without saying now, we were up and out very early and made our way down towards the area Fig (Leopard extraordinaire) was nursing her cubs and I was starting to see Charles’ & Darren’s observations yesterday were spot on, there were Lions everywhere!

It wasn’t long before we caught up with the pride on the move as the temperature was nice and cool…

The 2017 Giraffe hide and seek champion at work.

The light soon started to really warm up with that red glow I love so much. We just had to stop our Leopard search and snap a few Lions whilst the going was good. The area we were in was very dense and getting decent angles proved very tricky.

Lion in red morning light by wildlife photographer Richard Costin. Wildlife Photography workshops.
Lion in red morning light by wildlife photographer Richard Costin. Wildlife Photography workshops.
Lion in red morning light by wildlife photographer Richard Costin. Wildlife Photography workshops.

They were moving fast and it was a devil to keep up with them photographically in the dense shrub. Charles suggested they may be heading to a small clearing near the river and we took an informed punt (as I mostly choose to do) and made our way ahead of them to stand a chance of getting into a decent position before they crossed into the clearing. I knew the area was pretty small so catching up to them and reacting was unlikely to yield anything good so it was a no brainer to get going.

We made our way down and sure enough Charles’ instincts were spot on and they moved into the clearing and began to look across the river to see what opportunities lay ahead.

African Lion photograph taken by Wildlife Photographer Richard Costin out in the Masai Mara, Kenya, Africa.

Lions are surprisingly good in trees for their size and often use them for cooling down or as a high up vantage point. This was a difficult spot to get a clear shot, employing the patented Richard, ‘hang out the car’ method.

 

African Lion photograph taken by Wildlife Photographer Richard Costin out in the Masai Mara, Kenya, Africa.

At the base of the tree was a wonderfully shaded area that was only just catching the light at its highest point but shaded behind thanks to the dense shrubs. All these photos really need in processing is a bit on the contrast and blacks sliders if shot in good conditions.

African Lion wildlife photograph.

Viewing the goings on across the river. This time slightly overexposing to blow the sky out and take advantage of the shaded tree trunk. Knowing how your camera will ‘think’ is the key to getting nice results without missing the moment.

They soon left after this short hiatus and made their way down into an impassable area (for the 4×4 anyway) and so we moved on. The crossing point for us was a good distance away and there was no immediate opportunities on the other side for them to make an attempt to take down some prey.

It was less than 15 minutes before we came across some others from the pride that were taking things a little slower that morning, hanging further down river but lacking the energy to cross.

Still soaking up my black and white adventure which I am finding superbly inspiring and exciting (I built my early career on gorgeous colour and the vivd hues that early/late light can bring) I am now always looking for shape and form in places I would have before only seen bland dull colour. Getting to know some wonderful photographers like Kyriakos Kaziras and David Lloyd and of course the ‘old guard’ such as Ansel, W Eugene Smith and many others have ignited my interest in the possibilities of black and white more than I thought I ever would a few years back. Striking colour is still in my true heart but new challenges it what keeps us photographers going year after year.

Just about managing some drama with the light out in the open before it becomes too uniform.


Looking for the light. Fortunately Lions often like resting in shrubbery areas with dappled light.


The always troublesome Buffalo. Certainly not friend to the Lions and I don’t think he took too kindly to us either (surprise surprise).

Again there were even more Lions nearby! They really are all over the place at the moment. Taking advantage of the light one last time (above) before finding a good (Lion free!) spot for breakfast.

I can think of worse places to have your most important meal of the day.

And there we go! We checked in on the radio and the plane was all on time with my guests so we packed up and made our way to the airstrip……

Until next time, thanks for stopping by as always.

Rich.

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Wildlife photography workshop. Africa big cats in the marai mara, Kenya.

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