Photo of the Day: It’s the Mooiste Lion

A study recently revealed that ‘moist’ is the most hated word in the English language. Moist is fine. I like moist. Moist air. Moist cupcakes. Moist is good. ‘Lioness,’ on the other hand… I’m shuddering just writing this…


Because you know I super-hate the word ‘lioness,’ right?

I do love this photo though. It’s one of my favorites of the tiny handful of safari photos I managed to salvage from my broken hard drive. But it also highlights one of the things I don’t like about photography. And that’s the fact that in this moment, I was obviously so preoccupied with photographing this lion, that I have absolutely zero memory of the event. Zero.

My computer tells me it was taken by me, on my Canon camera, on 22 December 2014 at 6:14am in the southern end of Pilanesburg National Park, but that’s all I know. I don’t know how I felt at the time. I don’t know who this lion was or which guests I got to share this with. I can’t relive the thrill or see my guest’s smiling faces.  And to me, that’s sad. Would I rather have this photo, or those memories? Probably the memories, actually.

And that’s what photography can do to us on safari: give us gorgeous images, but leave us without memories. Of course it can also do both, which is definitely the ultimate goal, but it doesn’t always happen. 

Hoofnote: My goodness, there isn’t even ONE blade of grass over her face. How did I ever manage that?

Hoofnote edit: Found it. Blade of grass. Over the mouth.

Hoofnote second edit: ‘Mooiste’ sounds like ‘moist.’ Sort of. And means ‘most beautiful’ in Afrikaans. Love.

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