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Underground Lions of Etosha National Park, Namibia

Find out what our leading wildlife photographer Mark A Fernley is getting up to outside of our photography tours. Read about his photography journey to photograph the wildlife of Etosha National Park, located in North Namibia.

Setting off early in the morning, I made my way through the vast barren wastelands that contain such extensive biodiversity. As we approached a wide-open area surrounded by white clay, we noticed a young Spotted Hyena making its way towards the road. I drove up to where he began to cross and observed a large group of Hyena looking rather nervous. I realised there was something closer to me than the Hyenas. Out of nowhere, a young, yet large Lion cub popped his head out from the road, followed by another. I could not believe my eyes! After getting a few photographs of the young, the mother Lioness and male crawled out of the drainage pipe from under the road. There was severe tension between the Spotted Hyena and the Lion pride that made this photo shoot far more interesting. However, they did keep their distance from one another.

As the daylight was consistent, I followed the Pride with my Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport Lens fixed to the Canon 5D Mark IV and kept a constant distance to get that shot; Lion pride strolling around to warn off nearby Hyena’s. During this Lion shoot I kept the Canon 5D shutter speed at 1,600th of a second for a sharp result and the ISO at 640 to gain light compensating for the fast shutter speed. Finally, the F-Stop was set at 8 for a larger depth of field to keep more of the body in focus, with all settings now compensating with one another to make the perfect image. I was able to get many shots of the cubs, the male, and the female, along with images of the small pride together in this harsh environment. Focusing between the eyes of the subject always gave a striking and sharp appearance to the image. This was a truly fascinating experience to photograph lions that were living in the drainage system of the roads, which provided shelter from the hot sun in this dry, flat land.

Mark A Fernley

Join Mark A Fernley with Untamed Photography Tours during our wildlife photography workshops, tours and safaris in our unique wildlife locations around the world. From the depths of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest through the dry flatlands of Africa and into the secret forests of India, Untamed Photography Tours is here to help you gain wildlife images of all kind that will make you stand out from the crowd.


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