Harold Williford

Camera: Sony a7rv

Lens: 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

Aperture: f/13

Shutter speed: 1/1250

ISO: 500

Description: A pride of lionesses feasting on an eland they killed during the night

Story from behind the lens: I woke up at 4am to the unmistakable sounds of lions devouring a fresh meal and menacing laughing hyenas. I could tell that they were extremely close to my tent, which I was suddenly keenly aware was made of canvas and netting. Over the next five hours, I had front a row seat to fascinating complexities that arise from a lion kill. As dawn broke, I saw a young lion eating an eland carcass thirty feet from the tent. After he left to take a nap with the rest of the pride, hyenas and jackals darted in and out, stealing bites but never settling in (possibly because the clever lionesses used the proximity of humans to their kill to keep competitors uncomfortable and once because a lioness returned to chase them off), followed by dozens of circling birds that landed in nearby trees. Eventually over a dozen lions returned for their next course. This particular tableau reminded me of grand historical paintings of a royal banquet hall, reflecting the monarchical power the lionesses wield over this entire ecosystem, both regal and cruelly bloodstained.