I’ve spent time with lions. Yes, I’ve been up close, only feet away from these majestic felines, looking at them directly in the eye, and yes, I’ve felt fear. Even though lions usually do not attack humans if they are inside a vehicle, the sole fact that they can, strikes fear in the bravest. In a fraction of a second a lion could potentially kill me while I look at their powerful eyes trough the viewfinder.
I have a fascination with wild big cats, but then again.. don’t we all? Lions are brutal killers and tender parents. They are lazy and yet fierce. They protect each other and yet kill each other. Lions live by a different set of rules and brutal force is their constitution.
I’ve spent time with lions in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana. As a wildlife photographer the most desired action to capture in a photo is a kill, of course, but I must say that when I set out to photograph these powerful predators, I wanted to capture their essence.. whatever that means! I wanted images that could convey their presence. When you are in the presence of the top predator of Africa, you know it. You feel it. Your mind and your body are completely aware of it. And I wanted that! I did not have a clue how to achieve it and such was my luck that I didn’t witness I kill (I did witness several failed tries.. but never a successful kill), so I had to work hard to capture their soul some other way.
I’ve spent time with lions and their essence walks with them everywhere they go; when they call each other, when they play, when the feed their cubs, when they mate, when they fight.. even when they lay around motionless for 18 hours a day and you just sit in your vehicle for all those hours waiting for something interesting to happen. The essence of a lion can only be experienced in their presence so my goal to capture on camera was meant to fail from the start, but that did not deterred me. Failure is just another word for “I’m getting closer.. I will get there eventually”.
These images are the closest I’ve been to capturing the spirit of Africa: the big, royal carnivore we call lion.
For more images of my journey with lions click here.