This is unquestionably the meanest, toughest wild lion that I know in the world. There is a heavy-duty security fence between us that has a section designed so I can take this exact kind of portrait. The section had a rectangular box cut at lion eye level that was large enough for my camera to breathe, but too small for Gandalf the lion’s head.  He still tried a couple of times to enter my space and my heart did skip a beat. Make no mistake, this is a massive and dangerous animal and these are close encounters.

The photograph is made with 7.30am backlight, using material depth of field and a lack of magnification. In all three variables, I have tweaked my preferences over the years and by learning how to get it hopelessly wrong, I now get it just about right. His whole face, from the outer chin to inner eyes, has to be pin sharp, which is a challenge from four feet away. My photography is rarely led by maths, but on this occasion, maths was pivotal.

I am happy with the construction of this image - I think it grabs and then holds the eye. The tail, the primal rawness and the scars.

If Al Pacino was Scarface, so also is Gandalf.

Available sizes (Framed size)

Large: 71" x 99" (180 cm x 252 cm)
Standard: 52" x 71" (132 cm x 180 cm)

Available editions

Large: Edition of 12
Standard: Edition of 12

This is unquestionably the meanest, toughest wild lion that I know in the world. There is a heavy-duty security fence between us that has a section designed so I can take this exact kind of portrait. The section had a rectangular box cut at lion eye level that was large enough for my camera to breathe, but too small for Gandalf the lion’s head.  He still tried a couple of times to enter my space and my heart did skip a beat. Make no mistake, this is a massive and dangerous animal and these are close encounters.

The photograph is made with 7.30am backlight, using material depth of field and a lack of magnification. In all three variables, I have tweaked my preferences over the years and by learning how to get it hopelessly wrong, I now get it just about right. His whole face, from the outer chin to inner eyes, has to be pin sharp, which is a challenge from four feet away. My photography is rarely led by maths, but on this occasion, maths was pivotal.

I am happy with the construction of this image - I think it grabs and then holds the eye. The tail, the primal rawness and the scars.

If Al Pacino was Scarface, so also is Gandalf.

Available sizes (Framed size)

Large: 71" x 99" (180 cm x 252 cm)
Standard: 52" x 71" (132 cm x 180 cm)

Available editions

Large: Edition of 12
Standard: Edition of 12
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