Lion on the run: Story behind the photo

Angela Osborne, winner of the Travel Photo of the Year 2013 Wildlife category, tells the story of her incredible winning image

4 mins

I was fortunate to take a ten-day trip to the Masai Mara during low season 2013, when vehicles were fewer in number and the wildlife was in abundance.

This pride of lions was located in an area known as Musiara Marsh, where herds of elephants congregate and feast on the long grass after the rain. The Marsh pride is ruled by a group of four male lions who arrived in 2011; Scar who appears in this photograph, suffered a wound across his face from a previous altercation.

I had spent a couple of days photographing the pride and as the light started to fade due to an approaching storm, I switched to slow pan shots to make use of the limited light and to practise a different technique.

The pride rested peacefully in the long grass until the elephants approached and detected the lions’ scent. Being sworn enemies, the elephants soon took objection to the lions being there.

While the young cubs were hurriedly escorted to a safe distance by the females of the pride, Scar stood his ground until the elephants charged forward to reclaim their territory.

To capture the essence of Scar fleeing I set a slow shutter speed and tracked him as he attempted to rejoin the pride, causing the lion’s image to be sharp but blurring the trumpeting elephants and the background.

Judges comments: 

The judges were impressed by the originality of Angela's image and by the technical skill it displayed.

"Yes oh yes – this is a photographer who has eschewed the standard ‘recording’ approach and boldly lowered their shutter speed with dramatic and winning results." Wildlife photography expert Paul Goldstein.

"The urgency in this image speaks volumes and intimately captures the tensions of life in the wild." Photographer Paul Harris FRGS.

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