National Wildlife Photographer of the Year

This stunning photograph taken by Michael Nick Nichols has just been named by the Natural History Museum as the Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

It’s a stunning photograph that was described as capturing the essence of lions in time long gone before they were under such threat.

The Vumbi pride in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park are a “formidable and spectacularly co-operative teams”, says Nick.

Nick is a photographic artist and journalist who uses his skills to tell stories about environmental issues and our relationship with wildlife.

His career, much of it with National Geographic, spans more than 35 years and his work has been published in numerous books and magazines.

The black and white photo shows five females at rest with their cubs on a rocky outcrop known as a ‘kopie.’

Shortly before Nick took the shot, the females had attacked and driven off one of the pride’s two males. The pride was comfortable around Nick’s presence as he’d been following them for nearly six months. As he took the picture, the pride were lying close together, calmly sleeping.

Nick parked his vehicle close to the rocky outcrop and framed the vista with the plains beyond with the dramatic late afternoon sky above. The photograph was taken of the lions in infrared which Nick says:

cuts through the dust and haze, transforms the light and turns the moment into something primal, biblical almost.’

The chosen picture of lions in Africa is part flashback, part fantasy. Nick got to know and love the Vumbi pride.

A few months later, he heard they had ventured outside the park and three females had been killed.

This picture was taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 24–70mm f2.8 lens at 32mm; 1/250 sec at f8; ISO 200.

Photo credit: Michael Nick Nichols

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