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Toned Monochrome Lion, Ngorongoro Crater

Photographed by the edge of a vehicle track in Ngorongoro Crater,  this male was part of a pride of about a dozen lions,  including several cubs,  which sat and lay about unconcerned by the presence of several safari vehicles.   Lions generally hunt at night using the cover of darkness to stalk prey and tend to be fairly lethargic,  conserving energy,  during the day.   In Ngorongoro Crater,  the grass on the floor of the crater was quite short and so sighting lions was reasonably easy,  whereas in some other regions,  such as the Serengeti,  the grass was longer and lions could easily conceal themselves even during daylight.

Toned lion
Toned lion

This photograph was taken late morning in late June,  2008,  using a Canon 5D DSLR with a 500mm lens at F4.0,  shutter speed of 1/500 second,  and ISO 400.   The image is presented here without cropping.

Having looked at the image in colour,  I decided to do a black and white conversion in Photoshop CS3 and then give a toning effect.    Although due to the wide aperture used there is a selective focus to the lion and out of focus background,  I decided to exaggerate that effect by selectively sharpening the lion and selectively blurring the background further.    Finally I introduced a subtle vignette effect to draw the viewer's eye to the central subject.

This is an effect that I enjoy and so decided to use it on several of the lion images and present them as a themed set.