Working as a wildlife photographer seems like the perfect job. You’re always on an adventure, one with nature, tracking and capturing beautiful photographs of majestic creatures.
Well, 69-year-old wildlife photographer Gren Sowerby from Whitley Bay in Northumberland is living the dream, taking pictures of animals, landscapes, and people in Kenya, Tanzania, Crete, and the United Kingdom. Sowerby’s name recently went viral on the internet because of a burst of photos he took, showing a lion yawning and then smiling and winking at the photographer. The photos are absolutely stunning, so it’s no wonder they captured nearly everyone’s attention.
Scroll down for Sowerby’s interviews with Bored Panda, as well as with SWNS!
Sowerby told Sophie Finnegan from SWNS that he got the shock of his life as he leaned in to take a photo and the lion let out “a huge roar.”
“He roared to say: ‘I’m the King of the Jungle’ and then I couldn’t believe it when he smiled at me like when someone winks at you to say like: ‘Haha!’”
“I was probably 10-15 meters away and he was with a lioness, she was crossing a stream. They had a kill in the bushes and I think he let out a roar probably to say that he was full!” Sowerby told SWNS. “I was taken aback by the sheer size and scale of him. From him being very still and quiet then for him to let out a big boom was quite something.”
Sowerby has been a photographer for over 37 years!
The photo shoot happened last month in Maasai Mara, Kenya. “I was really happy with the photos, I only looked at them properly when I got home. I regularly go on these safaris and really enjoy photographing wildlife. They have grown up around the safari so they’re used to cars and tourists.”
“The King of the Jungle is always something you’ve got to capture and I’m so pleased I got the shot,” Sowerby added.
The photographer has spent the last 37+ years taking pictures of wildlife, landscapes, portraits, as well as live music. Though he started out with a 35mm film camera, he switched over to digital photography back in 2003.
When contacted by Bored Panda, the photographer revealed more about photographing lions and other wildlife, as well as about what inspires him to keep taking pictures.
“The first thing you need is a good tracker for lions I use a Maasai guide called Ntimama Mpoe. His local knowledge in the Maasai Mara is amazing,” Sowerby said. “The time of day is important too, they’re much more active early in the morning and evening when they hunt. During the daytime, you will get a sleepy cat! Keep very quiet and try not to disturb them. Give them space and have lots of patience.”
“I started 40 years ago photographing my daughter and I got the bug. It has stayed with me all this time and it’s the thought of getting better images that keeps me going,” the photographer revealed how his love for the art first started. “The new technology is part of it, but mainly it’s to get the perfect image of your subject that makes you happiest.”
What’s more, Sowerby told Bored Panda more details about the lion photo shoot and talked about he maintains his passion for photography. “He had just fed on a kill and was with his lioness. They both went for a drink at the stream, separately, before resting up.”
“The excitement is always there in Africa, so when you approach a pride or something that you are looking for then it all kicks in just like it always has. It’s hard to explain the feeling, as you are excited but at the same time you are trying to concentrate on camera settings and composition!”
“It’s easy to miss a shot in the excitement, just act calm and hopefully it will all come good when you look back through your images!”
Shelby Bercume, a hobbyist animal expert, shared some intriguing lion facts with Bored Panda. Let us know if you’ve heard these ones before and if you know any other awesome facts, dear Pandas.
“Did you know that female lions do all the hunting? They typically live in a group called a pride with one male and they are responsible for feeding the group,” Shelby said.
She continued: “Lions also have the loudest roar and can be heard around 5 miles away. Also, male lions’ manes not only protect their necks but attract their female counterparts.”