Oil on Board on 1/2 in. Maple panel
15 x 30
Within 11 seconds everything changed.
In October 2013, I was in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, with a group of artists taking part in an elephant conservation/awareness safari hosted by African Wildlife Trust. We did indeed have a great many opportunities to observe and witness the planet’s largest land mammal. But we also had the fortune to see myriad other species including the king himself, the lion.
Out of my two trips to Tanzania, this particular moment that I have captured here is probably one of my most remarkable. It went from a calm, serene scene, almost boring, to intense agitation in the matter of seconds. I was fortunate enough to capture the changing moment with my camera.
My fellow artist and professional photographer friend, James Gary Hines II, and I were standing up and out of the roof of the Land Cruiser photographing two lions by a baobab tree. Both of us are discussing if we should move onto something new, all the time having our cameras up and ready for the “just-in-case” shot. It was at this moment when a guide from another group, about 50 feet away from us to our left, got out of his vehicle. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the lion slowly rise as the man’s foot came out of the truck. By the time the man’s feet hit the ground, the lion was up and not too happy. Everyone in the vehicles around us were screaming at the guy to get back in his truck which, of course, he did and then the lion lost interest.
Although this was a very intense moment, and things could have gone horribly wrong, I can remember as clear as day James and I putting our cameras down on the roof of the Land Cruiser, turning to each other and saying, “What an idiot! But what a great shot!”