Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tanzania, Africa - Lions and Leopards in trees

I have been here in Tanzania for a month now and tomorrow is my last day here in Africa until I return in August. This was my third and fourth safari photo tours here in the country and it never ceases to amaze me how each safari is so different from the other. In my previous safaris I had never seen a big cat perched in a tree, but this was something I always wanted to see.

As I said, things are ever changing here in Africa, and over the past 3 weeks of safari (with a one week break in Zanzibar) I have seen many lions and leopards perched in trees.

I am excited to share some of these photos with you now.


One of our guides found this leopard hanging out in a tree. There were some branches in the way, so I could not get a clean shot.

Unlike many people who come on safari and want to go from one siting to another, we decided to wait a little to see if the leopard would come down from the tree.


Our guide, David, predicted that the cat would come down fairly quickly and he was right.  I was excited to get this clean shot on the cat's exit.


At one point we came across a large family of lions who were sleeping in the grass. Once again, we stayed with the lions as they moved from one location to another. This one lioness rewarded us with a climb in the tree that was right to the left of our vehicle. Using my Canon 1D X Mark II and the Canon 200-400mm lens, I framed this photo of her making sure to include a little bit of the acacia trees in the background.


I also grabbed my Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 24-105mm lens to get an ever wider shot. I love them both and can't decide which is better. Your thoughts?


We were having fun taking photos of the one lioness in the tree to our left when all the other family members started climbing a tree to our right. As you can see here, we witnessed 9 lions in this tree at a time!! Even our guide has never seen so many lions in a tree. The lighting was not ideal, but the plethora of lions made the photo.


I know...this isn't lions in a tree, but these three were walking down the road towards this tree, and I loved the composition, so it makes it here in the blog.


Here is yet another lioness in a tree. The sun was shining and throwing harsh light and shadows on the cat. I decided to use my Canon 600 EX-RT flash to try and demonstrate how a flash can throw light a long distance and help mitigate shadows.


A couple of days later, we found this lioness lounging in a tree. This time, it was overcast and the light was perfect. We saw these giraffe coming into the background and waited for this moment to start shooting.


I was shooting images of this lion when I saw her start to yawn. I always fire off a lot of shots when the cats yawn, since it looks so ominous. Most people think that these images show an animal that is mad or aggressive, but most of the time this is not the case. Either way, it makes for some dramatic images.

We saw so much wildlife over the last month that I look forward to sharing more images with you in the weeks to come.

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3 comments:

Aankhen said...

I prefer the closer shot of the lioness in the tree, but oh gosh, that family portrait takes the cake! And the yawn looks kinda cute.

Lynn Ball said...

These cat pictures are SO AWESOME!!! I know I just got home from Tanzania, but I am still jealous and I am ready to go back!!

Lasse said...

Hi Jeff,

How far do you think a speedlite will have an impact on the shadows? In the picture with the lions, how far do you think you were from the tree?

Best,
Lasse