Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR
Description: After proven himself as worthy against the competition, lioness chose to mate with the winner. He is enchanted by her scent, shadows her ever step and leaving only sunlit trail of dust behind
Story from behind the lens: Our vehicle arrived at the scene prior the sunrise with male lion attempting to hunt! He suddenly detected scent of lioness in heat and froze. After inhaling air through open mouth for several seconds, he began his pursuit by interchangeably walking, running, frequently changing directions and stopping for just long enough to inhale more air and repeat it all over again. This continued for several minutes. He quickly covered a lot of ground, trying to chase her down. After he finally had her in his sight and successfully chased off another male lion, the lioness made her seductive move and now he followed her tail, and every step trying to mate with her for the first time. She became my subject of interest, and he was now just the subordinate. With no wind, dust was coming up off their feet and hanging in the air just long enough, leaving trail behind them lit by the sun. I felt lucky to witness and capture this dramatic scene in one image
I was inside the custom designed vehicle equipped with low access door to take images at the eye level and opportunity to capture more realistic view point. I was concerned with low light and possibly not being able to freeze action if needed, so I bumped the ISO to 4000 and kept aperture wide open at f/5.6 with focus on the lioness. Jonathan and I both recognized dust trail, calling out potential frontal shot with side-lit dust. Tall grass and uneven terrain presented additional challenge. Communication with our guide was key to being able to capture this image. After calling this out, Jonathan was able to put me in position to capture this image.