The Serengeti is a vast grassland where you’ll occasionally find small outcroppings of granite, like rocky islands in a sea of grass. They call these rocks kopjes (pronounced ko-pee).
This is where the lions find safety from grassfires, shelter under the trees, and vantage points for hunting — and where photographers can find scenes like no other place.
If you’ve seen the “The Lion King”, you might recognize this as the place where Simba, the star of the show, stood atop a kopje.
When I visited, the female lions and their cubs were up on the kopjes while the males were on the grass down below.
Early in the evening, when the sky just started softening, I photographed two adult female lions grooming each other.
I love the way the cubs often pose together! I decided to process this image with sepia toning for a different look.
Finally at the end of the evening I was treated to an incredible moment when sunset colours blanketed the sky just as two cubs decided to descend the kopje to join their parents below.
All of the lion images were made with my 400mm f/5.6L lens and the Canon 6D.
You might be surprised to find out that due to the low light conditions, I used ISO2000!! That’s a setting I would never have considered using in the past, but now that noise reduction software is so good, I didn’t worry about it at all. I’d rather have a sharp image with a bit of noise than a blurry image. To reduce the noise, I simply used the noise reduction slider in Lightroom.
Himanshu Dalvi says
Annie, your articles give me immense pleasure. These are not only about photography but cover excellent travel topics as well.
I hv noticed your photos are never on 5D or 1D models these are on lower models, is there some special reasons for that? Not that it degrades the images but simply a curiosity prompting me to ask
I thought the Elephant’s were my favorite! Now I’m not sure. The Lion photos have made a strong bid for number 1. Thanks for sharing your trip.
Sharon L Nelson says
What touching beautiful pictures Anne! What a wonderful experience.
Laura @Travelocafe says
Kitty… kitty… so cute… 🙂 Great pics.
Jaider Ramos says
Hi Anne!!! Congrats for your terrific photographs. They’re always inspiring to me.
I was looking through your images and thinking how beautifully clear and sharp they looked, but then I read your final comment on ISO and almost couldn’t believe you shot those at 2000. I’ve been realizing my self that ” I’d rather have a sharp image with a bit of noise than a blurry image ” , and gradually moving towards that philosophy. But honestly anything I shoot over ISO800 comes out with so much noise that to make it look clean I have to push the noise reduction slider in LR too hi, ending up with this plastic look. In lower ISO’s things work quite well and images looks pretty nice and sharp .
I’m aware that the Canon 600D’s sensor (that I use) has a huge difference regarding noise when compared with the FF 6D, but in your opinion, having worked with different camera levels, should this be making the whole difference or am I missing something else?
Thanks for sharing your experiences and images!
Mary @ Green Global Travel says
Love the shot with sepia toning. Just beautiful.
Toad Hollow Photography says
This is a great set of photos, Anne! I love how we were all able to experience a bit of what it must be like to be there in person with these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. Great feature here!!!