Many of you may have seen this picture on some social networking forums. I decided that it may be quite fun to explain a little bit more about this shot. It is after all one of my favourite lion shots from 2012!
This picture was taken on the last day of 2012 and shows one of the lionesses from the Sparta Pride, resting her head on top of her cub. The lions are in the cool sand of the Maxabeni, a prominent dry riverbed that runs through the width of Londolozi. It was taken in the early hours of the morning, moments after the pride had decided to settle down for the day in the shade. They had been hunting throughout the night and had moved a considerable distance from where they were ten hours prior. The rising temperatures, together with the great distance travelled, meant that these animals were tired and in need of a sleep.
Whilst the other six cubs of the pride slept in a bundle downstream, this one cub decided that he wanted to spend some time with his mother. He purposefully walked up to her and brushed her head with his own. For a split second they were nose to nose. She lifted her head and licked him on the face. He used this opportunity to place his head on his mother’s front paws. Content that her family was happy and safe, the mother pulled the cub towards her and nestled her chin on the head of her son. She rested her eyes and sighed. It was at this exact moment that I took the picture.
70 – 200 mm Lens
After taking this picture I put it into Adobe Photoshop and whilst in the RAW option I converted it to Greyscale (black and white). I did this with the intention of preventing the ‘viewer’ from being distracted by colours. It was the facial and body expressions that I wanted to convey. The photograph was sharpened ever so slightly and the contrast increased to bring out some more definition.
What I love about the picture
- The sense of inner peace felt by both animals. Both animals are completely content and at ease with each other.
- The raw and pure sense of love conveyed.
- The simplicity of the picture.
- The fact that her eyes are closed and his are open. This shows how at ease the mother is with us watching her during her intimate family moment.
- The incredible defintion of the muscles in the lionesses front leg and shoulders.
- The beauty of a lioness and her cub.
- It is not necessarily the technical components that make this picture work, but the emotional attachment one feels when you look at it.
Photographed and written by Adam Bannister
If you own an Ipad and are interested in lions, then be sure to check out the latest iBook available from the iTunes iBookstore… “The lions of Londolozi”