A Lion Roars Tonight – Getting that perfect yawn shot

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Lion Yawn

Lion Yawn

So you’ve seen all these posts on social media, blogs or in magazines and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get that perfect shot of the lion yawn, right?

When we first started going into the bush, either on self-drives or with guides, we discovered that each lion sighting is one to be treasured and wanted to make the most out of each one. Not only for the experience itself, but also for trying to get the best possible shots for that sighting. After all, lions are either sleeping, sleeping or sleeping. Occasionally you’ll see them on the move, or on a hunt.

When coming across a lion sighting, one of my favourite shots to take is of the lion yawning, at just the right moment, the peak of the yawn. Usually I missed it and either ended up with shots of a semi-snarl, or a droopy eyed lion right at the end of the yawn or an image where the lion appears to be laughing at me, taunting me. These can make for amusing images, but not the ones I’ve been after.

Lion laugh

Lion laughing at us

Lion yawn tip

One of our guides a few years back, sorry I can’t remember who it was, gave us one of the best tips we have ever received for catching that perfect yawn. Keep in mind this tip isn’t a hard and fast rule, nor is it a statement of fact, but in our experience it holds true for the most part.

When you see the lion yawn, get your camera ready and compose your shot with the right settings. There will usually be a second yawn to follow soon afterwards.

By keeping this in mind, you will be able to preempt what is about to happen and take your shot right as the yawn reaches it’s peak.

Keep this in mind next time you’re out in the bush and let us know how you get on. Why not even share some of your shots with us on Facebook.

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