WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Commended 2013

Behaviour: Mammals

Lou Coetzer, South Africa

The golden hour

As the sun came up, a playful mood seemed to infect the whole pride, but these three adolescent males were particularly skittish. Lou was photographing at a remote waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia, where the lions had gathered, and he had been there since first light. Now, as the adolescents engaged in an entertaining round of chasing, cuffing, pouncing and wrestling, the scene was bathed in a golden glow. 'It was a rare opportunity', Lou says, 'to see lions in such beautiful light against a simple backdrop. They also had such cute facial expressions, as though they were young cubs again.' But the rough-and-tumble play did present a technical challenge, in terms of the depth of field and the speed needed to capture the action in low light. And then there was the difficulty of keeping them all in the frame without losing a tail. Lou drew on the skills he learned in his earlier careers as a sports photographer and a portrait photographer to capture the action and the spirit of his subjects.

Technical specification

Nikon D4 + 600mm f4 lens + 1.4x teleconverter; 1/4000 sec at f8 (-1.7 e/v); ISO 800.

Etosha National Park, Namibia: latitude -19.0, longitude 16.0 Etosha National Park, Namibia: latitude -19.0, longitude 16.0

Etosha National Park, Namibia

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