Morning After

Panasonic DMC-FZ-1000, ISO 400, FL 400, 1/125 sec @ f/8.0

Panasonic DMC-FZ-1000, ISO 400, FL 400, 1/125 sec @ f/8.0


When I was in Namibia recently, like most tourists, I was really wanting to photograph lions.  The only lions I would ever see in the United States are all behind zoo bars, so this was a photographic opportunity that I was excited about.  On our first trip into Etosha National Park, we found a water hole and waited for hours, hoping to see a lion.  Didn’t happen.  Lots of very vigilant giraffes, rhinos, zebras, elephants.  But no lions.  On our second trip, we did see a mating pair at some distance from the water hole.  I had read that when a lioness is in heat, the copulation frequency is extremely high.  A mating pair may copulate every 20 minutes or so for 3-5 days.  And the pair we watched for several hours must have read the books because they certainly conformed to the literature.  It was really kind of funny to watch – carloads of tourists with huge camera lens all directed at the desert bedroom of this mating pair.  The lion would mount the lioness for about 5 minutes, then collapse next to her and they would both sleep for 20 minutes, then the whole thing would start over.  This went on for several hours.  We finally gave up on getting any good photographs and left the scene but came back early the next morning.  When we got to the water hole where we had watched the mating pair the evening before, we found the male lion by himself.  The female lioness was nowhere to be seen.  At the risk of anthropomorphizing, the male lion did seem to be yearning for his female companion.  He was very restless, walking back and forth around the water hold, and periodically roaring.  He finally wandered away from the water hole and into the bush but not before giving a safari vehicle full of photographers a great portrait opportunity!

About Diana Davidson

Physician, traveler, photographer, tennis player, reader, teacher, student

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