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Antelope Archives

Running Wildebeest

Running Wildebeest

Photo Details: A pair of Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) gallop off as we approach in our game drive vehicle, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 300mm; Shutter speed: 1/30; Aperture: f45; ISO: 400; 31 May 2009, 9.25am.

Additional Info: I deliberately used a slow shutter speed and panned the camera to emphasise the movement of the running wildebeest. This required a quick change of camera settings, switching from Aperture Priority (AV) mode to Shutter Priority (TV). Under normal circumstances, I would have also reduced the ISO from 400 to 100, as I certainly didn’t need an aperture of F45. In this case there simply wasn’t enough time, so the the ISO had to stay on 400 and hence the extremely small aperture to compensate for the slow shutter speed. In case you’re wondering – yes, the image has also been digitally manipulated to give a more painterly effect, using a program called Buzz Simplifier that’s no longer available.

Eland Bull

Eland Bull

Photo Details: Big Eland bull (Tragelaphus oryx) looks up during a grazing session on the surrounding short green vegetation, Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Block, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 120mm; Shutter speed: 1/40; Aperture: f8; ISO: 400; Date: 29 May 2009, 5.15pm.

Additional Info: The eland is the largest of Africa’s antelope, with males weighing up to 1 000kg (2 200lbs). Shoulder height is around 1.7m (5ft 6in) for adult males, while that of adult females is about 1.5m (5ft).

Both sexes have straight, slightly diverging horns, although the male’s are thicker and heavier with a spiral ridge near the base. Both males and females also have the characteristic, prominent dewlap, which in the males can be fringed or tufted.

Eland are nomadic and occur usually in small herds, but these groups can at times band together to form very large aggregations numbering in the hundreds.

In spite of their huge size, eland are prodigious jumpers and can easily clear fences 2m (6ft 6in) high. Says Richard Depard Estes (The Behavior Guide to African Mammals): “Fleeing elands often diplay their prowess by jumping effortlessly right over a neighbor, and youngsters can sail over a 3m (10ft) fence from a standing jump”

Although they are predominanty browsers, Eland will happily graze on fresh, sprouting grass and they can survive without water, obtaining their liquid requirements from their food.

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