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wildebeest

Life and death on the river.

Thousands of wildebeest cross the Mara River in the Serengeti National Park as part of the annual migration,  not all survive.    Such is the mad scramble to cross that some animals are injured and/or drown in the attempt.   Crocodiles are nearby to feed at their leisure on the carcasses that gather in the eddies.     Who knows what goes on it the mind of a wildebeest?   Here,  one animal pauses briefly to look at another that didn't make it.

Life and death on the Mara River.

Camera: Canon 5D
Lens: 500mm F4
Focal Length: 500mm
Exposure: 1/1000 sec at f/5.6
ISO Speed: ISO 320
Processing: Lightroom.

For more images, check out the Mara River Crossing gallery.

Wildebeest blur, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

On safari in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and a herd of wildebeest were running across the savanna in front of us.   The wildebeest,  being in large numbers,  ran along a beaten track alongside our vehicle for several minutes which gave me time to experiment with some pan and blur photography.

  With the camera balanced on a beanbag,  I was able to swivel the camera/lens combination so as to follow the animals as they ran by.   By slowing the shutter speed down,  the background and the surrounding grasses were registered as a blur.    The bodies and heads of the wildebeest remain as least identifiable whilst the legs,  due to their faster movement,  are more blurred.    It's an interesting technique which can be applied to moving subjects in the urban environment as well.     The results are not terribly predictable and so it's necessary to take numerous frames in the hope of getting something worthwhile,  but with digital,  pixels are cheap and there's no problem in simply deleting images that don't work.

Wildebeest blur, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Camera: Canon 5D
Lens: 500mm F4 with 1.4x tele converter
Focal Length: 700mm
Exposure: 1/8 sec at f/40.0
ISO Speed: ISO 50
Processing: Lightroom.   Original file underexposed,  required +1.5 stops.

Making it to higher ground

Continuing the recent Wildebeest theme a little longer than I originally intended,  but I think it’s a worthwhile story so here goes.    This image shows a calf,  having successfully crossed the Mara River,  climbing to the top of the steep river bank where he will now need to locate his mother amid the confusion.    The mother and calf locating each other is critical as the calf cannot survive on its own and no other wildebeest is likely to "adopt" a stray. Juvenile Wildebeest emerging from the Mara River.

Wildebeest mother and calf, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Wildebeest mother and calf.

Captions anyone?    I think maybe this shot needs a couple of cartoon like speech bubbles.    Perhaps;  "Why are they staring at us mum?"   "It's the way of the world son,  while we're out here eating grass,  millions of humans are just sitting,  staring at computer screens."    Maybe you can come up with your own variations or themes!    ;-)   KD

Wildebeest, mother and calf.

Canon 5D,  500mm lens at F8.0,  shutter speed 1/400 second at ISO 320.