‘It had been a childhood dream of mine to experience Africa as it was a hundred years ago, with predators roaming wild and free, not separated from man. I embarked on a sixteen-month project to photograph nomadic lion eking out a precarious existence on Maasai-owned community land in Kenya’s southern rift valley. These free-ranging lion were shy and chose to drink under the cover of darkness. In order to capture them on film, I waited patiently until a particularly hot period infuriated the thirst of the cats, bringing them to the water’s edge and in the daylight hours. I chose to sit in the water so as to mask my scent and to offer my audience a unique perspective on my subject. I never used a remote because I wanted both vertical and horizontal shots. The water was also far too warm (just 2 degrees South of the equator) for a dry or wet suite. After spending a total of 270 hours in the water, I contracted bilharzia, malaria and a host of other tropical parasites (many of which were introduced to the water by baboon urine and faeces). To date, I have been treated by four different tropical disease experts and my blood tests are now mostly clear. Despite these ailments, this image offers partial solace to the feeling that I was born a century too late as I have an image of a truly wild lion, roaming Africa outside of a park or game reserve. These free ranging lion are predicted to become extinct in the next 10 years and I hope this project helps raise awareness! I chose to shoot on film just to keep it real and this if a full frame image of the lioness drinking, but keeping a beady eye on me. She was just one leap away.’ Get the full story at http://www.gregdutoit.com/index.php?page=ftf_blood’
Nikon F100, Nikkor 80-400mm, F5.6 and 1/160th, Fuji Provia 100F pushed 1 stop, Hoya Warming Filter 81b.