Robert Henderson's picture

Lion, Lion Burning Bright 2

Bob Jr. was an African, Black Maned Lion whose sire was the famous, original Bob Marley. Together with his brother Marley, he ruled a very large pride for over seven years in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. But in March, 2023 Bob Jr. and Marley were killed by a coalition of younger lions in a battle to take over the pride. Photographers and visitors to the Serengeti from all over the world mourned their passing.

Bob Jr. had a very dark mane, many scars, and very dark eyes. He always looked angry (and hungry). His home range was in the Central Area of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, near the Namiri Plains Camp. He was without question the most strikingly photogenic lion I have ever encountered.

Sometimes you know when the current conditions will never be more perfect as long as you live. It was getting very dark, but the last of the sunset light created a palette of burnt and fading colors. The short grass savannah in the Central Serengeti area where we were following the lions had been burned over in a controlled burn a few weeks prior. The grass had been burned down to a very short, reddish-brown stubble. The color of the stubble picked up the reddish orange glow from the sky. In the other direction, there was a full moon on this particular November evening that had just cleared the eastern horizon and provided a silvery secondary light source for Bob Junior’s tongue and muzzle.

A special thank you goes to Namiri Plains Guide Anderson Mwampashe, who patiently tracked the lions all day and into the evening with me looking for the perfect shot.

I took the image with a Canon EOS R6 with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM extender lens, handheld. It was getting pretty dark, right at the limit of the capabilities of my camera and lens. The exposure settings were 1/1250 sec at f/4, ISO 5000, 229 mm, hand-held (and breath held). Taken 9 November 2022.

Canon R6
229mm · f/4.0 · 1/1250 sec · ISO 5000
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