USD $650 – USD $4,600
Strong young male lion looking over the grassland. Although young he brings across pride and
a strong will to reign the territory in future.
Lying in the back of a seat less Land Rover and watching the fireflies dart about against the blue of the Masai Mara sky speckled with stars, I am filled with a sense of contentment from the passing day’s events. This feeling of peace is a moment that will be immortalised in my memory forever, making me even forget about the challenges I was facing…
The day began with a simple scene, with my driver and guide, John, spotting a lion lounging in a solitary tree, which stood proud over a field of tall grasslands. Yes, this year the grass in the Mara was so unusually tall that even lions climbed trees!
After hours of patiently waiting in the burning sun and dry air, running out of water and food, the male lion finally wakens from a deep slumber and jumps down heavily from the lone tree.
We recognize this lion as Semi, aka “Earless”, the adopted son of one of the famous “Notch boys”, a feared and respected cat gang of the Mara.
Although fairly young “Earless” is an extremely strong and fearless lion; and as a result of some bravely fought battles he is missing his left ear.
Marching through the thick grass “Earless” begins his call. While he stops in the shade of the tree to wait for the answer of his calls, sunlight surrounds him and I see my opportunity to capture this moment; this stature of the animal that says everything about him: fearless and majestic, as he stands proud and dominant in a world where he is king.
With the light fading faster by the minute his roar continues to rumble even louder across the Mara plains.
Eventually his stepfather who has answered his calls appears in the distance. The two lions greet each other extensively as if they haven’t seen each other for a long time. Then, they walk off side by side, clearly having a plan in mind.
John and I are bursting with excitement, hoping our day of patience finally being rewarded. Slowly we follow them further into the open grassland until we reach a riverbed full of buffalos that came for their evening refreshment.
Frustratingly we notice that we have lost the two lions; the open grassland is so high that our vision is now impaired and the light has grown so dark that we hardly can make out the track in front of us. But the atmosphere is dramatic- the clouds hanging deep and the sky darkening.
Suddenly I see “Earless” and his stepfather peeking out of the grass on the other side of the river. I set my ISO higher and higher still hoping for “that” particular shot to happen while the lions circle closer and closer around the buffalo herd.
Funny, even though I know that any pictures I shoot now will be too grainy, I cannot put my camera down for one minute regardless.
We could feel that the two lions where still close and a kill was about to happen.
But sadly the developments of this evening just got worse not only for photography but also dangerous for us to find our way back to camp in the pitch dark – so we left the scene.