How I Got the Shot: “Shadow Mate”


I got this shot in May 2017 when we were in Hwange, one of our favourite National Parks in Zimbabwe. We were being spoilt by WEZ with a photographic prize at the Little Makololo Lodge in the Wilderness Safari Area just past Ngweshla. 

We had seen a young lion following a herd of buffalos - ever hopeful, but being alone he was very nervous and was stalking but without the needed zest. As we were sitting watching him we noticed a troop of baboons, very nervous and mindful of the lion in their midst. 

This big male baboon was watching the lion very carefully, and sounding the alarm. As the lion moved away following the buffaloes, he sat back as if content that he had done a good job,                    

I saw that he had backup - in the form of his shadow mate that was cast perfectly on the tree trunk beside him.  I managed to capture them both at exactly the right moment with my Nikon D4 and my Nikon 200-400mm lens. It was late afternoon, so I had to open up my f stop to allow for more light, at around f4 or 5.6 for a better exposure, also throwing the background out of focus a bit  to concentrate focus on the subject. 

I was trying to keep my ISO as low as possible, as pushing the ISO up too high makes for a grainy image or a ‘noisy’ image as we say in the photographic world. I also try and keep my camera speed above my maximum focal length i.e. 400 or more to avoid camera shake and invariably shoot off a tripod with a gimbal head or a bean bag to help steady the camera.

The wilderness area in Hwange truly is well worth a visit, with great accommodation and amazing photographic opportunities.

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