The Singita Private Game Reserve bordering the Serengeti in
northern Tanzania boasts around 250 lions. That is the highest
density in the world and some of the prides constitute some
20 to 30 lions. To run into a pride that big is to witness one of
nature’s great offerings. The problem for a photographer is how
to do the pride or the opportunity justice. If the lions are in the
grass – as they almost invariably will be up north - there is no way a
cameraman can get out of the jeep. It is unfeasible to watch out
for so many lions. If a cameraman is in a jeep, unless the lions are
at raised elevation, such as on a rock, the camera will always be
pointing down. The closer to the lion, the more obvious the downward
perspective, the further away from the lion and the greater the need
for magnification, which compresses emotion as well as distance.
If the lions are together in a huddle, it can be messy – a bit like a
Hieronymus Bosch painting – a messy cocktail of legs and tails.
I want simplicity and I also like the lead character not just to be
close, but also pin sharp. That determines my composition.