If Looks Could Kill: The Story Behind the Most Intense Lion Portrait →

On this day, I was testing a new lens and camera body. When I approached the Lion from the observation area his head was almost completely submerged below the water’s surface. As I raised my camera and composed the shot, Luke simultaneously raised his head out of the water in my direction. As I began to fire off continuous shots the sound of my shutter focused Luke’s attention on me.

Through the lens, I felt his stare; it was powerful enough to make me stop shooting, and for that moment, time seemed to pause and nothing else existed but this massive imposing lion intensely staring back at me as if to my soul.

I truly felt amazed and minuscule by the power of this animal. I watched the rest of his intrigue and facial expression not through my lens, but peering around the side of my camera still holding it as if I were shooting. It was the first time anything has ever made me stop shooting. It was such an unforgettable moment, something I am lucky to have been a part of. I will never forget.