Graceful beasts of the bush
When coming on a safari to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, a must see or tick off your checklist, is spending some quality time with elephants. When we talk about elephants, everyone immediately thinks of the breeding herds, all the related females and their calves creating a family type of unit which we refer to as a herd, however, it’s the large solitary/bachelor grouping of elephant bulls that steal the show for me when we talk about elephants.
Watching calves play, get up to mischief or interact with other members of the herd is fascinating, but watching a solitary bull is peaceful, soul fulfilling and makes you think about his journey to where he is now at that point in time that you see him.
As a young calf, a male elephant is accepted like every other individual among the breeding herd as he follows his mother around nursing all the way up to three and a half years where he will be fully weaned. At the this age he will remain with the breeding herd until he reaches sexual maturity (10 – 11 elephants in optimum conditions, 16 – 18 in drier/drought areas, however it is really around the age of 20 that a young bull can compete to mate with a female) and that is where the matriarch will chase him away from his mother and the breeding herd forcing him to become solitary or develop as a member in a small bachelor herd. Soon there after a bull will develop and in time will enter a term we refer to as “musth” when they have high testosterone levels in their quest to find a mate for breeding. After many years, this male will enter into musth more and more often (especially between the ages of 30 – 40 years) and for longer periods being months even if musth is cyclical, thus fathering more offspring.
In this photograph we witness one of these type of bulls, what we have laid out within this blog is the life journey a bull just like this one has gone through. What does the future hold for a bull like this or any other bull that is maturing?
Come on safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve not just to find out, but to experience it in real life the way you should.
- Camera – Canon 7D mk ii
- Lens and Focal length – Canon-EF100-400mm f-4.5-5.6 L IS USM at 135mm
Settings used to capture this image
- ISO – 100
- Aperture – f 5,0
- Shutter – 1/400
Editing used on this image
For such image, creating a black and white image is quite applicable. To get the contrast of various shades using the sunlight as well as the texture of the animal’s hide, the contours of the surface area of the animal and the surrounding vegetation, increasing of highlights, lowering of whites, increasing of shadows and adding a little clarity to such image was used to get to the editing required.