National Geographic Photographers: Michael Nichols The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion


Published on

Serengeti National Park encompasses 5,700 square miles of grassy plains and woodlands near the northern border of Tanzania, and is home to more than 3,500 lions grouped into a couple dozen prides.

Photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols and videographer Nathan Williamson were determined to break new visual ground when they made several extended trips to the Serengeti between July 2011 and January 2013. A remote-control toy car and a rugged robot tank gave them an unobtrusive way to make images up close and at low angles. Two cameras were mounted on each device; Nichols controlled one and Williamson the other, a pairing that let the collaborators create a synchronized dance of photo and video. They took their time, letting the pride get used to these little machines. The robot, says Williamson, was made to be sturdy enough to stand up to a lion giving it a swat. “It didn’t need to be—the lions were dignified and just arrogantly ignored it most of the time,” he says. Night-vision cameras and goggles were used to capture images of the lions stalking prey.

But most of the images and videos here were made using old-fashioned, camera-in-hand technology. Nichols shot 242,000 images and Williamson recorded 200 hours of video, often while lying on the floor of a specially outfitted Land Rover.

Published in: Art & Photos, Technology
  • Bellísimas las de b&n,las demás también,sin duda es porque están en su habitat natural, es por eso que no soporto los zoos.Muchas gracias Olga.Un abrazo grande.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Por si no lo sabias, no es oro todo lo que reluce para ellos. Siendo el Rey de la selva, no lo pasa nada bien estos felinos y el futuro no es nada alagueño para ellos. Son preciosos ejemplares y una pena que vayan descendiendo alarmantemente..Salu222 .-)
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Great story,well presented... Thank you Olga......
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • FABULOSA!!!! Felicidades guapa!! muchísimas gracias por

    compartir. Un beso
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Fantastic ! Excellent ! Muchas gracias !
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

National Geographic Photographers: Michael Nichols The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion

  1. 1. The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion Death is always near, and teamwork is essential on the Serengeti—even for a magnificent, dark-maned male known as C-Boy.
  2. 2. Photographer Nick Nichols made several extended trips to the Serengeti between July 2011 and January 2013, determined to break new visual ground in the coverage of the Serengeti Lion. Here, C-Boy, a dark-maned male lion defending his interests, confronts the peril of lion-on-lion violence on a daily (and nightly) basis. Four years ago, C-Boy barely survived a fight for dominance with three other males.
  3. 3. The Vumbis rest on a kopje, or rocky outcrop, near a favorite water hole. Lions use kopjes as havens and outlooks on the plains. When the rains bring green grass, wildebeests arrive in vast herds.
  4. 4. C-Boy and a Vumbi female relax between matings. During estrus a female may be monopolized for days by a single male consort. Dark manes correlate with robustness, and dark-maned studs like C-Boy are preferred.
  5. 5. Large cubs of the Vumbi pride and a grown female (fifth from left) feast on a wildebeest. The darkest, moonless hours are prime hunting time because the cats can see better than their prey. These black-and-white photographs were made with infrared light to minimize disruption to the lions.
  6. 6. C-Boy mates with a Kibumbu pride female. After fathering cubs, a resident male can be displaced by other males. His young offspring will then be killed by the new males or left to die.
  7. 7. Cubs of the Simba East pride: too young to kill but old enough to crave meat. Adult females, and sometimes males, do the hunting. Zebras and wildebeests rank high as chosen prey in the rainy season.
  8. 8. C-Boy (front) and Hildur lie side by side during an afternoon rain shower in Serengeti National Park. Adult male lions form coalitions with other males, often their brothers. C-Boy and Hildur—who are unrelated—have been a duo for years.
  9. 9. Hildur shakes the rain from his mane. He and C-Boy work together to retain control over two prides: the Vumbi, consisting of five adult lionesses, and Simba East, a pride now also with five.
  10. 10. A playful 20-month-old female takes a flying leap across Hildur’s back on the rain-soaked plains. The young lioness is either Hildur’s or C-Boy’s offspring. While the males spend some of their time with the pride—and put up with youngsters’ antics—they mainly devote themselves to defending the territory against other males.
  11. 11. In 2009 a gang of lions called the Killers attacked C-Boy. Ingela Jansson, then a research assistant with the Serengeti Lion Project, photographed the fight. C-Boy survived, but the Killers drove him away from the Jua Kali pride—where he and Hildur had been the resident males.
  12. 12. Infrared light illuminates Hildur and a lioness from the Vumbi pride as they rest after mating. The females in a pride sometimes reproduce on the same cycle. This allows the pride to protect and feed their young together.
  13. 13. Lionesses from the Vumbi pride take an afternoon nap near a favorite watering hole. This lion-level shot was made using a robot that photographer Nick Nichols and his team designed for close-up photographs of the felines.
  14. 14. Dusk is a busy time for the Vumbi pride. As the moon rises, the lionesses rouse themselves from their afternoon naps, tussle in the grass, and set out on the evening hunt. Nichols made this photo using natural light; soon after, he switched to infrared.
  15. 15. The Killers, a male coalition of four, earned their name with lethal attacks on females. They almost killed their rival C-Boy too. Because good territory is a precious resource, fighting and displacing competitors are part of the natural struggle.
  16. 16. A female wrangles her infant cubs. During the first few weeks, when they’re too young for the competitive jumble among older cubs in the pride and so vulnerable to predators, she keeps them hidden away in a den. But these will soon join the group.
  17. 17. Older cubs like these Vumbi youngsters are raised together as a creche, or nursery group. Pride females, united in the cause of rearing a generation, nurse and groom their own and others' offspring.
  18. 18. The Vumbi females -- their pride name is Swahili for "dust" -- kill a warthog they've dragged from its burrow. Such small meals help bridge the lean, hungry, dry season, when cubs may otherwise starve.
  19. 19. Dry season is hard on everyone. Vumbi females, stressed and fiercely protective of their young, get cross with C-Boy, though he's one of the resident fathers.
  20. 20. A male often asserts his prerogatives. C-Boy feasts on a zebra while the Vumbi females and cubs wait nearby, warned off by his low growls. Their turn will come.
  21. 21. Hildur, C-Boy's partner, frequently makes a long run to visit the Simba East pride. A coalition that controls two prides must maintain vigilance over both.
  22. 22. The Serengeti Lion: Life on the Plains with the Vumbi Pride. A marriage of Nick’s photographs, Nathan Williamson’s video, voiceover from ecologist Craig Packer, images and voiceover from Brent Stirton, and text by David Quammen. An immersive look into the life of lions.
  23. 23. The Robot
  24. 24. The Robot
  25. 25. The Robot
  26. 26. Awakening
  27. 27. Blood And Bones
  28. 28. Consort
  29. 29. Hunt
  30. 30. Hunt
  31. 31. Hunt
  32. 32. Hunt
  33. 33. Consort
  34. 34. Cubs
  35. 35. Twilight
  36. 36. Cubs
  37. 37. Cubs
  38. 38. Cubs
  39. 39. Cubs
  40. 40. Cubs
  41. 41. Twilight
  42. 42. Twilight
  43. 43. Black Mane
  44. 44. Playtime
  45. 45. Pride
  46. 46. Pride
  47. 47. The Killers
  48. 48. Coalition
  49. 49. Playtime
  50. 50. Pride
  51. 51. Playtime
  52. 52. Thunderstorm
  53. 53. Hildur slumbers undisturbed as a storm crosses the Serengeti Plain
  54. 54. end cast National Geographic Photographers: Michael Nichols The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion images credit www. Music ThePianoGuys Coldplay – Paradise created o.e. thanks for watching