Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feeding the Lions

  My last post featured tigers and leopards from Tampa's Big Cat Rescue. I had no idea at that time that my next one would feature lions. I went to Busch Gardens yesterday. Spring has fully sprung already here and Tampa and it was much more beautiful there then it was when I visited in January-many more flowers, trees blossoming, a perfect day in the high in the upper 70s with a slight breeze and puffy white clouds often filtering the sunlight for me nicely.  Despite this I was not especially excited about the photos I was getting. Very often on days like this the payoff comes towards the end of the day, I am not sure why this is but it is wonderful to end on a high note!  

  As luck would have it I came to the area where the Lions live just as they were about to be fed! Two men with containers of chopped up meat arrived and the male and two female lions-who are often sleeping were awake, alert and ready for some food!  No cage to shoot through there was simply a deep gully and a 3 ft fence between me and them and my 70-300mm lens served me well. The first photo at the top shows one of the females anticipating the food about to be thrown her way.  The above is just a wonderful portrait of the male, I have never been able to capture anything like it before!

  My two best action shots. They were jumping in between sun and shade so it was difficult to expose these photos properly. Also because they were moving  so fast a few shots were ruined by me chopping off the tops of their heads etc. I like these two though because you can see the meat suspended in mid air just before it is caught!

  I find myself somewhat spellbound by the eyes of these animals. I see intelligence, emotions and a bit of mystery in them.  I am so pleased that I was in the right place at the right time!

  I got a bit more arty here in editing this one, I love this!  When I look at it I am reminded of the lion Aslan in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. He is watching and tracking the food on its way to him very intensely but if you didn't know that it almost looks like he is waving :).

  I will finish up with another image I took some artistic license with-this really looks like an old faded photo. For those edited I run many of my images through photo shop plug ins Nick Color Efex Pro and/or Nic Silver Efex Pro.  I will share a few more images from my day at Busch Gardens in my next post.

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