WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Joint runner-up 2013

Animal Portraits

Hannes Lochner, South Africa

Curiosity and the cat

Hannes has spent nearly five years perfecting his remote wireless technology to photograph intimate portraits of wild African animals, by night especially. In the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Kalahari, South Africa, he set up one camera near a waterhole, hiding it from lions especially, which might play with it or carry it off. On this particular evening, he was settled in his vehicle, just as the sun was setting and the dust in the air creates a special kind of Kalahari light, when a pride of lions arrived. By repeatedly clicking the shutter, he coaxed the ever-curious cubs forward. This bold individual gazed into the camera lens as it stepped forwards to sniff the strange object. 'All the camera settings were on manual,' explains Hannes, 'and I had pre-focused. So I could do no more than hope I had judged the lighting and angle correctly.' He had done so, capturing the intimate portrait and the eye-contact he was after.

Technical specification

Nikon D3 + 16-35mm f4 lens; 1/60 sec at f16; ISO 3200; Nikon R1C1 strobe; Pocket Wizard XX00 wireless remote.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa: latitude -25.4399, longitude 20.903 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa: latitude -25.4399, longitude 20.903

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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Hannes Lochner

Hannes Lochner, South Africa

Hannes’ love of nature began with childhood visits to game reserves from his South African home. He went on to study graphic design, became a river guide and travelled the world. When he returned to South Africa, he pursued his various interests until 2007, when he decided to become a wildlife photographer full time. He has won several awards and published three books.

  • Lion by lightning
  • Spikes and stars