Wildebeest herd on the run, motion blur effect
Caption: Wildebeest herd, sensing danger, dashes off in panic, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi); Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom; Focal Length: 140mm; Aperture: F/40; Shutter Speed: 1/30; ISO: 200

The wildebeest migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is one of the planet’s great natural spectacles and as such has been well documented in stills and movies. However, the sheer scale of the migration, with thousands of wildebeest scattered over large areas of the plains, makes it difficult to capture via still photography, particularly if you’re only there for a couple of days.

Those fortunate enough to view the herds crossing the Grumeti and Mara Rivers as the animals trek towards the Masai Mara in Kenya have additional photo opportunities, not only because of the drama of the river crossing, but also because the animals are bunched close together.

But the randomness of the animals’ movements does mean it’s very much a question of luck to be in the right place at the right time — it’s simply not possible to predict where and when the herds will make their crossings.

During our all-too-brief stay in Serengeti and the adjoining Grumeti Reserve, we saw thousands upon thousands of blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) massing on the plains, grazing and moving slowly northwards, but they were spread across vast areas, seldom bunched together.

On one occasion a herd we were watching suddenly took fright and sped off together. In the picture above, I opted for a slow shutter speed while panning the camera in an effort to show the panic and frenetic herd behavior. Most my other pictures of the wildebeest migration are more static – see Serengeti Safari Pictures for more shots of the migration, plus photos of other Serengeti wildlife.

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