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Photo Information
Copyright: Rob Nicholls (nixpix) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 67 W: 26 N: 121] (444)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-11-29
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/100 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): 5 favs. and up - PART 2, Kruger National Park 1, Outstanding [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-04-21 8:55
Viewed: 9107
Favorites: 13 [view]
Points: 98
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
While travelling in the Kruger Park, just North of Letaba Rest Camp (on the S47 road), during November 2005, my family and I chanced upon an amazing spectacle. Thirteen lions chased this old male buffalo onto the road and attacked him there.

We witnessed how they attacked in waves exhausting him and eventually wearing him down. The most remarkable thing was that the whole incident took place either on or so close to the road. While they swung to and fro from one side to the other they were almost constantly in sight. Just a few metres from the road they would have been swallowed up by the dense mopani bush.

It is indeed bizarre that having lived in Southern Africa for most of my life and spending so many days in the bush, I now return on a visit to witness such an amazing incident. I had set out that morning without much faith that this road would deliver any great sightings. It was more a nostalgia drive as it held special memories from my childhood years of visiting the Kruger Park with my parents. I know my Dad always loved this road and we drove it often together.

From a photographic point of view I have no information to share other than what is in the technical detail. When you chance upon something like this you try to point it in the right direction and just shoot as much as you can and hope something will go right. The light was poor, I was driving and I my heart was in my mouth. This image is one from a sequence of over 400 taken.

valy67, ddg, pitai, goutham_ramesh, marhowie, satish_h, navnith, pvs, euryan, liquidsunshine, MojoUK, jeanpaul, bartove, fotobram, peter_stoeckl, Nephrotome2, Luc, flagman, rust01, viv, Leace, coasties, Antarctic, ramthakur, goldyrs has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Wow, what a great action shot ! You were so lucky to witness such an intense scene ! Simply fantastic ! And technically very good, with nice sharp details, good composition and great colors. Very well done !

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2006-04-21 9:22]

Well caught Rob, this is an amazing capture of Lion's attack!! Composition and colors are perfect. In my favorit list. Great shot, congratulations, Didier.

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  • pitai Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 193 W: 15 N: 155] (1212)
  • [2006-04-21 9:43]

Hello amazing record you got here. Just an intense an unique moment of life an dead. It looks like some lions where watching you too! Well done, Gabriel

Hi Rob,
A Great contribution to TN Community!!!. I like the picture a lot, as it is a story telling picture. I hope you would have shot the lions feeding also, if yes when are you going to post it, waiting for it :-).
On the pic, its crisp, composition is excellent and you have done very well on the exposure front also.
Goutham R

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  • Dan Gold Star Critiquer [C: 113 W: 0 N: 2] (18)
  • [2006-04-21 10:13]

Well done Rob! Amazing! I always admired the power and force of bufalos. In your photo I can see how small are lions in comparison with bufalo. A pity that a so stately creature must die sometime. If you had time to take over 400 images, I'm sure that it was dignified die. Congratulations for this great shot! Dan.

hi rob,
great moment captured.good timing.the colours and the details are nice. i also liked the look in the eye of the lion on the right(looking directly at you). good POV and compo. blurred BG is highlighting your subject and your informative note is enlightening me:)
thank you for sharing.

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  • fkk (4)
  • [2006-04-21 10:29]

Merhaba Rob;
wooow super action shot, wonderfull capture

hep böyle anlari belgesel programlarindan izlerdim ama burada fotografini görünce daha da heyecanlandim ani yakalamak adina harika bir zamanlama tebrikler Rob


Hi Rob,
WOW, This is awesome!!
You have captured the moment here Very Well.
This is one of a kind - one to proud of.
The Real Deal!
Man, I wish it was mine :)

G'day Rob. When you come across action like this you are in ore of the event, yousually remembering the camera when its all too late. Well done in not just capturing the incedent but how its captured. The expression on the water buffalo is of lost hope!
Thanks for sharing

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  • Aramok Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 896 W: 101 N: 1501] (5166)
  • [2006-04-21 10:52]

fantastic - you were so, so lucky to be there at the right time. Excellent composition and exposure.

I hope you can post a sequence of the timeline of the attack from the set of shots you got, over the next few days.



Hello Rob.
This is nothing less than what I see in NG. fantastic picture. Most tragic for the Buffalo. The picture speaks volumes. Very good capture. Out of 400! wow!

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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-04-21 11:44]

WOW !!!
That must be an experience of a lifetime, even for a resident of South Africa. What an amazing scene.
This is an excellent capture, especially considering the circumstances. I totally understand about pointing and shooting, and hoping for the best.
Well, you did a fantastic job, Rob. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible shot. : )

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  • loon (23)
  • [2006-04-21 11:47]

Wow what a shot...amazing.
This looks like a shot for the National Geographic magazine.

Hi Rob,
An amaziong action photo.I have visited Kruger several times but was not lucky as you were.I have seen several old male buffaloes with tail or ears cut roaming alone.I used to wonder why they do not join the herd and get the protection.Your capture is great with good composition,colours and DOF.
Congrats and TFS

That is quite a shot, at 150mm you were not very far away..not sure I could have held on the the camera. Well done.

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  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2006-04-21 14:09]

Hi rob,

an awesome composition you show us,can understand that you took about 400 pictures of this event,dont think many of us will ever experience this in nature,well done and TFS


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  • TPAKT Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 97 W: 21 N: 20] (89)
  • [2006-04-21 14:21]

Privet Rob.
Two lions on the right hungry eyes look at the photographer:-)). Seldom such you will see, and you also have photographed!! Life a terrible piece.

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  • thor68 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 795 W: 138 N: 1319] (5674)
  • [2006-04-21 14:34]

life and death in nature...
excellent capture, rob! :-)
a lot of "action" going on,
many nice details, superbly composed.
guess you were very lucky to witness this.
well seen & done, thor.

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  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2006-04-21 14:52]
  • [2]

Hi Rob
Indeed this is not a unique scene, but it is one seen by only a handful of people in real live. You were most fortunate to have witnessed and captured this.
You also managed to keep your head and shoot a lovely photo to show & share. I know how the adrenaline can flow in such a situation and afterwards you normally have many "What if's" or "Why didn't I".
It almost looks like the buffalo (who could kill you in a moment under the correct circumstances) are pleading from you to save him and the lions on the right are saying, "Don't you dare come closer!"
Technically this action filled shot is of high quality. Composition, POV, colours, DOF, and exposure are all outstanding.
Very good work and TFS.

Hello Rob,
Poor buffalo, but this is an amazing action shot, is not frequent see that kind of images.
Details, colours, exposure, moment are outstandings

I've been staring at this for about 5 minutes now in utter amazement. The amount of drama you've captured in this one photo is remarkable, but if that weren't enough this photo is also sharp as a tack, has great composition, perfect overcast lighting, and perfect exposure. Not only can I not find a thing wrong with this picture, I can't think of anything that would improve it.
Thanks for sharing with us the best photo I've seen yet on this site.

What a fantastic capture Rob,
Good detail, colours and sharpness. exposure and lighting are good. Good POV, notes and framing.
This must have been an amazing scene to witness. If I had room in my favourites, this would be straight in there. Brilliant.
Thanks for posting, have a great weekend.

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  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-04-22 3:28]

Bonjour Rob!

Félicitations pour cette capture.

Merci pour l'envoie.


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  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-04-22 3:57]

Hi Rob,
You can work at National Geographic! Very good shot. The only thing not perfect in this exceptional shot is that two lions and the buffalo are looking you.
Good job!!!
José M.

Hi Rob. Fantastic shot of one of natures specticals. Not a good moment for the Buffalo but it will give the pride of Lions a good feed. I like the way you have judged the timing and got the Lioness on the Buffalos back. TFS.

Regards, Mark.

Bonjour Rob
Excellent Prise de vue et très jolie composition aini que les détails. Merci pour le partage avec cette scène assez spéciale.
Au revoir et merci....JP

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  • BHo Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 22 W: 0 N: 20] (99)
  • [2006-04-23 13:53]

Wow! That must have been an interesting sight to see. The lion on the buffalo's back is simply incredible. Great capture, Rob. Wish I was there..


Great moment captured. Thank you for sharing.


A very Legendary sighting indeed. The image is sharp and detailed and displays enough detail. TFS,


Wonderful capture Rob!!! in the rigth moment, I've never been so lucky!!! well done!

Fascinating shot. Maybe it's not by chance it all happened so close to you. Could it be that the buffalo saw you as a last chance? Like either the lioness's would have seen you as a danger or as a easier prey. This one shot shows so well your all story: how the lioness's share the work to get down someone much bigger. Some resting while other attacking. The exhaustion of the buffalo, too. How to charge now, with 4 lioness's attached to your back? I wish I could see the all 400 pics, really. Wish I could give you 400 smily's for that one pic. :)


You were indeed very fortunate, Rob! I also wish it was my picture, but you know, even if I could only see it with my own eyes without taking pictures I would be happy. The picture you posted is fantastic. Very well done. And yes, at times likes this it is a pity that one can only award 0, 1 or 2 points. This deserves more.


Strange. The buffalo just seems to stand there like he is posing for you. He does not seem interested in the lions at all ? It is an amazing scene, indeed.

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  • riaanm (53)
  • [2006-04-26 15:25]

Rob, great shot, some situations just don't need any rules of composition, exposure, good light etc. This moment is one of them, you could have messed up everything and it would still be a shot worth while sharing, but you didn't make a mess of it, again great shot. Riaan

Hi Robert,
that picture makes me speechless. An amazing document, excellently taken, and perfectly chosen from a wisely decided "shooting as much as you can" series. Postwork: The photographer's name could be moved more to the left to avoid touching the lioness's foot.
Great contribution. Thank you!
Best regards, Peter

Definitely a national geographic moment. This is an awesome shot and I like everything about it. Well done Rob. :)

You are really lucky to get that kind of action nearby to take photo's.

You usually see it on the TV but to see it in real life in front of you are totally something else.

Great Photo!

Excellent photo of this incredible scene! What are the odds to capture a moment like this? Almost zero! You've managed to do it in a great way! Simple and wonderful composition and great POV! The colors are bright and natural and sharpness is spot-on! You managed to capture a very "nice" moment! Great job! Congratulations! TFS!


Hi Rob,
A Great contribution to TN. Great shot.


This scene happens hundreds of times every day, I expect but humans are not nearby to witness it. You were very lucky to bo in the right place at the right time!
Excellent quality photo and interesting note!

Eu imagino a emoção neste dia. Realmente um evento assustador devido a situação de morte e sobrevivência.
Capturaste as expressões dos olhares de ambos os lados em relação a tua presença,pois tanto o ruminante quanto aquela leoa à direita te olhavam. Incrível!!!
Parabéns pela magnífica foto!!!

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-01-20 15:26]

What an adventure!! I believe your heart was in your mouth. And then such an amazing photo.
I think I forget my camera and should stare with open mouth. You made 400 photo's. I would like them all.
And the photo is so perfect!!

A jealous Peter

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-01-20 23:31]

Hello Rob

I am overwhelmed by this capture.I feel like I am witness to this event.The haunting look in the buffalo's eyes is heartwrenching.Could it be beckoning to you or anyone for help,as the odds are not in his favour.The lioness on the back is intense.This photo evokes emotion and awe.It is superb.TFS


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  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2007-01-28 8:01]

Wow, what a shot! This is one of the most spectacular wildlife shots I have ever seen on TN. You were so lucky to witness this scene. Well done & TFS.


A great shot of a timeless drama. The lioness on top is captured in a truly daring and deadly moment of nature.

amazing and sad pic, TFS Ori

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  • Sayre Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 44 W: 2 N: 30] (164)
  • [2007-10-06 19:45]

What a truly incredible capture! Excellent POV and composition. The colors are good, detail is clear, I love how you made it a panoramic. This is just such an excellent shot!
TFS Steph

Hi Rob

Wow... this really is nature in full force. You and your family were very fortunate. Congrats on a wonderful image.

Hello Rob,
You dropped out of TN in January 2007.
You posted about a dozen images on TN and then stopped.
What a pity a photographer of your calibre lost interest in this site!
Never mind.
I am here to add my wee bit to this stunning image you posted more than two years ago.
I am with all the rest; this picture would make NG envious of you.
As for the image, this kind of action is seen only once in a lifetime.
You were lucky to capture it and we were lucky to see it on TN.
Many thanks.
Come back!!!

  • dmark11 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 9 N: 655] (2633)
  • [2011-01-02 9:34]

Hi Rob,
What a capture by both you and the Lions. Its quite a moment in time. It looks like the lions are quite relaxed and taking turns on the Buffalo. Really kind of horrible but great picture.

Stunning shot!!! I love the perfection of technique and timing! Very well done, Rob!

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