Recently we visited Etosha with our son, his partner and her son. On our first evenings game drive we were enchanted by the sight of giraffe drinking at the pan's edge under a pretty sky. I took several shots and as I was undecided about which to post I have added another as a WS. You can decide which you like best.
Giraffes look quite stately as they feed but when lowering themselves to drink they look clumsy and vulnerable.
These long necked browsers are able to exploit a feeding niche that is only shared by elephants. Their height enables them to reach food, which no antelope can get at. They feed mainly on the Acacia trees.
Being a very selective feeder and only choosing the most nutritious leaves they pull leaves and small twigs into their mouths with lips and tongue spitting out thorns and tough twigs.
This animals has a very efficient digestive system, which means they can survive on less than half the browse you would expect of an animal of this size.
The presence of thorns on acacia trees slows down the feeding process, which means they have to spend at least 11, and up to 20, hours a day feeding. In areas where the soil is poor in calcium they obtain these minerals by chewing bones.
To reach water the giraffe has to splay its front legs and bend its knees before bending its neck to get its head down to ground level. A giraffe in this position is very vulnerable. It will always look around carefully and make sure it has a firm footing before bending.
When they raise and lower their heads the brain is protected by a special system of elastic blood vessels in the neck. This system is effective in getting blood and oxygen to their heads, as well as to prevent blackouts when they lower their heads. They have enormous hearts, which weigh close to 25 pounds and large lungs to effectively circulate air through the 6 to 8 feet long windpipe.
Critiques | Translate
Suppiluliuma (3879) 2012-04-26 1:43
An elaborate note as usual + a scene which gives so beautifully a herd of giraffes against the gradual toning of a setting sun.
I prefer your workshop mainly because some heads are seen better above the dark horizon line.
vapours (8264) 2012-04-26 1:46
Brilliant subject matter, we're quite used to close up animal shots but the lighting and the waters reflection is really what makes this shot work.
However, the horizon is crooked!
patdeph (35748) 2012-04-26 1:50
the giraffes are superb, and I love how the long neck of 2 of them are crossing.The soft light, the colors and the reflections are wonderful, and create a magical mood.
tyro (18202) 2012-04-26 2:14
Another wonderful photograph from Namibia! But it's not just the novelty of seeing pictures of places so removed from what we are used to here in Britain, but the timing and setting of this picture, like so many others of yours, are perfect.
Taken in early evening (if your exif data are correct), the lighting is superb - and lovely side/back lighting if I'm not mistaken as your map would tend to infer that you were looking almost due south - and "models" the forms of the giraffe beautifully against a lovely soft orange sky and its reflections in the calm water. Excellent composition, perfect exposure and, as always, exquisite sharpness.
But, if you want an opinion, I agree with Erdem - I prefer your workshop picture too: in that we see more details of the giraffe themselves and the lighting on their bodies is just delicious.
Not quite so sure about the horizon though - I certainly didn't think that it was anything less than straight when I first looked at it and that's something I tend to pick up on fairly quickly.
I loved your note too as I have always had an interest in comparative anatomy - a fascinating subject in which we can compare specific features of the anatomy of other creatures, particularly mammals, and how they relate to those of others, particularly ourselves. I knew about the interesting features of giraffes' circulatory systems which allow them still to provide a blood supply to their brains despite incredible variations in height of their heads, but what really intrigued me was that these creatures have such an efficient digestive system and can survive on what would be thought to be a totally inadequate food intake for their size. In fact, one of the most convincing arguments I have ever heard regarding the failure and subsequent extinction of Neanderthal Man is that it is reckoned that Neanderthal had a daily food energy requirement of about 4,000 calories a day whereas we can survive quite happily on half that amount. That sounds more convincing than theories that we killed them all off! And, of course, in an environment like this (or in northeast Africa where we humans all originated) getting food is the main challenge in life.
Nard (6970) 2012-04-26 2:25
A graceful composition of a quiet and beautiful place enhanced by the light. I like how the giraffes seems to be delicate and the atmosphere given by the pink sky. I imagine how it must be pleasant to be there looking at the nature and the annimals.
CLODO (28482) 2012-04-26 2:26
A superb soft light, a quietness in the water and the sky, and the bunch of girafes. It's a pity that 2 are overlapping, I am sure that a few seconds after, you could have had a perfect shot.
timecapturer (44241) 2012-04-26 2:40
another stunning shot. I love both of the two images and just love the atmosphere and beauty of them. Exquisite light and accomplished execution makes them captivating and outstanding additions to your wonderful gallery.
Have a good day - Brian.
Royaldevon (25884) 2012-04-26 4:13
It is a treat to see shots of nature that are such a contrast to what we would see at home! I like both shots but, for me, this one has that tranquility, that calm unawaredness - I think I might have invented a new word!
The amber b/g helps set the mood whilst the long graceful-necked animals appear to do everything in slow motion, emphasising the mood.
I find it just delightful.
Have a lovely day,
ChrisJ (94238) 2012-04-26 4:31
Who cares about the horizon line when the fg is so good. Easily fixed in photoshop, especially as you've composed it with breathing space all around. Incredible lighting, colour & reflections here, with good sharpness & repetition of the giraffes. Good to have one breaking the pattern & facing right too. Tfs!
Sergiom (53569) 2012-04-26 5:06
J'aime beaucoup cette belle lumière de fin de journée. On sent que le calme s'installe dans la nature et dans l'atmosphère. Un très beau cadrage sur les girafes.
jjcordier (72530) 2012-04-26 5:44
Je prends les deux photos, même si j'ai une petite préférence pour le WS où j'aime la composition plus serrée et la lumière. Une belle rencontre que tu nous fais gentiment partager et deux très belles photos.
gildasjan (40738) 2012-04-26 8:36
Ce dégradé doux dans le ciel donne toute sa beauté à cette réalisation.
williewhistler (12056) 2012-04-26 12:09
the different stance of each giraffe gives the shot real charm for me.
They always appear to be such graceful animals, I do envy you for being in their presence.
A fine shot with a lovely serene atmosphere.
Best regards Les.
bukitgolfb301 (34200) 2012-04-26 17:54
Hello my dear Rosemary
Greatest nature shot!
Very attractive and fantastic shot with tasteful calm colors and lights. Thanks for your sharing with your best job and have a good last working day, best regards,
Takero from Tokyo
delpeoples (52159) 2012-04-26 23:05
Hi dear Rosemary
Another magical photo, I'm surprised David Attenborough doesn't enlist you. Again, a magical light. The reflections of these magnificent creatures really add to the enchantment. I love especially how the warm light of the sky collides with the silvery light on the water. Just magic. Congratulations.
Enjoy your Friday!
paololg (31448) 2012-04-26 23:29
Ciao dear Rosemary,
beautiful picture, a picture that is a dream for us Europeans! The giraffe, the landscape and the light give the perfect feel and mood of Africa, the real one. Congratulations also for the excellent sharpness and for the good light management!
Ciao, have a nice Friday!
Budapestman (82620) 2012-04-27 1:05
a beautiful atmosphere with superb composition and amazing lights, the POV is excellent, great view, Tfs! Have a nice weekend! Kellemes hétvégét kívánok!
corjan3 (2021) 2012-04-27 5:50
This is wonderful. I visited Etosha many times and the closest I ever got to seeing the pan filled with water was to see a pool in the far distance....and it could have been a mirage too... and that with having been able to visit during the rainy season when Etosha used to be closed to tourists during that time. I also slightly prefer the WS version but both images are very good. What a beautiful scene.
BTW, the "slanting" horizon could be the natural lie of the land. It could be "corrected" but one would not want the giraffe to end up on their backsides :)- with those long necks they could easily lose their balance. The water's edge also does not need to be "horizontal" as we are not looking at a dam wall here. The concepts of "horizontal" and "vertical" are man-made anyway and for practical reasons, mainly the influence of gravity - for example, we make the floors of our homes horizontal so that we do not wake up in the far corner, having been shifted there by gravity during the night. For me, they are of little importance in photography and the related visual arts. (No two vertical lines are parallel anyway, with the same applying to their accompanying horizontals)
Your note is very informative. Thank you and best wishes.
PecoBud (3824) 2012-04-27 9:15
Beautiful wildlife photo you have shared with us today Rosemary, with very nice clarity and detail to color and light. Your POV is always so welcoming and pleasant to view.
TFS...........Your Friend from California..........Buddy
siudzi (31637) 2012-04-28 11:08
Truly awesome shot of this beautiful scene. Love the soft lighting and pastel tones of the sky. Very charming image. TFS.
Cricri (100163) 2012-04-28 11:13
Une atmosphère calme et paisible , douceur des couleurs, des reflets et ces quatre girafes dans ce moment magique, belle image
ebingul (1898) 2012-04-28 12:13
What a serene and fine wild life/nature shot with soft evening light.Great POV and DOF with great colours.
Congrats and best regards,
jusninasirun (17156) 2012-04-29 3:24
This is a wonderful shot that I like lovely tone at the water hole with four giraffes at the water's edge. A fine capture and well metered exposure in the frame.
Thanks and have a wonderful Sunday.
npecanhuk (60100) 2012-04-29 11:32
What a beautiful and lovely moment!
I love the tones (due to great management of light too)!
TFS - congrats,
annjackman (17387) 2012-04-30 0:48
Well - I am not the only one to get a tilted horizon! Other than that I really enjoy the soft light and the broad view of the herd of giraffe in their natural environment. What a wonderful experience - very well recorded.
Best wishes, Ann
Silvio1953 (114897) 2012-04-30 6:00
Ciao Rosemary, fascinating composition with lovely creatures at driimk, fantastic sky, romantic african atmosphere, wonderful warm colors and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
marina7 (8049) 2012-05-01 7:09
what a gorgeous image! I guess the light was very difficult to handle here but it's what makes the picture so special together with the strong contrast.
A unique scene you were lucky to have witnessed and transformed into a stunning picture.
Thanks and all the best
Waylim (24938) 2012-05-01 18:29
Beautiful shot, the whole scenery is like a paradise. the presence of the giraffe off course make the whole composition what it is. However the light is also an important role as well as the wetland. Beautiful composition and peaceful and lovely atmosphere.
Didi (54651) 2012-05-04 14:13
Very magnificient scene of the wild life and very nice colours.
I have seen some films documentary about this country and I have enjoyed.
Thanks for sharing.
- Copyright: Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) (28762)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-04-03
- Categories: Nature
- Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2012-04-26 1:11
- Favorites: 1 [view]