Madison Indiana Photography

“Elder Statesman” A B&W Lion Portrait

Took my son and one of his friends to the zoo not long ago, and of course my camera as well, it was basically just a walk around and take family pictures day. As I moved thru the zoo I came across this old regal lion, he was pretty far away and I didn’t have a telephoto lens that I thought was good enough to get a good shot with, so I grabbed a couple images and moved on.

When I got home and opened the files, I wasn’t really hot or cold on the image so I put it away and forgot about it. Today after finishing my chores I got back on the computer and was looking for shots of my son and came across this and decided to play around with it, the light was really bad at the zoo and it was very humid as well, not a good combination of elements for outdoor photography. As I took a second look at this image things started to look a little different to me, after cropping a lot of the image around the lion’s head and concentrating on his profile his true character began to develop.

He definitely had a lot of age on him which I tried to convey thru a b&w conversion and a shot of levels adjustment to darken the lines in his face a bit, I then went into the exposures tool and brought the grays out in his mane and fur, a little sharpening( maybe too much) and this was the result.

This is definitely one of those images you have to be careful with, you never know till you really sit down and have a look, as too whether or not if it will come out to you’re liking.

BTW I shot this with my 70- 300 mm Tamaron 5.6 lens (a very versatile lens) shot at f- 5.6 , 1/400, iso 500.



September 7, 2007 - Posted by | art, B&W, blogging, image, images, life, nature, outdoors, photoblog, photographer, photography, photos, pictures, portrait, random, thoughts, travel, zoo


  1. You were able to take this photo and pull the best out of it for sure! Bravo!

    Comment by mon@rch | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  2. It’s great, but, IMHO, I’d love to see more in his eyes but what the hell do i know. Ron.

    P.S. I think I was in your neck of the woods yesterday.

    Comment by rtd13 | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  3. I think you know a lot, and I actually agree with you, but it didn’t work out like I had hoped, you know it goes.

    BTW…Where were you at?

    Comment by Bernie Kasper | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  4. Thanks and yes, believe me, I do know how it goes, sometimes it’s like the movie A Bridge Too Far keeps playing. 🙂

    I watched the Reds beat my Mets at the Great American Ballpark where it was 100 degrees and I was scarfing down some Skyline Chili dogs while I was on my way to Orlando.

    Last minute trip. Ron

    Comment by rtd13 | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  5. I think some B&Ws look great with extra sharpening especially on a subject like this. It just adds to the character.

    I know the feeling on not being sure or not whether I love a pic or not. Sometimes I jump the gun and trash them too quick maybe.

    I love your treatment of this subject and a very good pick for B&W.

    Comment by paintingartist | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  6. His face is almost in relief, but the ends of his fur are electric.

    Comment by Jim | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  7. Great picture, it is a study in age. What are his thoughts?

    Comment by Brian | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  8. wow, this is an amazing shot Bernie! very nice work on the conversion and post processing. you have really brought out the age and expression on his face, beautifully.

    Comment by ankush | September 8, 2007 | Reply

  9. To me, that’s a very moving image, and what more can you ask from a photograph? I’ve seen that same look on wise, old men.

    Comment by montucky | September 8, 2007 | Reply

  10. What a majestic picture – you have done something special here Bernie, you have captured the essence of this grand old man!

    Comment by truddle | September 8, 2007 | Reply

  11. I have good news and bad news; the bad news first, if you were attempting elderly then (for me anyway) it didn’t really work so the title feels all wrong. I’m not sure why but this guy did look stately but not old to me. What the heck however, does an American chick know about the king of the Savannah? Maybe the good news will explain the bad news however I did think that this was a rugged, handsome and very sexy photograph. (p.s. I loved how the eyes turned out – maybe fate was kind to you by not allowing you to alter them too much?)

    Comment by aullori | September 8, 2007 | Reply

  12. The black and white works really well for this image! Great job!

    Comment by kml | September 8, 2007 | Reply

  13. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, great critique Lori, but I would have never thought of him as sexy.

    Comment by Bernie Kasper | September 9, 2007 | Reply

  14. The lion looks like he’s thinking about the fact that he’s getting old and some part of his body hurts. Or maybe I’m just projecting. No. I think it’s him.

    Comment by davidlind | September 10, 2007 | Reply

  15. Nice portrait captured on the Lion, excellent tones in B&W.

    He gives a kind of aura, fierce yet in command. Seems like he is from the Chronicles of Narnia !

    Comment by JH | August 4, 2008 | Reply

  16. It’s wonderful! I adored…
    I published this photograph on my photo blog. I wrote your website address. Actually I improve my English in these days. If I can not tell about your photograph that I am sorry.

    Comment by Bahar Atakan | July 6, 2009 | Reply

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