Our European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is running until 15 January. To celebrate, we talk to photographer Jon Langeland about his wonderful picture, ‘Lion love in the rain’.
Tell us the story behind your photo in this exhibition.
My picture in the exhibition ‘Lion Love in Rain’ was taken in 2011, in Masai Mara during a sudden rain storm. The lions are from the famous Marsh Pride and the male is one of the Notch sons. This photo was taken during the lions’ ‘love week’ when they are mating several times an hour for several days without hunting or eating.
How did you go about getting that shot?
We were several Norwegian photographers in the safari 4 wheel drive at a distance of 40 - 50m the lions. It was raining so heavy when I took the picture that I considered stopping but suddenly I realised that a long exposure time and the heavy rain could give special effects to create some unique pictures.
How long did you have to wait for this shot?
As a wildlife photographer, you always wait or hope to get into special situations that result in unusual opportunities. This was one of them. The only problem was that we were ten photographers in three cars taking the ‘same’ picture. But I have seen very few of the pictures from the others and nothing like this
What would you like people to think about when they see your photograph?
To ‘see’ the beauty of the animals, their surroundings and their interesting behaviour.
To understand that this is something extremely precious and beautiful that we need to take care of.
How did you get started with wildlife photography?
I started photographing when I was 12. Then I spent a lot of time on school, education, sailing and becoming a dermatologist. I photographed all through these years but all sorts of subjects and without passion.
In 2007 at an age of 56, I started more actively to travel and photograph. I got a few nice shots that gave me a lot of feedback. I started to show my pictures on Instagram and was very much inspired.
I still work as a dermatologist, but in the last few years, I spend 50-70 days on travelling to photograph wild animals in their surroundings in Africa, Spitsbergen, St Georgia, India, Galapagos, British Columbia, Patagonia and Borneo.
Recently, I have been travelling less in groups and more by myself to try to figure out some of my own projects, combining a little more with landscapes and working with shorter lenses.
South Georgia was a fantastic place and gave more variations to my photographs.
I am working with a couple of different projects, something more with sea mammals and I would also like to go to places where most other people do not go to photograph.
What are your favourite scenes to photograph?
It is difficult to choose, but the cold places with snow and ice around the animals give beautiful settings.
Most of the time I am out I just think the most amazing place is where I am just then.