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The trick to getting sharp photographs of a lion yawning

Slowly, slowly is the trick to shooting lions yawning. Watch, wait and follow the action.

Slowly, slowly is the trick to shooting lions yawning. Watch, wait and follow the action.

There is a trick to getting sharp photographs of a lion yawning. It’s usually late in the day when they start becoming active and much grooming and yawning take place. There are a couple of things to do to make sure your images of “The Yawn” are sharp:

  1. Keep an eye on your shutter speed – light levels often drop fast so you have to keep raising the ISO to make sure your shutter speeds are adequate.
  2. Set your camera to continuous, servo or follow focus – the lion’s head is going to move as it yawns.
  3. Set the drive to continuous, high.
  4. Check that your focus point is set where you want it – either the eye or teeth, if that’s what you want to capture.
  5. Take it slowly and watch. Don’t hit the shutter button and soon as the yawn starts – wait… As it starts to reach its climax hit the shutter button and follow the action so that you maintain the focus point.

Good luck!

This pic shot in Phinda Private Game Reserve on the Nikon D3x and Nikkor 600mm f4. ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f4.

Slowly, slowly is the trick to shooting lions yawning. Watch, wait and follow the action.

Slowly, slowly is the trick to shooting lions yawning. Watch, wait and follow the action.

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