I have been lucky to photograph some amazing wildlife over the past several years. This picture comes from what would have to be my most memorable encounter. I actually thought when I was taking this shot that I might be on the lioness’ menu for dinner that evening. When I look at this photograph I cannot get past the thought that she was staring me down from only a few feet away.
This lioness had been spotted near the road and there was a small group of jeeps near her when we pulled up. Our guide maneuvered his vehicle to a good spot in front of her to allow us to get the best possible position for photographs. The lioness laid in the shade for quite a while. I waited for her to move with my camera poised for the shot. What happened next was not completely expected, me being naive.
The lioness got up and walked toward our jeep. I remember Jelly, our guide, tapping me on the knee and telling me to slowly back down and sit if she looked like she was going to get on the jeep. She kept her attention solely on us then hissed at us the way cats do. My heart began to beat faster and my mouth got dry. I had to control the fear that was starting to take over. Keeping my composure I began to back up, keeping in mind to do it slowly so I wouldn’t excite her. Luckily, and uneventfully, some impala got her attention and she headed off to hunt.
This was an amazing experience, but it was also a great lesson. Enjoy.
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