Essay – Baby Lions in the Masai Mara
Can’t talk for others, but I am sure that in the life of a photographer are certainly moments where he or she remembers back with this warm feeling being part of a very unique situation. Let me tell my story.
About 3 years ago, I had to travel to Nairobi/Kenia for business purposes. As our meeting ended friday and my flight back was on sunday night, I opted for a super short trip to the Masai Mara for 2 days of recreation. What was intended to be relaxing and laid back time became one of my most intense experience in Africa in terms of photography and animals. The day before the trip, the new D300 arrived – a good opportunity to try it out as well. I was transferred with a small plane to a newly built tent lodge and arrived at 4pm. Instead of checking in, I got the invitation to join the just departing game drive. Henry, the driver, was just incredible – my sincere thanks to him again. 3 week old cheetahs, hundreds of hippos, a hike to rhinos, giraffes, thousands of Gnu’s are still in my memory. But the real story I’d like to share here, happened on the second day.
Henry brought us (we are 3 people, only me photographing) to a lioness which had 6 puppies about 3 months old. Incredible cute, curious, playful, walking their baby-walk, but the upcoming power already visible – incredible to watch as the time stood still while we were the only party around for hours. The baby lions didn’t care about us, sometimes they came close to 15ft, completely ignoring the car with the humans in it. I started to shoot (photos ..) and tried to capture their baby life in nature. The next village was more than 30mi (50km) away .
It was pure paradise on earth. Even now, looking at the images from 3 years ago, every single minute comes up. Luckily, I had my AF-S 300mm/4 lens with me, which together with the DX body allowed enough reach when they were farther away. I don’t count on it that this fortunate moment will repeat in my life again (Ok, we are never sure these days), that’s why I keep these precious memories and artifacts in a very special place in me. Precious memories.
Please find enclosed some images from more than 800 images I was able to capture with the baby lions which embarked to explore the world. 3 years later – where are they now?