Mara land is… Lion Land (last part + safari update)

“Fangs”

In this last post on the Mara lions, I thought I’d put a ‘focus on fangs’… Also, I’ll have an update on the planned trip to the Mara later this year.

In the afternoon on day 6 of our safari we were observing a lion pride, comprised of a couple a females with cubs, and two males. As usual, the cubs were playing around and walking in all directions, and every now and then the females would check on them. One of the male lions started walking in the direction of the cubs, and at that moment a female was looking back to see where her cubs were. When she saw the male lion heading towards her cubs, she wasn’t too pleased…

‘Warning’
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL + TC-14E II @ 850mm on Nikon D850, f/5.6, 1/500 s., ISO 3600, -1.0EV exp. comp.

Again we were lucky our driver had positioned us at the right spot, at the right time. And fortunately I was also able to get quite ‘close’ to the scene as I still had a 1.4 extender attached to my 600mm prime lens. The Nikon 600mm f/4E FL super telephoto lens takes the 1.4 extender very well. It’s almost as if the small reduction in image sharpness from the extender is compensated by the increase in DoF, and the net result is (still) a tack sharp image.

‘Awake’
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL + TC-14E II @ 850mm on Nikon D850, f/5.6, 1/400 s., ISO 5000, -1.3EV exp. comp.

The best time for shooting is obviously at sunrise and sunset when the light is soft and warm, and on the morning of day 6 we had such perfect conditions. I usually shoot in short bursts to increase my chances; however with the shot below it was simply one press of the button, at the very moment the female had her mouth wide open for a nice early morning yawn. The focus system on my D850 just went straight for the object that was lit up the most; i.e. her teeth and all it took was one shot. My first reaction was ‘very unlikely that one shot was in focus’ but as I zoomed into the image on my camera, it couldn’t have been any sharper.

‘Yawn’
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL + TC-14E II @ 850mm on Nikon D850, f/5.6, 1/600 s., ISO 1000, -0.7EV exp. comp.

If Nikon will manage (and I’m sure they will) to create a true mirrorless version of the D850 (like a Z8 or Z9), with all its features and at the right price point, and don’t do anything silly like giving up high dynamic range at low ISO to be able to shoot at ISO 1 million… they’ll take a huge chunk of the market. Please Nikon… I’ll help if that helps! ;∼)

And now for the update on the planned trip to the Mara later this year…

  • When: Sunday, September 29 to Friday, October 4 2019
  • Duration: 6 day safari adventure
  • Accommodation: 5 nights stay in one of the Mara’s most central luxury tented camps, fully tailored to safari enthusiasts (2 persons sharing one bungalow tent).
  • Scenery: in the middle of the Mara; i.e. you will be surrounded by lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, but also zebras, antelopes, elephants, giraffes, and pretty much every wildlife in the Mara! Don’t worry, Masai guards from the camp will keep us safe.
  • Departing/returning: from & to Nairobi, Kenya
  • Transport: Safari Jeep/Land Cruiser with pop up roof and open sides for photography. Bean bags included.
  • Optional extra’s: return flight from Nairobi to the Mara, and single occupancy accommodation.
  • Available spots: 3, with one spot under reservation.
  • Cost: please contact me for a quote; to give an indication: as I don’t have to make a living from my nature photography, you’re actually looking at less than half of what other professional photographers charge.

If you’re interested in the opportunity to experience a safari adventure like the one I shared in my recent articles and images, just drop me a note at: enquiry@fliek.com and I will let you know about availability. Or for any (general) comments, send a mail to feedback@fliek.com.

The predatory part of my series on the Masai Mara have almost come to an end: in my next article I’ll focus on hyenas, after which I’ll switch to the somewhat more gentle creatures… stay tuned!

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