Red Lechwe

Photographed shortly after sunrise in July, 2009,  the lechwe (Kobus Leche) is well adapted to the waterlogged conditions of the delta.    Considered one of the most “aquatic” of the antelope species,  its greasy coat sheds water whilst its widely splayed hooves enable it to run through water and swampy ground.   The males have the ridged horns seen on this animal and the colour of the lechwe’s coat varies from one region to the next.   Preyed upon by lions,  leopards,  hyenas and wild dogs,  the lechwe,  if threatened,  will instinctively run to water.

A characteristic of long telephoto lenses is their limited depth of field (DoF).   Given the size of the animal and that it was at an angle to the camera,  stopping the 500mm lens down to F9.0 was required to give sufficient DoF that the entire animal is in focus.   The high shutter speed helped freeze the movement of the splashing water droplets,  whilst the resulting high ISO of 1600 is still capable of giving excellent image quality with today’s digital SLR cameras.

Red Lechwe, Kwetsani, Okavango Delta, Botswana.  Canon 5D, focal length 500mm at F9.0,  shutter speed 1/2000 second at ISO 1600.