To create beautiful fine-art prints that connect with the viewer is more complicated than it sounds. My style of photography has always been about raw emotion, something pulling at my heartstrings, a sense of euphoria and adrenaline coursing through my veins.
When we happened upon this wonderful Lion and Lioness in the heart of the Masai Mara, my body went into overdrive. My heart is pounding and telling me that this scene in front of me will make a beautiful wildlife print. I calm myself and look at all the elements in front of me and arrange them to create a beautiful photograph.
The lions will play lead roles, but it is the other details that will make or break this image. Telling a story in a single picture is extremely difficult but essential. I chose not to get too close to the lions, using a wider lens than usual to include the savannah with the hills and storm clouds as a backdrop. This perspective will show the vastness of the Mara, giving the viewer a wonderful sense of place. The brooding storm clouds create a dramatic sky, giving texture and a three-dimensional feel to the photo.
The lone tree anchors the background and leads your eye through the image. The lion is looking out of the frame; and asks the question, what has gotten the lions attention?
The lioness is lying down after a bout of mating, her eyes are open and looking directly at the viewer.
There are many elements within this wildlife photograph. Capturing the image is only half the story, the real magic happens in the digital darkroom where once more my heartstrings are pulled.
The excitement and raw emotion I felt photographing I translate from colour to monochrome. Without colour leading the viewer’s eye, I have to use a tonal range of light and shadow to walk the viewer through the photograph so that all the elements play their vital role in creating an engaging black and white art print.