Lion's share

David Lloyd shares his big break

NPhoto - - Front Page - Keith Wil­son

Born in New Zealand, David Lloyd lives in London and leads pri­vate photo sa­faris to East Africa. A pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher since 2010, he has won nu­mer­ous awards, and his first wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy book

As Long as there are An­i­mals was pub­lished to crit­i­cal ac­claim in 2014. Too see more of David’s work, visit www.davidl­

David Lloyd spot­ted this male lion soon af­ter day­break one morn­ing in late Au­gust, 2009. The lion wasn’t roar­ing or even yawn­ing; in fact, it was sniff­ing the air deeply, and pulling back its lips in an ex­am­ple of the ‘flehmen re­sponse’ – a be­hav­iour com­mon among li­ons which takes place when a lion of ei­ther sex sniffs the air to smell the urine of an­other lion.

The per­fect morn­ing light was ac­com­pa­nied by a head­wind that blew back the lion’s mane, fo­cus­ing at­ten­tion on its gri­mace. To avoid con­fu­sion, David calls this photo Flehmen Re­sponse be­cause, as he says, “that’s ex­actly what it is. I didn’t want peo­ple to think it was yawn­ing. The light was very orange, but it was moody and windy. I was low in the ve­hi­cle and was shoot­ing with my Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 wide open at 400mm, to soften the back­ground.”

When he took this photo, David was a graphic de­signer with hopes of be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher. When he launched his web­site and Face­book Busi­ness page a few months later, this pic­ture be­came one of his most pop­u­lar posts, lead­ing to both print sales and a rapid growth in his so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing.

He re­calls: “It was in the top three lion pic­tures for any­one who searched for ‘lion’ on 500px, so that did a lot for me.” To­day, it con­tin­ues to be one of his best-sell­ing prints.

A roar­ing suc­cess

David’s so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing en­cour­aged him to fol­low his dream and, in 2011, he led his first photo sa­fari to Kenya’s Maa­sai Mara Na­tional Re­serve. “I ad­ver­tised it on Face­book and I sup­pose I had 10,000 or 20,000 fol­low­ers, so it’s just gone from there. There was no In­sta­gram then and that’s do­ing well now too, be­cause it’s eas­ier for peo­ple to ac­cess.”

Now, as the an­nual wilde­beest mi­gra­tion across the great plains of the Mara-Serengeti gets un­der­way, he can re­flect on 56 suc­cess­ful photo sa­faris to this des­ti­na­tion: “I do about 16 a year and they’ve dou­bled in size. I used to take six peo­ple on a trip, but now I do 12 be­cause I have an as­sis­tant.”

As well as the photo sa­faris, David also en­joyed suc­cess with fine art print sales of his images. “Back in 2009 very few peo­ple were do­ing black-and-white wildlife and I hap­pened to be one of them.” David be­lieves he was for­tu­nate to take this pic­ture and launch his new ca­reer at the time he chose. “I was lucky in that I came along when Face­book Busi­ness came along. I grew at a time when you could get a lot of fol­low­ers quite eas­ily.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.