“A lion’s work hours are only when he’s hungry; once he’s satisfied, the predator and prey live peacefully together. “
This is one of my all-time favourite big cat photos. I’d like to be able to say that I shot this from the back off of an old, beaten up Land Rover 110 on the planes of an African savannah. However, I can’t say that because it’s not true. This is Iblis, the male Asiatic Lion that resides as Chester Zoo.
Zoos are great for photographers
I completely understand why some people have an objection to zoos and animals kept in captivity. However, I don’t have an issue with a zoo such as Chester. Chester zoo is part of so many breeding programs for various species, including those that are endangered. They have programs in natural habitats around the globe and conservation is at the core of what they do.
There was a time when, as a family, we were members of Chester Zoo and that meant we could go whenever we wanted to and simply walk in. Other benefits were special evening opening hours for member only and those proved fantastic for capturing shots of animals like Iblis.
Zoos are controlled environments when it comes to photography. This isn’t a bad thing and don’t let any so-called purists tell you otherwise. It’s great for honing your skills and photographing some of the worlds more beautiful creatures. It helps you yo understand them a little better and, should you be lucky enough to get out into the wild, it prepares you for the real thing.
The technical details
The day this was taken it was hot and bright. I got away with hand holding the camera and shooting at 1/200 with the lens fully extended at 300mm. The bright day meant I could go nice and low with ISO100 to minimise any noise and shooting at F/8 meant I got the whole face in focus but still with that beautiful depth of field and the bokeh of the grass behind.
- Camera: Canon EOS 50D
- Lens: Canon 75-300mm
- Focal length: 300mm
- Exposure settings: 1/200 sec – f/8 – ISO100
Shortly after this shot was taken of Iblish looking calm and peaceful, he let out a fantastic roar that I was also able to capture.
Thank for checking out this post.
While you’re here, did you know that Christmas is cancelled?