Skye was on an afternoon game drive with his family in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve when he spotted two young male lions lying in the grass. Trying out a new technique, he steadied his camera on a beanbag. He focussed on the nearest lion and, just as he pressed the shutter, zoomed the lens out, adding flash to highlight the eyes. ‘It was tricky to move the lens at precisely the right moment and just enough to get the blurred effect, but not so much as to lose the lion’s face,’ he says. His perseverance eventually paid off, giving him the shot he had in mind. ‘I want the picture to raise awareness that lions are a vulnerable species,’ he says. ‘To me, this picture conveys the feeling that lions are fading from Africa.’ The lion population is thought to have decreased by a third across Africa over the past two decades.
Canon EOS 7D + 100–400mm lens at 400mm; 1/30 sec at f22 (+0.7 e/v); ISO 800; Speedlite 580EX II flash; beanbag.
Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
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Skye Meaker, South Africa
Growing up in South Africa, Skye has been interested in wildlife and conservation from a very early age. He learned to appreciate the bush from his parents on family safaris around Africa and was introduced by his father to nature photography – now his passion. He believes that understanding how animals behave is key to taking better pictures.