I Tamed A Lion. No, Not Really.

A close up photo of a lion, in profile, at a zoo near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Am I really that brave photographing a lion up close and personal?*

I made this photo very close to a potentially dangerous animal. The photo was made at 1/20 second at f8 at a 65 mm focal length on a Canon 5D Mark II camera with a Canon 24-105mm f4 lens attached. I was less than 2 meters away from the lion when I made this image. 

How is it possible that I am hear to tell the story?

The photo was made in the Bali Zoo and there was a sheet of glass or acrylic between the lion and I.

The other key to making the photo was that I employed a Polarizing filter to cut back the glare that was reflecting off the surface of the glass.

Telling The Full Story

The result is a very realistic looking image though, in fairness to real wildlife photographers, I always think it’s important to document whenever an image is made in a zoo or animal rehabilitation centre.

Photographer Nick Brandt

My favorite wildlife photographer is Nick Brandt. He’s the real deal. A totally authentic artist/photographer committed to his craft.

Now I’ve been on all manner of adventures, across six continents, photographing landscapes and people. While I’ve enjoyed photographing seals, sea lions, penguins and birds from zodiacs and on landings in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica, it’s not my speciality. I don’t live to photograph wildlife, nor are most of my travels scheduled around wildlife photography. However, my experiences have taught me a number of valuable lessons which I’m always happy to pass on.

How To Photograph From A Moving Vehicle

So, while a polarizing filter can certainly help reduce reflections, there’s a few other tips that, in the photo of our friendly lion, made all the difference. To further help minimize reflections, when photographing through glass, attach a lens hood/shade to the front of your lens and position it as close to the glass or perspex as you can without actually touching it.

In the case of a moving vehicle (e.g., bus, train, plane) vibration will be conducted through the window pane and along your lens to the sensor, resulting in a blurred image. Keeping the front of the lens hood/shade a tiny bit back from the surface of the glass/acrylic will minimize the chance of objects behind you reflecting back off the glass into the lens and also reduces the chance of flare hitting the front of the lens from the sides.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru