Robert Henderson's picture

Implacable Eyes

I am always interested in the eyes of the animals I photograph, and trying to see myself in the way that they see us. If you increase the magnification, you can see our vehicle reflected in the dark eyes of this female Spotted Hyena.

Shortly after sunset, we were fortunate to find an entire family of hyenas that included three adults and at least eight cubs of various ages from a week or two old to young sub-adults. The smaller as well as larger cubs were taking turns nursing and playing with each other. This dominant female was keeping a close watch on her very curious youngest cub, who was wandering a little too close to our vehicle for her liking. Normally hyenas in the Serengeti National Park almost entirely disregard vehicles and occupants. But in this case the body language of the mother was making it clear that if there was the slightest threat to her little one, somebody's face was going to get ripped off. And when you have the attention of an animal with a bite strength almost double that of a male African lion, you want to remain very quiet.

I took the image with a Canon 7D Mark II with an EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens with a 1.4X III teleconverter. The exposure settings were 1/800, f/9.0, ISO 5000, 560 mm.

Canon 7D Mark II
560 mm · f/9 · 1/800 · ISO 5000
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