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Larger Mammals Archives

White Rhino on the Charge

White Rhino on the charge, Kruger National Park, South Africa This White Rhino, taking a dislike to our vehicle after we’d stopped to take photographs, suddenly put its head down and charged us.

We were in the Kruger National Park and had stopped to photograph a family of three rhino on the side of the road.

Fortunately this was a mock-charge as the massive animal pulled up about two meters from our vehicle. The photo below was the last in a sequence of five shots. I was shooting our the back window and by this stage the exterior rear-view mirror was partially in the way. I was also fast losing interest in taking pictures!

White Rhino charging vehicle, Kruger National Park, South Africa

My buddy Kevin, who was in the driver’s seat, was obviously less concerned than I was as he didn’t even try starting the vehicle. He’s been going to Kruger for many years and clearly knows a bit more about animal behavior than I do.

For more pictures from our trip to Kruger, please see Kruger Park Photos, Nov 2012. And for more about the White or Square-Lipped Rhino (Ceratotherium simum), see Rhino Information.

Hippo Fountain

Hippos throw up a fountain of spray while explosively exhalingCaption: Hippos throw up a fountain of spray while explosively exhaling, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Focal length 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/1600; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO 400.

The original image is in color, but because of the strong backlighting, I opted to convert to black and white using Adobe Lightroom 4 as this produces a much more dramatic effect. What to YOU think? All comments welcome.

Baby Elephant Walk

Baby elephant mimics actions of one in front, Kruger National Park Caption: As two baby elephants walk through the veld, the one mimics exactly the actions of the other, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi); Lens: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS telephoto zoom; Shutter speed: 1/800; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400.

To see the full sequence of this amusing and mischievous behavior, please check out our latest picture story, Baby Elephant Plays Follow-my-Leader.

Giraffe Straddling its Legs to Drink

Giraffe straddling forelegs to drink Caption: Male giraffe, with forelegs straddled wide, lifts its head while drinking from waterhole, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Focal length 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/1600; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO 400; Exposure compensation: +0.7

Giraffe, when drinking, will either straddle the forelegs, bend the forelegs at the knees, or a combination of the two. Where there is a downhill slope to the water, a giraffe will often splay the front legs slightly and then bend them for better balance.

This straddling, splaying and bending of the legs is essential for the giraffe’s head to reach the water as the forelegs are longer than the neck.

Giraffes drinking with legs straddled and bent

Two giraffe drinking, one with forelegs bent (left) and the other with forelegs straddled or splayed.

In this position, giraffe are very vulnerable to attack so will not adopt the stance lightly. Before drinking, they check their surroundings carefully, often pausing, hesitating, and backing away before committing themselves.

While drinking, they also lift their heads frequently, leaving a trail of spray and agitated oxpeckers, which can provide good photo opportunities.

Elephants Reflected IV

Reflection of elephant emptying water from its trunk into its mouth while drinkingCaption: Reflection of elephant emptying water from its trunk into its mouth while drinking from a small pool in river, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM telephoto zoom; Focal length: 220mm; Shutter speed: 1/1600; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400

This is the final shot in a series of elephant reflection photos where I’ve tried to show the same scene in varying ways. As in the previous image, here I’ve again focused on the reflection, making it the focal point of the picture.

There’s nothing particularly unique about this approach, but it does provide an alternative view of a familiar subject, with the underside of the head and tusks now visible.

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