Going face to face with a lioness
March 15, 2012 5:43 AM   Subscribe

National Geographic photographer Mattias Klum talks about having a face to face run in with an endangered Asiatic lioness while shooting in the wild.

His galleries are nothing short of amazing and also well worth checking out:

Raja Ampat
GalapagosBorneoMountain GorillasIceland
posted by quin (29 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
How wonderful - and not what I expected from his set-up of the situation!
posted by leslies at 5:51 AM on March 15, 2012

I like him. Genuinely, from that video and his photographs, I can say that I like him. That's also a pretty great sensation. Brightened my morning.
posted by lydhre at 6:11 AM on March 15, 2012 [8 favorites]

Amazing story.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:17 AM on March 15, 2012

Oh, my goodness. Thanks for posting this. I'm so happy for him.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:30 AM on March 15, 2012

He's the kind of guy I'd love to have at a party (assuming he would roll around on the floor in the same illustrative manner).
posted by Mooseli at 6:43 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aww. There's something about NatGeo photographers and big old pussy cats -- err, pinnipeds.
posted by maudlin at 7:05 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:16 AM on March 15, 2012

I have been told that the term "Asiatic" was pejorative, by no less than the King of The Asshole Racists, my father, who spent a couple of wars in Asia and has a particular and intense dislike for certain varieties of southeast Asians, as well as a proportionate love and admiration for others. Which may give him a certain qualification of sorts.

Just sayin.
posted by Xoebe at 7:19 AM on March 15, 2012

Had I been there, and not a world-class photographer, trained & motivated to wait through anything for the right snap, I would have been tempted to mimic: roll over and imitate her play/comfort/non-aggression gesture.

Although the puddle of pee around me might have discouraged me some...
posted by IAmBroom at 7:32 AM on March 15, 2012

This is just splendid. My eye makeup is ruined, but what a lovely story! And his photographs? Just excellent. The thing I find most mind-blowing about his work is that for every beautiful and amazing photo, he was present to view the scene in person. No wonder he feels blessed. I feel blessed just to see it and hear about it.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 7:41 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

This made me cry. Hard. Because so many beautiful, irreplaceable creatures are being displaced, reduced, eradicated by man. And I'm not convinced that we are the superior species. Not by a long shot.

Great story. Thanks for posting this.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:48 AM on March 15, 2012

Fantastic story. Thanks so much for posting it!
posted by zarq at 7:56 AM on March 15, 2012

That was nice, short, and sweet.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:24 AM on March 15, 2012

That was so wonderful - thanks so much for posting.
posted by rtha at 8:31 AM on March 15, 2012

Reminds me of the leopard seal segment from NatGeo/Radiolab
posted by MangyCarface at 8:43 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mattias Klum comes across as an incredibly charming, sincere person. As lydhre says, very likeable, but also a great speaker (and performer, nearly) who explained his experience with immense lucidity. it may be the closest I'll ever come to meeting a lioness in the wild, but he brought it as close to his audience as he could.
posted by supermedusa at 9:07 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

*Jaw Drops*
posted by birdhaus at 9:29 AM on March 15, 2012

Incredible story supplemented by some incredible photos. Thanks so much for sharing this. As a photographer who has been unexpectedly approached by (much less dangerous) wildlife, I really admire his calm and determination to stand his ground. Honestly, I probably would have bolted and ended up lion food.
posted by geeky at 9:33 AM on March 15, 2012

Mattias Klum is my new crush and hero. Great story and thanks for posting.
posted by Isadorady at 10:02 AM on March 15, 2012

I didn't know there was such a thing as an asiatic lion! Or Mattias Klum!
posted by Mister_A at 10:35 AM on March 15, 2012

I am fans of both now!
posted by Mister_A at 10:40 AM on March 15, 2012

That's how you shoot an animal that can eat you. Overcome your fear, respect your surroundings and the situation, and odds are, you'll be rewarded with a rare opportunity to interact with another creature on this planet.
posted by Chuffy at 12:12 PM on March 15, 2012

Lovely. Thank you.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:38 PM on March 15, 2012

I loved his statement that to do what he does, you have to be modest (in yourself and in your environment). I'm so impressed that he had the control to survive that situation.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 3:27 PM on March 15, 2012

You're a Kitty!
posted by misha at 4:21 PM on March 15, 2012

A million years ago I lived in Zimbabwe. Ok it was in 1987, but it feels like a million years. Anyway, I stayed at a permanent camp on the Zambezi for a two week trip. It was all exchange students and our handlers. One evening we were sitting around a fire on the embankment above the flood plain. There were about ten of us, digesting our evening meal. Up walks a bull elephant. Some one and I am not sure who, immediately said don't move and be quiet. We sat there for what seemed like ages as the animal looked at us, snuffling around a little with his trunk. He was making a sound that was making my chest vibrate, but I couldn't hear with my ears. He could have killed a good number of us quickly, but instead he gave us a pass and just wandered down the embankment where he proceeded to graze for a while. After we overcame our fear we spent an hour just watching him. Because there was a full moon, and even though the sun had set hours ago, he was easy to see. This will always be the most amazing experience of my life.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 5:48 PM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh and also, Mattias Klum is my new internet boyfriend. Call me!
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 5:50 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh and also, Mattias Klum is my new internet boyfriend

Mattias Klum is my new crush and hero hmm...dibs were spoken
posted by Isadorady at 3:39 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

wah wah wah wah, I missed this first time around. I was just going to post the below when I found this post:
[slyt] National Geographic photographer Mattias Klum animatedly describes a close encounter with an Asiatic lioness in the Gir Forest, Gujarat.

Tyger Tyger burning bright
in the forests of the night
what immortal hand or eye
could frame thy fearful symmetry?
posted by wilful at 11:17 PM on April 2, 2012

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