With the recent slaying of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, I thought I’d write a little tutorial on how real men shoot lions. This tutorial works for other animals as well.
1. Choose your weapon.
My weapon of choice is the Canon 5D Mark III. You may want to rent or purchase a long lens since walking up to a wild animal to capture it’s close up might not be ideal.
Ideally, somewhere in Africa where lions roam in the wild would be the best location, but if you can’t afford that trip or you don’t want to get the 12 vaccinations required to travel, your local zoo is second best.
Early morning and late afternoon when the sun isn’t directly overhead is optimal. Also, lions tend to take cat naps when it is hot, so midday isn’t too exciting. At the zoo, feeding time is a great time to visit.
4. The Hunt
Quietly approach the wild beast (not too close). Raise your camera to your eye and find your focus. Breathe… Stay relaxed so you don’t shake. When shooting with a long lens like a 300mm, camera shake is more apparent. Use a tripod or monopod if you need to but if you don’t have one, all you have to do is stay relaxed. Holding your breath so that you don’t move doesn’t work, it makes it worse. When the time is right, release your shutter and allow the light to pass through your lens.
Well done! You felt the adrenaline rush through your veins, you captured your trophy, and best of all, your prey can walk away so others can enjoy capturing the lion’s image as well.