27 Minutes With The Double Crossing Pride in Masai Mara

One of the most important decisions any aspiring wildlife photographer needs to make is the choice of destination. It is actually very simple. It all boils down to the question of productivity.
At CNP safaris we have taken this question and the answer to it very seriously. People work hard to afford their next wildlife photography holiday so how do we make sure that they get bang for their buck. The most obvious answer to this is not only to take photographers to game rich areas but to take them to areas that offer clean back- and foregrounds. I have forever been advocating that the background in a photograph is just as important as the subject. People spend vast amounts of time and money working in game rich areas in southern Africa with very busy backgrounds with a very low top quality yield.
 
So what can happen if you are sitting in a CNP Photography Vehicle with a knowledgable CNP guide, good light and a pride of lions that has just been rejuvenated by some Dagga Boy buffalo bulls that worked them over a bit. The answer is photographic Nirvana. If you view the following 10 images carefully you will see that the background is constantly changing. That is because the Double Crossing pride is rapidly on the move! Each one of these images represent a different scene and most likely a few motor drive sequences. So the number of usable images taken in the short space of 27 minutes is very high.
 
I photographed the Double Crossing Pride on four different occasions during my first week in Masai Mara in Sept 2017. The first time with a White-bearded Wildebeest kill, the second time with an Impala kill, the third time with time introducing the two month old cubs and then when they were moving over the plains of the Double Crossing savannah - an area named after a seasonal spring that needs to be crossed twice to progress further into the south east of the Greater Mara.
 
The CNP/ &Beyond Lion Photography Set Departure Safaris are designed and timed for great lion photography.
 
One of the most important decisions any aspiring wildlife photographer needs to make is the choice of destination. It is actually very simple. It all boils down to the question of productivity.r needs to make is the choice of destination. It is actually very simple. It all boils down to the question of productivity.

Traveling with CNP safaris too the lion rich destinations of Masai Mara, Ngorogoro Conservation area and Serengeti that offers a high percentage of clean backgrounds will result in astounding lion photography. One of the Double Crossing Pride lionesses are chased by a sub adult in Glorious light.
(Nikon D500 with Nikon 600mm F4.0 Lens + 1.4 X Converter/ F5.6 @ 1/4000 sec/ ISO200/ EV -1.3)
This sub-adult is in flat out in pursuit of other pride members.
(Nikon D500 with Nikon 600mm F4.0 + 1.4 X Converter/ F8.0 @ 1/4000sec/ ISO 500/ EV -1)
When a whole pride of  lions move over the African savannah and the chase and play the photographer is under a bit of pressure. There is hardly a lens out there that with cover a focal lengths effectively. Here more pride members got together and running straight at me - of course I have positioned the vehicle for that!- requires switching from 840mm to a much shorter combination.
(Nikon D500 with Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 +1.4 Converter/F8.0 @ 1/4000sec/ ISO 500/ EV -1.3)
One of the pride females is bracing herself for a very enthusiastic attack by one of the smaller cubs.
(Nikon D500 with Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 + 1.4 X Converter/ ISO 500/ EV -1.3)
It looks as if this enthusiastic cub nearly trips herself in an attempt to get away from the lionesses behind her.
(Nikon D500 with Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 + 1.4 X Converter/ F8.0 @ 1/5000sec/ ISO 500/ EV -1.3)
Play plays a very important role in teaching cub the skills required to take down prey. This cub is totally focussed on the “prey” she intends taking down.
(Nikon D500 with Sigma 120-300 F2.8 +1.4 X Converter/ F8.0 @ 1/5000sec/ ISO 500/ EV -1.3)
There is a saying going around in Africa  - “A lion exposed is a lion unarmed”- that surely applies to lions moving across the short grass savannah of the Masai Mara. They can be seen from kilometres away. The only animals at risk under such circumstances are the Warthogs because they are close to the ground and they sometimes can not see far ahead. The pride spot a Warthog from afar ,set up an ambush but the Warthog sniffed them out and ran a literal circle around them. This cub decided if the pride could not take down the Warthog collectively he will do it by himself and gave chase over a long distance obviously unsuccessful.
(Nikon D500 with Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 +1.5 Converter / F10 @ 1/2500 sec/ ISO 500/ EV -1.3)
It always amazes me that the lionesses can play with the same enthusiasm as the cubs. Here two adults have broken away from the the rest of the playing group to have a bit of fun on their own.
(Nikon D500 with Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 +1.4 X Converter/ F14 @ 1/2500 sec/ ISO 800/ EV -1.3)
When traveling over the Mara savannah lions can hardly resist passing any termite hill. Its becomes a place to launch from, scan the area, hide behind and play hide and seek from. Termite Hills are true photographer friends and all you need to do is spot them in time and get your vehicle in position before they arrive at it.
(Nikon D500 with Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 with 1.4 X Converter taken at 180mm / F8.0 @ 1/4000sec/ ISO 400/ EV -1.3)
Lions ambush and co-operate to take prey down. While the one cub is hanging onto the the lioness the second one rushes in to take the “prey” down.
(Nikon D810 with Nikon 600mm F4.0 + 1.4 X Converter/ F8.0 @ 1/4000sec/ ISO 500/ EV -1.3)

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Posted in Lou Blog, Masai Mara.

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