Light quality is critical in order to get an exceptional image – especially when you are photographing static animals and taking portraits. No light is sensually more pleasing than the light of the so-called golden hours.
Golden hours for golden images
There are two golden hours in any sunny day – the first and the last. These are times when the light is warm and soft, and usually when the best photographs are taken. Don’t miss them.
Most things are beautiful in the golden hours. So if the light is exceptional, don’t be picky when it comes to your subject. Photograph whatever is available – be it lion or impala. Don’t discriminate.
Here the light on the lions was softer than the light on the background, because the lions were still in the shadow of a sand dune while the sun was already shining on the far background. When that happens, take a spot reading on the lions, or simply overexpose the image by setting the exposure compensation to +1/3 to +2/3 stops.
How you can take a similar image
Lens: Super telephoto lens.
Settings: Maximum aperture. Medium ISO.
How: If in a game reserve, leave the camp as early as possible, find a subject and catch the first rays of light falling on it.