Behind the Shot: Lord of the Savanna

Hi everyone, it’s Week 2 of the Outdoor Photography Guide Photo Challenge This week, our challenge is shooting at night.

To get everyone in the mood, here’s a recent night photo I took while photographing with fellow Outdoor Photography Guide team member Zac Mills in the Masai Mara of Kenya. We found a male lion just before sunset; he had been resting during the heat of the day, so we hoped he would get active after the sun went down. As the sky darkened into twilight, we got out a spotlight to illuminate the lion, and got lucky when he suddenly got up and gave us a ferocious looking yawn. I underexposed the image by setting my exposure compensation to -3, which helped make the sky look darker and rendered the landscape surrounding the spot-lit lion in total silhouette.

Canon 1DXII, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 3200, f/3.2, 1/50 second.

Night photography takes equal parts planning, practice, patience, and caffeine. I look forward to seeing your night photos. Good luck!


About the author: World-renowned professional photographer and Tamron Image Master Ian Plant is a frequent contributor to several leading photo magazines and the author of numerous books and instructional videos. You can see more of Ian’s work at

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