In the Gir Forest on assignment for National Geographic. For three months I lived there with my team to get close enough to film and photograph these forest lions and their habitat.
From the book:
I really enjoy being close to animals. It makes me feel privileged. I am very rarely afraid of animals, but now I began to fear this could end in disaster. ..Distance can mean safety, and I was now seeing that safety shrink one step at a time. The thought of getting up and throwing cameras and lenses at the lion to scare her away did appear in my head. It might work as a last resort. If I did make a sudden movement, the lion would probably immediately think I was interesting or possibly see me as a threat. More to the point, I would probably not even get to my feet before she’d be on top of me. With a discreet movement, I panned the camera sideways to catch the lioness’ attention. She noticed it immediately. She stopped about 20 feet from the camera, stood there a few moments staring at me and then suddenly sat down. She looked like a sphinx sitting there staring hard at me. She came a few steps closer, sniffing the air....
...when she suddenly rolled over, lay on her back, and looked me up and down, I took the first pictures since she left the stream bed. I remember I had to pull the tripod very carefully back a little so I could shoot at the minimum focal distance of the lens. She seemed so relaxed now, almost totally uninterested, and I dared to start shooting again. So there we lay, opposite each other, with 15 feet between us. Her large head, her ambercolored eyes in the heat....