Now What

A mother patiently teaching her cubs to hunt. This one was particularly feisty. Her patience was remarkable.

A mother patiently teaching her cubs to hunt. This one was particularly feisty. Her patience was remarkable.
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3 Comments | Report
robiecagle October 18, 2019
Wonderful shot, and that cub is so cute!
adiestiano PRO
adiestiano December 28, 2020
angelyfleming Aug 03

Behind The Lens

This photo was made in the Serengeti National Park.
We were up early this morning, probably around 5 A.M. We were on the hunt for a Leopard. Around mid-morning we were passing a Kopje, a granite outcropping, when our guide spotted a pair of male lions sunning along the top. We had two vehicles for five photographers, three and two, but there was only room to get through a gap and reach a position to shoot for one. So we waited and the other vehicle finally waved us forward and along side. We must have been there for 15 minutes when the other guide spotted this female and her three cubs behind us about 50 yards away. The three cubs were very active with play fights and stalking each other and their mother. There was one cub that absolutely would not leave its mother alone. It was constantly on the stalk and attack. Mom was so patient. She never reacted to any attack. The mother's adult sister was another story. She tolerated none of the silliness. Mom never reacted to any of her sister's stern warnings and the cubs new when to beat a hasty retreat. When the one cub began to stalk the mother's tail I sensed there might be an opportunity. I was able to capture the one and only time mom ever reacted. It is one of two of my favorite images (out of nearly 6000) I made on the Serengeti.
All lighting was natural with a thin overcast.
I was shooting a Canon 6D MkII paired with a Tamron 150-600mm F/5.6-6.3 Di VC G2. Shot RAW, ISO 800, 1/320 sec., f/9 @ 600mm. I shot in aperture priority.
I knew that if I took enough images and was as patient as the mother, there would come an opportunity to capture a "shot of a lifetime". I love big cats and have studied them for many years. The life of a pride with three cubs centers on the care and nurturing of these beautiful babies. Their "play" prepares them for the brutal life in the wild. The title is meant to be a double entendre. "Now What?" now that I've caught it and "Now What?" from mom after all she's tolerated.
Post processing was done in Lightroom beginning with a crop. I did boost highlights some and reduced shadows some. I also boosted orange saturation a little and then added a little contrast. Because of the slight overcast, the sky was completely uninteresting, so part of the crop was to reduce the sky background.
In my camera bag
When on a trip like this I carry an APSC Canon 90D and the full frame Canon 6D Mk II. Lenses were the Tamron 150-600mm, Canon 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 L IS II, Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 Di, 6 spare batteries, two chargers, (1) 64GB SD card for each camera every day, laptop with 2TB external hard drive/storage for back-up, tripod w/ball head and arca plates, dust/rain covers, lens cleaner and multiple micro-fiber towels and a remote shutter release for each camera. The night skies are spectacular on the plains of the Serengeti.
Be patient, take lots of images and know your subject. There is no substitute for being ready, prepared and knowledgeable. I refuse to rely on luck...but it is a part of the equation.

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