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Morden O'Hare Photography Blog.  Blog posts discussing travel, photography, wildlife photography, landscape photography, camera gear reviews.

Kenya Trip Report Part Two (Lions)

The Masai Mara is well known for its lions and when I was there we saw plenty. It would be exaggerating to say they were in plague proportions but after about four days we were feeling quite satisfied with the number of lion pixels on our memory cards and were hankering to see some of the other large Mara cats instead.  (As it turned out we were lucky enough to experience some incredible cheetah sightings in the last three days.) There were some chances to shoot lions in really nice early morning light which is really the best time to see them.  Sightings at other times of the day were less satisfying photographically due to the harsher lighting conditions but nonetheless still fantastic to experience.

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.0, 1/250, ISO800

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.0, 1/250, ISO800

The image above and two below are of a trio of young lions we caught 'hanging out' one morning.  They had obviously killed that night (there were some slight blood stains on one of them) and they were very relaxed.  Being in Africa and hearing lions roaring only a few metres from you is one of those experiences that can not be fully appreciated till you experience it.

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f5.0, 1/1000, ISO400

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f5.0, 1/1000, ISO400

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.0, 1/2000, ISO800

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.0, 1/2000, ISO800

Life can be pretty tough for a lion mother.  This girl is quite well known and recognizable due to the appalling open wound on her face.  Apparently she had, had this injury for quite some time - possibly a year or so, and it wasn't healing very well.  I suspect it was inflicted by a warthog tusk. The wound was open and being bothered by flies but she showed very little sign of the discomfort and pain it must have been causing her.  Despite being such a bad looking wound it did not look infected and it does not seem to have slowed her down as she otherwise seemed in good health and was raising two boisterous cubs.  We spent an evening with her while she rested and suckled the cubs then she headed off on a stroll in the rapidly fading light.  

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.5, 1/640, ISO2500

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.5, 1/640, ISO2500

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f5.6, 1/6400, ISO3200

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f5.6, 1/6400, ISO3200

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.5, 1/800, ISO2500

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm, f4.5, 1/800, ISO2500

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm+1.4x, f5.6, 1/640, ISO1600

Canon 5D mkiii, 500mm+1.4x, f5.6, 1/640, ISO1600

Overall my experience with lions on this trip was photographically and personally rewarding. I was a little disappointed that we weren't lucky enough to see lions on a kill or making a kill but that's just the dice you roll when you go out there.  With wildlife you never know what you are going to see or what will happen you just take what comes and be happy you were there to see it.



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