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Why this was chosen as Photograph of the Week

This photograph was chosen because the Elves think it is interesting and worthy of discussion. When participating in the Photograph of the Week forum, please offer a critique of the photo -- address its strengths, its weaknesses. (Read Discussion)

Photographer's Request for Critique

Lion Charge

I have been traveling in the desert of Northern Africa for the past weeks with no internet access, so I found out about this rather late: my charging lion picture was commended in the 2010 Travel Photographer of the Year Awards.

As with most wildlife shots, there was quite a bit of luck involved to get this shot - after all, with wild animals you never know what's going to happen. Most wildlife photographers use long tele lenses to photograph potentially dangerous animals, and that is probably a wise thing to do. However, wide angle shots are often more dynamic, more in your face, so that's what I wanted to try in South Africa with lions. I used a radio controlled remote and shot from a handheld monopod, turned upside down, without getting out of the car. It's my secret (well, not anymore) technique to get low level perspective shots with wide angle lenses, while remaining flexible and without running the risk of getting eaten. This male lion did not appreciate the clicks coming from the grass very much, and decided to charge the D3. I guess he was more the Canon type. :-)

Greetings from the Sahara.

[If you would like to join me on one of my workshops and photo tours, please have a look at my website]


ML M , December 23, 2010; 07:54 A.M.

Wow!  Nothing more to add...  Just Wow!

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as you travel.  Thanks for sharing this with us... Mike

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Stoica Daniel , December 23, 2010; 08:09 A.M.

WOW again! I'm stuck to say more...

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LaMar Horton , December 23, 2010; 09:32 A.M.

great photo from an angle that is pretty rarely seen. Very cool is your innovative method of getting this type of picture. He just comes right into your room. really amazing shot.

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Christal Steele , December 23, 2010; 09:39 A.M.


Amazing, and thanks for your descriptive technique in getting the shot!  It's funny that 2 of the comments above used the word 'WOW'.  I hardly ever use that word because it tends to be overused, but this image deserves an unqualified WOW!!!  I will definitely be checking out your website for your workshops. 

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scott donnellan , December 23, 2010; 02:22 P.M.

scott donnellan

Great shot! I bet that was a 3 pamper moment.

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Art X , December 23, 2010; 02:46 P.M.

every now and then an image comes along that makes you simply marvel and admire it for everything it represents in photography. I have to say this image is exactly that for me. Simply brilliant Marsel.

I like your 'secret' technique too. I suppose we can't all be Nikon lovers, but I can easily forgive him for that. But only ...just:)

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Marc Epstein , December 23, 2010; 03:05 P.M.

I'll through in a well deserved "Wow!".  A great shot and glad your technique did not feed the lion.

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Ali Rezaeian , December 23, 2010; 04:07 P.M.

10 !

First Class Wild Life Shot of This Scream !!!



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Bill J Boyd , December 23, 2010; 04:17 P.M.

Another WOW!  This is stunning.  Probably the best lion shot I have ever seen.  

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Nelson Sibulo , December 23, 2010; 04:22 P.M.

Lion Charge

Lion looks very determine to strike. Marsel, make sure you have a built in safety cage for your protection, just in case...The best picture of an angry lion I have seen in years.  Congrats..

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wim puts , December 23, 2010; 05:31 P.M.


Top foto.

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JOSE BRENER , December 23, 2010; 05:45 P.M.

Exelent shot felicidades saludos de Mexico

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Michel Latendresse , December 23, 2010; 08:36 P.M.

Quite an amazing shot indeed, a well deserved accolade on this one for sure, and  great tip (the inverted monopod) to try out not only on "potentially lethal subjects" but on others as well. I will definitely borrow this one from you.   Congratulations on a fantastic shot and a well deserved award.  Regards- michel 

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Gary Loveless , December 24, 2010; 02:13 A.M.

Wow, this is soooo amazing!! Congratulations! Best Regards ~ Gary

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Scott Murphy , December 24, 2010; 02:51 A.M.

I sure as hell hope hope you were using a very LONG LENS!

Amazing shot!


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Juergen Bub , December 24, 2010; 09:38 A.M.

Fascinating and unique ... congratulations!

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Gary Payne , December 24, 2010; 11:50 A.M.


As others have said, WOW.  I don't think I could pull this off even using your secret technique - I would be rolling up the car window!!

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Etay Appelberg , December 24, 2010; 02:43 P.M.

Wow, Excellent shot

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Andrea Gonzales , December 24, 2010; 02:49 P.M.


I can't even begin to imagine how it felt to get this shot. Nice!

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Sreehari Sundararajan , December 24, 2010; 08:16 P.M.

Wow..!!!! Spectacular shot... Incredible..!!!!

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C. G. , December 24, 2010; 09:54 P.M.

Hot damn, this one gives me chills!

Great shot!


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John H. , December 24, 2010; 10:08 P.M.

7 all the way!

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Stephen Penland , December 25, 2010; 12:13 A.M.

It's not often we get to see a genuinely angry lion at close range -- it's an unique view.  Congrats on the award -- well deserved.

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Marc Aubry , December 25, 2010; 10:35 A.M.

Nothing to say anymore! Excellent!!

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James (Jim) Johnson , December 25, 2010; 10:38 A.M.

Congrats on the award for a deserving photograph! WOW! Nice technique too, and thanks for sharing with us.

Exceptional capture! The last fellow I knew that got a shot like this, isn't around to talk about it anymore! (Not really!)

Happy traveling,

Jim j.

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Steve Shinn , December 25, 2010; 02:03 P.M.

An excellent image Marsel,  and the story line makes it even more interesting.  I've used remotes but not in Africa.  When I have a Nikon to feed to the lions I'll give you a call.. :-)

Your modesty in stating that luck is so much a part of wildlife photography, right up there with patience, demonstrates your honest  professionalism. 

The sky with clouds, the wide angle and pov and the light on the contemptuous kitty make the such a wonderful shot.  Congratulations on a well deserved award.

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Martyn Fox , December 25, 2010; 06:06 P.M.

Wow, awsome.

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Erik Thomson , December 25, 2010; 08:06 P.M.

Fantastic shot, and all of the above comments.  The wide angle perspective makes this shot really stand out and grabs the attention. Regards, Erik

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Pulok Pattanayak , December 25, 2010; 08:17 P.M.

One of the best wildlife shots I have ever seen!

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Wendy de Kok , December 26, 2010; 03:48 A.M.

Amazing wild-life shot, one to be very pround of :)

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Neil Jolly , December 26, 2010; 11:16 A.M.

A truly fantastic wildlife shot Marsel! An innovative technique carefully applied goes a long way. A superb image well desering of an award. Well done man!

All the best of the Season to you,

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Dallas Palmer , December 28, 2010; 09:46 A.M.

One of the most amazing images I have ever seen. I was taught a long time ago to use imagination and just keep shooting and luck woill find its way into your viewfinder: you have certainly achieved that!

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Kelly Way , December 28, 2010; 11:41 A.M.


The best scariest lion photo I have ever spilled my coffee from. Thanks for the wonderful moment! ps. Most canon users I know look like this when there is a D3 nearby...

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Gonzalo Ruiz-Esquide , December 28, 2010; 12:17 P.M.

thank you

of course, everybody knows this is a great image in every sense... great colors, exposure balance between fore and background, point of view, dramatism.... etc. but by sharing your technique with us, and the reasons to use it, you are giving us material to reflect and improve our own pictures, regardless they may or may not be about dangerous wild animals. thanks again.

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Gallego Caldas Jordi , December 29, 2010; 12:24 P.M.


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Luc Helie , January 02, 2011; 11:57 A.M.

Breathtaking shot ! Excellent !!! Are you still alive ?!? ;o)

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John DiLeo , January 05, 2011; 07:11 P.M.

man o man! That's amazing. ONe of the best wildlife shots I've ever seen. That is scary!


Did he eat the D3?

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David Stephens , January 06, 2011; 11:43 A.M.

I think that this image isn't about luck, it's about preparation, innovation and execution. If there were only one great image, then it might be luck, but Marsel's whole portfolio demonstrates unique perspectives and innovative technique. He knew that he couldn't simply lay in the grass and wait for a male lion to come by, perturb the lion, take a few shots with his wide angle lens and walk away unscathed. Still, he wanted the shot and came up with a method to get it.


Being only  a relative noob at wildlife photography, I'm certain that a lot of persistence went into this shot. Knowing the target animals' likely behaviour, daily meandering habits, setting up for good light all went into this shot. Even with my own mundane shots, people will say things like, "You were really lucky to get that" not giving me any credit for arriving at dawn, three days in a row and sitting in my mini-blind for hours at a time, waiting on a bird or animal to come by and do its "normal" behaviour.


Yes, you keep trying and trying and then you get "lucky." I think that anyone attributing this stunning image to luck, has never really tried to create something special themselves.


I hope this image receives many awards and makes Marsel a very happy man.

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David W. Good , January 06, 2011; 02:42 P.M.

Uhh.. Marsel????

Ok - so there was heavy metal between you and those chompers right? I was wondering why I hadn't seen you for a while. I thought someone found your camera and this shot was inside with you nowhere to be seen.

Your technique is remarkable. I see now that I was right to idolize you after seeing what you could do with filters and now this!

So - how does one critique an image as emotionally powerful as this? Even if there were technical issues to be found, the subject material would more than make up for it.

For the lack of anything really creative or constructive to say, I'll end by stating, "it would have been nice if you could have gotten better catch lights in the kitty's eyes. They are rather dark and mean looking."

From one Nikonian to another - Bravo!!! I am truly in awe of your talents.


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Ian Wyatt , January 15, 2011; 05:33 A.M.

Awesome photo, I can feel his breath 

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Juan Fernando Mora Muñoz , January 25, 2011; 01:58 P.M.

Über Wow

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Chuck Nelson , January 26, 2011; 12:06 P.M.

Over the top!!!

When I first saw this image I thought someone must have found your camera along side your remains. After reading your technique, I am happy to know you are still alive! This is one of the most amazing photos I've ever seen. I'm glad that you didn't post it larger. I'd probably have peed myself.

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Micky Metts , February 11, 2011; 04:03 P.M.


What a beautiful animal, you have captured the mood!

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Steve Shepard , February 11, 2011; 09:44 P.M.

Steve S.

OH, YEAH! Thank you! This is definitely one of my favorites. First thought: INCREDIBLE! Second thought: Hope he was using a telephoto lens. Third thought: This would be the photo to accompany the phrase, "SHUT THE **** UP!" to an obnoxious person in a chat room, Facebook, etc.

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David Ramos , February 24, 2011; 02:31 P.M.


Amazing shot i would just change the title to...

Run...  ;)

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M Manswan , February 27, 2011; 08:53 A.M.

M Manswan

Great shot.This is best.Wonderful!!!

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Gail Harmer , March 10, 2011; 06:18 A.M.

I just recently saw this photo in a magazine I had just purchased and knew it was your right away.  Magnificent image of such a magnificent creature. warmest regards, GAil

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Lars-Petter Bjørnstad , May 10, 2011; 11:12 A.M.


This photo is amazing! Can't belive how you got that perfekt shot.

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mark miller , June 14, 2011; 11:31 A.M.

Very, very nice! I like that wide angle impact with such stunning subject matter.

 I'd embellish the story though, you know, out in the wilds on foot with a whip in one hand, and a camera in the other,,, :)

Just superb!


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Sergey Fedoseev , June 18, 2011; 09:11 A.M.

Amazing shot! Congratulations! )))

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Urs Blickenstorfer , July 22, 2011; 07:32 A.M.

Simply fantastic!!

Weehaaaa! This is simply fantastic - one of the best wild life shots I've ever seen. 7.

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Borut Jurjovec , August 21, 2011; 12:27 P.M.

White and Clean

Who is lions dentist. Four teeth left needs cleaning. He will bite you, but he won' t chew you.

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Ciprian I Pacurar , October 08, 2011; 03:06 A.M.

Glad to see this from behind my computer screen. Otherwise, I'd be running like Speedy Gonzales...

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Sonny Limmunandar , November 28, 2011; 08:21 P.M.

Sangat-sangat luar biasa, saya sangat terkesan ketika melihat foto ini. Hanya satu kata " SEMPURNA" Salam kenal

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Paul Greenwood , June 15, 2013; 12:21 P.M.

You certainly have the result here but i question the method. The drama of wide angle is not seen, rather see a tele with background doffed out. Sorry but sitting safe in a car really loses the essence of the portrayal here....

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Luis Modesti , July 14, 2013; 09:54 A.M.

to Paul Greenwood

Paul, Would you have gotten out of the car to take this shot. ? , Probably not, Would you have known if he didn't tell you the secret. ? probably not... I think he has an award shot, and you proably not... Either way, the method does not matter if you have a result.
Fantastic Shot Marsel !!!!!!!

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