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Marble Eyes

Marble Eyes
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-11-18
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Southern Africa II, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, My Dedications ;o), Ithala Game Reserve 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-09-25 11:28
Viewed: 12695
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 62
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Tsessebe - Damaliscus lunatus lunatus

I'd like to dedicate this posting to a "new" and very welcome member, the Wolfman (Wolfpower). I think it's not only me who eagerly awaits some more wolf postings from the educated lens of Mr. Wolf Power.

This antelope was captured on the plains near the Mhlaba River in the Ithala Game Reserve. It was a heavy overcast morning and since the animal was too close to me I had to make use of my little Sony camera. Even with the ISO set at 400 the only shutter speed I could attain was at 1/80 of a second. I am still experiencing some difficulty with the calibration of my new screen (while I still wait for the arrival of my own calibration tool). I hope you won't find the colours and contrasts too wayward though.

Taxonomic Classification

: Animalia (animals)
SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, & mammals)
CLASS: Mammalia (mammals)
ORDER: Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates)
FAMILY: Bovidae (cloven-hoofed mammals - buffalo, bison, antelopes, gazelles, cattle, sheep & goats)
SUBFAMILY: Alcelaphinae (wildebeest, hartebeest, bonteboks, tsessebe, topi, korrigum & tiang)

Both sexes grow horns, but those on bulls are heavier. When viewed from the front the horns appear typical 'halfmoon' shaped and are conspicuously ringed. The elongated and narrow face has a black strip running from the forehead to the tip of the nose. The withers and upper body are reddish-brown to rusty red with a distinct purplish sheen on the shoulders. The upper legs and chest are black and the lower parts of the legs are brownish-yellow.

They belong to the same family as the Wildebeest and the Hartebeest, all of whom are characterised by an ungainly appearance as a result of their shoulders being higher than the withers.

Length: 2.1m
Weight: male 140kg, female 126kg
Horn length: average 34cm (record 46.99cm)
Running Speed: up to 70km/h

Distribution of subspecies
With my limited insight, as a layman, I prepared this subspecies list in an attempt to accommodate some diverse views by a number of authorities. There seem to be some inconsistencies with the classification of the genus Damaliscus and the lunatus species.

Tsessebe - Damaliscus lunatus lunatus. Southern Africa: Eastern Angola, Northeastern Namibia, Northern and Eastern Botswana, parts of South Africa, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Topi Damaliscus lunatus jimela. East Africa: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Korrigum Damaliscus lunatus korrigum. West Africa: Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Cameroon, and Togo. This subspecies is regionally extinct in Burundi, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal.
Tiang - Damaliscus lunatus tiang. Central Africa: Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia and Sudan.

In South Africa the tsessebe are confined to northern savannah woodlands. They are mostly confined to the Kruger National Park and some provincial game reserves. They have also been re-introduced to some private game farms.

Mainly occupy open savanna woodlands adjoining grassland plains.

Tsessebe are social animals and their basic group structure consists of small breeding groups, each comprising of 6 to 10 cows with their offspring. Bachelor groups and territorial bull herds may sometimes number up to 30 strong. This is especially noticeable near water and favourable grazing. Breeding herds consisting of cows are not restricted to a specific territory. In areas where tsessebe occur in higher densities, bulls establish typical 'lek' system territories. Young bulls form bachelor groups at the age of one year as they are pushed out of herds.

In patrolling their territories, territorial males maintain a steady gait and defecate at regular intervals. Both sexes mark their territories with the preorbital glands, but the territorial males are more active in doing so. They also rub the sides of their faces on the ground, usually on a termite mound or on a sandy patch, dropping to their knees to do so. Both sexes horn the ground, especially after rain. The animal has well developed interdigital glands on the front feet, and territorial males paw and scrape the ground as a means of territorial marking.

Grazers, with short to medium-long grasses being eaten but a preference being shown for new growth. They are attracted to burnt areas.

A single young, weighing about 10-12kg, is born after a gestation period of some 240 days (8 months). It is able to keep up with the herd shortly after birth. Calves are usually dropped from October to December. During the mating season elaborate displays by the bulls form part of the mating ritual.

Conservation status
The distribution and numbers of tsessebe have declined considerably in South Africa, partly due to deteriorating habitat conditions. The number of tsessebes in Kruger National Park, South Africa, increased during 1977-1985, but the changes in tsessebe numbers probably resulted from rainfall-induced changes in food availability during dryer seasons, which caused adult survival to decline after 1986.

Lower Risk - Conservation Dependent (IUCN 2.3) Source

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

gracious, nglen, robindb, rousettus, PeterZ, sandpiper2, boreocypriensis, eqshannon, ellis49, bobcat08, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, manyee, sranjan, Alex99, betsie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-09-25 11:33]

Hi Loot. What a unusual looking animal . As you say what great big eyes it has, with almost a sad look about his face. It also looks as if he has much to much skin . You have taken a fine close up so we can see all the detail with natural looking colours. with interesting notes. well done TFS.

Hello Loot,
Excellent portrait and a warm dedication to our great friend Mr.Wolf!
Perfect size posting with a good closeness to view and enjoy the full details on this beautiful animal!
so sharp with warm colour and superb details!
thanks for the wonderful notes as well
my sincere regards to you from NZ

What a colorful and special animal! I like his candid look and eye contact a lot. You chose good composition with natural exposure and excellent details. I'm still amazed by his colors; wow! Wolfpower! :)

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-09-25 12:12]

Hi Loot,

A nice portrait of a not so often seen and posted antelope,the colors and expression says it all,tfs this original close up,


Hi Loot,

Uitstekende foto van die dier met besondere detail op die gesig, ore, horings en veral die oog appels wat gewoonlik mooilik is om te sien. Die dier is ook maar redelik skaars veral om hom van so naby te sien. Gooie navorsing in die nota ook.



Hi Loot,
great portraite for very beautiful Tsessebe. I like very much contact of marble eyes. They look it very lovely. You captured it with a great POV/DOF. bluish-green, composition and focus also great. your notes give very good information about this species. Thanks for sharing, best wishes

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-09-25 13:53]

Hello Loot,
What an amazing expression in the eyes. High quality photo in all aspects. Not only a wonderful portrait of this Tsessebe but also a wonderful BG.
Excellent note. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Loot

Good to see another post from you. A fine portrait of this impressive antelope. Don't think I've seen this species before. Excellent POV, composition and sharpness. The Sony did a great jobe here.


Hi Loot,
Nice to see your new posting my friend! As you always do, you show us an impeccable masterpiece work of this beautiful marble-eyed Tsessebe with wonderful clarity. Many thanks for sharing this fine image my friend! Take care!


Hi Loot,

A remarkable capture of this antelope with fine details of the head and with very good colors. TFS.



I'll drink to that toast to the Wolfman Loot! Sure thing...and you didn't waste time in finding one of your top drawer images for this dedication. That shows a good heart then eh? It truly shows your wonderful talents and tenacity! Very well done in both ways...

Hello Loot

That is quite an interesting face you have submitted.
Lovely focus and detail,the eye contact is very good.
Well placed in the frame with super notes.
A wonderful presentation.

Hi Loot,
A nice capture of this tsessebe. Very good portrait. Superb sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Goodness... what a sharp, close capture. I love the textures and details in the fur and horns. Color, sharpness, and off center placement all add to the effectiveness of the image.

Evelynn ; )

What a beautiful portrait study of this scarce (for me) animal. Even a Sony can take great pics!
Well done

hello loot,
this is a very nice capture with a good title, the dof has been managed very well, the pov and the eye contact is great, well composed shot,
tfs & regards

Hello dear Loot,
So nice portrait,
Great details and amazing light.
Very well done.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1001 W: 4 N: 3276] (14759)
  • [2008-09-26 2:17]

Helo Loot, What a closeup shot. Terrific and with the horn it is another terrific. Wonderful sharpness and focus. Ganesh

grear face close up, TFS and greetings Ori

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-09-26 3:12]

He looks like he has all the worry on the world on his shoulders Loot.
What a cute character, and I especially like his red eye-lashes over his marble eyes!! And what a lot of wrinkles he has on his neck and shoulders too,

Hello Loot,

What a surprised look has this antelope in her eyes. Did you surprise her? A fine close up so you can see all the fine details. Natural looking colours. The ratios are as always good.
The notes are as usual interesting.

Well done, cheers and TFS BOB

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-09-26 12:32]

Hi Loot,
great shot of this weird-looking Tsessebe.
The eye-contact is excellent.
The colours are slightly too cool (have a blueish tinge), maybe your monitor should have a bit more yellow in its colours.
Very sharp with excellent detail.
Great composition.
Brilliant DOF.

Well done Loot,


Hi Loot.
Excellent portrait and beautiful animal...Very good composition and wonderful post..TFS..
Kind regards,

Excellent POV, composition and sharpness.

Hi Loot
Hierdie foto leef!! Ongelooflike kleure en helderheid. Ek sien baie uit na jou nuwe fotos as jy terugkom van die wildtuin af.
Geniet dit!!

Hallo Loot
What a pity this pretty animal is not a female otherwise I would have loved to sing this song:
I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn't me tonight.

I feel charming,
Oh, so charming
It's alarming how charming I feel!
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I'm real.

I feel stunning
And entrancing,
Feel like running and dancing for joy,
For I'm loved
By a pretty wonderful boy!

But although this is a male, I will seranade it with the words: "You're so pretty, oh so pretty, You're so charming, oh so charming".

This is such a pretty animal, that is actually hard to describe it's beauty. The perfectly shaped horns, the black patch on it's forehead and nose, the fine hairs in the ears and the most beautiful of all the Marble Eyes. I cannot find any fault. Perfection all the way. I am very glad you shared this one with us. A delightful image. Thanks for sharing.

Hello Loot
'n Pragtige toewyding aan die Wolfman. Ek geniet jou titels wat jy uitdink vir meeste van jou fotos. Welgedaan. Natuurlik geniet ek die fotos nog meer en hierdie ou met sy albaster ogies is te oulik vir woorde. Dit is 'n besonderse skoot met die bok wat uitstekend uitstaan teenoor die beboste agtergrond. Dit word natuurlik aangehelp deur die kontrast tussen die Tssebe se kleur en die groen agtergrond. Mooi skerp fokus op die hele gesig en horings met daardie verspotte oortjies wat tog te snaaks vertoon. Ek het toe uiteindelik my eerste foto gelaai en ek moet vir jou dankie s vir alles wat ek by jou kon leer die afgelope jaar of wat. Rehanna

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-10-04 21:00]

What a stare!
He must have seen something rather puzzling? A Loot???
Hello, my friend. This is a very unusual antelope.
Beautiful warm colors on that coat.
The details are excellent throughout. I can even see the texture of the horns.
But the eyes definitely have it!!!
TFS. ; )

Dear Loot,
Beautiful well composed image of the Tsessebe with excellent sharpness & eye to eye contact. May I ask you for what reason you have kept it off centred (slightly towards left)?
Have a nice day: Subhash

Dear Loot
I thought I left my critique at ol Marble Eyes but now see I did not. Sorry old chap. This face tells a thousand and one stories. The eyes follow you, no matter where yours go. The ears are perfectly shaped and lined. This looks like an old toppy just like me, because you can see the wear and tear on the skin and horns. Your title is perfect. Thanks for this great story. I am sorry I missed it the first time around. But is what happens if your time is no longer your own. But I am not complaining to much.
Warmest regards
Aaltjie and Hettie

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-11-15 4:31]

Hi Loot.
I am very pleased with your high estimation of my last picture. Thanks a lot for kindness and encouragement.

I cannot imagine how I could to pass this shot. Amazing portrait of this very cute animal. Details and sharpness of its image are exceptional and colour reproduction is also ultimate. I like wonderful and natural BG. Bravo. Once more masterpiece from you. TFS and all the best.

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