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A lion and lioness relax at dawn among the grasses of the Olare Orok Conservancy in Southwestern Kenya.


Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x at 280 mm, 1/200 sec at f/4, ISO 400

I am currently working my way through a ridiculous number of images that I took on a recent trip to Africa, but because I am confident that the image of the lion couple shown above will make the final cut, I wanted to share it right away. I have to give a large measure of credit to our expert guide from Kicheche Bush Camp for making this photograph a reality. This particular guide, whose name is Nampaso, understands the needs of the wildlife photographer perhaps better than any guide I have ever worked with in Africa.

We set out one morning a few minutes before dawn and Nampaso immediately began urgently scouting the area near camp for an interesting subject, knowing that I would want to take advantage of the sweet light occurring in the first minutes after sunrise. Within fifteen minutes he had located a pair of lions that we assumed were involved in courtship since they had separated themselves from the rest of their pride. As the sun crept above the horizon, Nampaso positioned the vehicle such that the lions were dramatically backlit. I captured this image of the lions in a quiet moment, but before long they returned to the business of mating, which lions are known to do up to forty times a day!

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