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Run Baby Run

Run Baby Run
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: 2010-01-16
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Movietitles, Mammals of Southern Africa II, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park 1, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-02-15 20:59
Viewed: 9004
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 84
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Impala - Aepyceros melampus

Life is really challenging for an Impala ram with a sizable harem and especially so when it's that time of the year when he have to fulfil his duties for the sake of the survival of the species. Simply said, to be in a rut. The Encarta Dictionary explains it as: "A period of sexual excitement that recurs annually in male ruminants, especially deer". Actually it is also the case for most antelope males too. Shame, not only does he have to defend his harem by fighting off all those wannabe rams who tries to infiltrate the harem and impress a female, or two, or three, but he also have to run after those females, all day long. The problem is that the females are so agile and so darn fast. By the time the ram gets to do his duties I don't think there's much energy left, so that's probably why the actual deed only lasts for about 10 seconds.

This "bolting" ewe was captured about half way between the tar road and Mount Emoyeni, while travelling towards the Mpila rest camp, in the iMfolozi Game Reserve. Although it was not during the time of the rut (which normally occurs somewhere between the months of May to June), but the male in charge of this harem was chasing this ewe all over the place. (I read somewhere that this activity is called the "False Rut") The other ewes did not even bother to pay them any attention while they were running this way and that way at speeds that makes one wonder: "How do they manage to miss all those trees, shrubs, and rocks that are dashed all over the place?". I realised I would not be able to capture this with the long lens as the two Impalas were really speeding along at an incredible pace, but I did notice that the ewe seemed to be running in ± the same circles all the time. That was when I decided to pick an open spot and set up the little Sony HX1, so that if the ewe ran into that area again I only had to fire the shutter release button and hopefully I would get a usable shot. I just finished doing this when she obliged and ran right into the frame. All I had to do was to press the button and hope for the best. I only had the one opportunity to capture this single shot as directly after this the ram suddenly stopped chasing the ewe and calmly continued to graze as if nothing ever happened. Luckily the image came out not too shabby, and although it might be slightly wanting technically, I really hope you like it anyway.

Note: See also the workshop for a bonus image of an Impala ram captured on the same day, but at a different location.

Taxonomic Classification

: Animalia (animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (animals with a shared body plan having at some stage in their lives: a notochord, a dorsal neural cord, pharyngeal slits & a post anal tail)
SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, & mammals)
CLASS: Mammalia (vertebrate animals with sweat glands, hair, 3 middle ear bones, and a neocortex region in the brain)
ORDER: Artiodactyla (cloven-hoofed, even-toed ungulates)
FAMILY: Bovidae (buffalo, bison, antelopes, gazelles, cattle, goats, & sheep)
SUBFAMILY: Aepycerotinae (endemic to Africa - represented by a single living species, the Impala)

In the past, taxonomists have put the impala in the same tribe as gazelles, kobs and hartebeests. However, it was found that the impala was so different from any of these tribes that it was put in its own tribe, Aepycerotini respectively. This tribe has now been elevated to full subfamily status.

The impala could easily be the archetypical antelope, its form bearing resemblance to many other bovids. However, this species also displays numerous characteristics not found in any other bovid, and few authors dispute its unique taxonomic position.

The Aepycerotinae appears to be one of the most ancient branches of the Aegodontia, having diverged from other bovids in the Miocene. The result is that the Aepycerotinae have had a long independent history, which makes determining their affiliation with the other subfamilies very difficult (they are allied here with the Hippotraginae-Alcelaphinae-Caprinae clade). The Aepycerotinae first appear in the fossil record 6.5 million years ago; the impala has not changed considerably since then.

The name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "Gazelle".

Length: 1.6-1.72m; tail length 28cm
Height: 73-92cm at the shoulder
Weight: male 46-76kg, female 37-50kg
Horn length: average 50cm (record 80.97cm)
Running Speed: approximately 80-90km/h

Males, referred to as rams, have lyre-shaped, strongly ridged horns which can reach up to 90 centimeters in length. Females, referred to as ewes, have no horns.

They are normally reddish-brown in colour (hence the Afrikaans name of "Rooibok" – i.e. Redbuck), have lighter flanks and the chest, belly, throat and chin are white. The tail is white with a central black line on the upper surface, and each buttock has a vertical black blaze which creates a characteristic "M" marking on its rear. A diagnostic characteristic is the tuft of black hair on the lower rear-edge of the hindleg, as this is not shared with any other antelope. Ears are large, black-tipped and lined with white hair.

They are found in Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland, Mozambique, northern Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern Angola, northeastern South Africa and Uganda. An isolated western population, the Black-faced Impala, is located in north-western Namibia and marginally into south-western Angola.

Open or light savanna woodland or bush country, avoiding open grassland unless scattered bush cover is available. Access to drinking water is essential.

Rutting takes place when impala rams fight to establish dominance and mating rights with females. During this period they do little else then chasing competing rams to ensure that when the ewes come into oestrus they will be the ones to do the mating. During the rut, Impalas form herds made up of many females and a single breeding male, which excludes all other males (territorial or bachelor) by combat. They are often found in association with herds of other animals, such as zebras and gnus.

Rams are very vocal during the rut, and give vent to a repertoire of growls, roars, and snorts, and are only territorial at this time, with the rest of the year being spent in bachelor herds. The home range of a breeding herd of ewes and their young may overlap with the territories of several territorial rams. Rams separate out harem herds of 15-20+ ewes, and their accompanying young, for mating. This disrupts the composition of the herds, but they reunite at the conclusion of the rut. Bachelor herds tend to occupy those areas away from the breeding herds. Although they are mainly active during the cooler daylight hours, there is usually some nocturnal activity.

When frightened or startled the whole impala herd starts leaping about in order to confuse their predator. Swift-running and graceful Impalas are the most powerful jumpers of all antelopes; they can leap 3m (10ft) into the air and travel 10m (33ft) in a single bound.

Impala are not specialised for one mode of food acquisition; they will graze when grasses are fresh and growing, but will readily browse on shoots, seedpods and shrub foliage, and even feed on withered leaves during the dry season. This adaptability in feeding strategies allows the impala to be able to live at high densities in a range of habitats.

A single lamb, weighing ±5kg, is born at the beginning of the rainy season after a gestation period of 196 days. The mother has the ability to delay giving birth for an additional month if conditions are harsh. When giving birth a female impala will isolate herself from the herd despite numerous attempts by the male to keep her in his territory. The impala mother will keep the lamb in an isolated spot for a few days or even leave it lying out in hiding for a couple days, weeks, or more before returning to the herd. There the lamb will join a nursery group and will go to its mother only to nurse or when predators are near. Lambs are suckled for 4-6 months.

Conservation status
Least Concern - species with a stable population and not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances (IUCN 3.1). Impalas can be found in numbers of up to 2,000,000 in Africa.

Source and with copious extracts from "Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa" by Chris & Tilde Stuart, Struik publishers.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

zulfu, roges, manyee, uleko, jhm, Scott, PeterZ, saeedabbasi, CeltickRanger, jlinaresp, nglen, marius-secan, eng55, jaycee, Miss_Piggy, Adanac, rousettus, Noisette, anel, xTauruSx, Pikkie, Hormon_Manyer, tuslaw, marhowie, Alex99, goldyrs, boreocypriensis, bahadir has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
Action Photoswinterpalace 4 11-27 10:24
action photoswinterpalace 1 11-26 00:23
To goldyrs: Thumbs up MFloot 1 10-25 22:27
To sranjan: Take an aspirin...loot 1 02-28 08:37
To ingridshaul: Mmmmmm.......loot 1 02-16 08:45
Animal Behaviouringridshaul 1 02-16 07:00
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-02-15 21:00]

Hello Loot, lovely shot of a cute impala:) with nice composition, details and colours. Great action you caught here.
TFS and G's,

Hi Loot,
Great moment well captured. Thoughtful planning makes hopeful shots work! Impressive framing considering the situation you described. Thanks for sharing.

Hello Loot,
A great moment. Super sharp. Dynamic photo.
Comprehensive exposition.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-02-15 23:07]

What fantastic timing, Loot!
All your planning payed off. An amazing stop-watch moment.
Beautiful definition of the muscles and beautiful form.
She looks like she should be getting a gold medal for something or other.
What athleticism.
Great job, and TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-02-15 23:30]

Hello Loot,
A fantastic capture of this Impala that surely deserves two olympic medals, one for sprint and one for high jump! It must be wonderful to see these elegant animal romping around in the wild! Excellent timing and very fine details and colours. A beautiful lush green background too.
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2010-02-15 23:43]

Hello Loot,

What a pose, and what a lovely animal.
Wonderful detailed picture, great action shot.
Color and presentation are very nice.
Very well done.

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-02-16 0:18]

Hello Loot,
A superb action shot taken with fine timing to show an impala doe landing after a leap. The sharpness, colours and contrasting natural lush green BG all contribute to a high quality image that is well composed too.
Thanks and kind regards,

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2010-02-16 0:26]


Dit is lekker. Wonderful action shot. Crisp focus on a fast moving impala. Duties? What duties?


Ciao Loot, great capture of beautiful fungi creature in fantastic action, splendid light and colors, lovely natural ambientation, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-02-16 1:03]

Hello Loot,
Perfect action photo of this Impala in a great pose. Excellent sharpness and details. Beautiful natural colours. Great POV, DOF and composition.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-02-16 2:19]

Very interesting pose, good timing to capture this action. tfs.

Hi dear Loot ,
Another great work from you.
Excellent shot at interesting moment.
A perfect shot

Kind regards

hello Loot

an excellent action photo of the Impala, photo shooted at
the best moment, with fine POV, superb focus sharpness
and details, beautiful natural colour tones and excellen contrast,

in early february this year Fujifilm launched his new bridge
camera the FinePix HS10, like your Sony he has a BSI CMOS sensor
and like your Sony he can shoot at 10 images per second
but for only 7 images, so in 0.7 seconds, your Sony is
10 images in 1 second, i am excited about that new camera,
being familiar with Fujifilm i think it will be my next camera in spring,



Hello Loot,
Motion Capture Impressive, very good result with 1/320s, beautiful level of brightness and a note really useful. Good job cutting and composition. TFS / regards, Jesús

Dear Loot,
What a lovely surprise to find this gorgeous Lady doing her ballet stuff! If you do not mind, I will copy your photo and send it to our relatives overseas and friends in South Africa to prove the point - I have tried to make – since ever we immigrated to South Africa in 1976: THE IMPALA IS THE MOST GRACEFUL MAMMAL!

The build of the Impala body has obviously evolved from the need to flee!

Many lodge owners / rangers introduce the Impalas condescendingly as “lion fodder”. In all lodges they are served for dinner prepared in all possible ways.

In times of drought they are not fed (too expensive) but shot and converted into Biltong (for non South Africans: air dried meat, similar to viande de grison / Buendnerfleisch in Switzerland)

It is a sensation to watch them clearing a 1,8 m fence without any effort. One expects to see Baryshnikov standing there to catch the Prima Ballerina flying into his arms…

The title of your image “Run, Baby run” made me think of an occurrence on our farm, which might provide an explanation for the behaviour described by you i.e. a buck chasing a female outside the mating season.

I have mentioned somewhere else, that I bottle-raised a baby Impala. As he grew older and bored, I bought from a Lodge a tame female to keep him company. At that time, unknown to us, we was pregnant.

One day, she was “off colour” - and the male youngster pestered her near our front door, where she tried to shelter. A couple of hours later, I saw some tiny hooves sticking out of her. As she was lying down, the bock mounted her. I called my husband; we raced outside, made with our hands a cordon around her, while kicking away the frustrated “lover” with our feet.

So we experienced from a half metre distance the wonder of birth of a baby Impala – while still kicking the demented buck. After the female had eaten all traces of the birth, the male calmed down slightly; but for days we had to protect her from his unwanted amoureuse advances - by locking him into our vegetable garden…

I thank you for a wonderful contribution, allowing TrekNature members to

Have a nice evening
Warm Greetings

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-02-16 8:09]

Hi Loot,
again a splendid catch.
Excellent POV with details that can see very well.
Cordial greetings,

Hi Loot,
it's an acrobatic impala, I love this moment.
Good sharpness, excellent post, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-02-16 11:48]

Hi Loot. Firstly thanks for the intersting notes to go with this Impala what a hard life he has running around after the girls . You wre able to capture a fantastic pose with its rear legs in the air. Its tail looks like a hand brush. Taken with fine detail and such natural colours. well taken TFS.

Hello Loot,
A lovely capture of this superb Impala. A dynamic image with exceptional colours and details. Superb composition and POV.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-16 13:00]

Hi Loot,
Very nice capture of this impala.Excellent timing,POV
and composition.Very well done!
Thanks for posting..

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-02-16 16:03]

Hi Loot,

Wow! An absolutely amazing shot of this Impala who is putting on quite a show. Your planning paid off with a once in a lifetime picture. The whole animal is beautiful but I especially love that tail. Never saw one from this perspective before. Great notes to go with a great image.


Dear Loot
Now this is a sight to turn me a slight, sick green with envy, lucky you! You told me to come along on this specific day, and I lost out big time. You caught this female impala in a great pose, sharp details and great light. Details like the strong muscles, white fluffy tail and the brown colour of the fur is beautifully captured and seen.

That is a very, very cool shot, which creates a thrill. I don't know which I like the most, the moment of the shot or the wonderful story that goes with it. I think I’ll settle for both. The image is well captured and conveys the "story" as per your note effectively. Your image brings nature to life right here in the comfort of our homes. I gladly add two points and a star to this fabulous action shot.

The male in your workshop is an animal in prime condition. The colour of the fur is beautiful, the horns beautifully shaped, the inside of the ears looks soft and fluffy and the black tips at the edges cannot be missed and off course the big bambino eyes is adorable.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful image, together with a wonderful story, making one wish one could see it for yourself. Love.

Hi Loot,

Stunning shot, almost looks like he is busy with his daily stretching exercise. Very well done and thanks for sharing.


Hi MF Loot,

Excellent spotting! Nicely composed and focused, you must have acted fast to snap this.
The focus and clarity looks great, priceless expression/pose too.Inspiring work my friend.
TFS and have a nice night!


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-02-18 15:54]

Hello Loot,
Superb posting as always Loot, when I first saw this wonderful image I was drawn by the impalas strong muscular lines. She reminds me of a gymnast doing a press on the parallel bars. The action captured, composition and colours are great in your wonderful work my friend. Thank you for this unique posting.
PS I think I will post a strange image I captured during the elk rut this past fall.

excellent timing and excellent action capture. congratulations Loot. very beautiful impala gave to you a great pose. you greatly stopped this moment. focus, eyes contact, POV and composition great. natural colors also superb.
notes informative and good as always. I have also Stuart couple's book. It is nice book.
thanks for sharing and thanks for kind words on my previous post.
best regards and have a good night

Hello Loot
very great action shot and what a great timing ! this impala is well captured in his natural habitat, the colors are very superb and the details are very good too
thanks for this beautiful image and interesting note
Have a great WE

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-02-20 4:22]

Hello Loot,
A very interesting animal picture with a highly informative note. You have used us to this double quality of postings. You caught this female Impala in a very funny pose and you have been very clever to wait at one place where you knew she would pass again..
Bravo for this very special posting.
have anice weekend
Kind regards

Hello LOOT, wonderful ACTION shot of this CUTE beauty with nice composition and dynamism.
TFS and regards,

great capture (as usual), TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • Pikkie (44)
  • [2010-02-22 10:43]

Hello Loot,
Stunning shot. I like the movement you captured. Looks like it is doing gymnastics. Great color with the fading background. Very well done and thanks for sharing.

Hi Loot,
I almost can't find words to tell how much I like this superb action shot where the impala's quite sharp and the background is blurred so well, beautiful use of panning effect. I never thought a photo like this one is possible with 1/320 and such great exposure... Bombastic image MF, something to be proud of. Bravo. At the same time also tfs the interesting note, You're a great teacher on TN, and I mean not only photographically. Excellent job.
Friendly regards while waiting for the European spring, László

Dear Prof Loot,
Great touch down and take off shot of a female Impala in the wilderness of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi (I do not know how to enunciate it !). Yet to understand what saves these incredible creatures from not getting prolapsed intervertebral discs/osteoarthritis of the joints or may be they do get it and subsequently eliminated by the savannahs' intelligent predators before it becomes severe and obvious within the explicable sense of so called highly evolved humans………!
I had been thinking about my once upon dream car “Impala” after seeing this animal and realized this was probably most suitable name Chevrolet could have had given to their fast moving an elegant inanimate equivalent machine on the ground.
You were very meticulous & precise in grabbing the forelegs based touch down moment of this flying quadruped. The object stands out well against the faded background like a left hander’s tick sign (correction mark) in almost 3D manner. The photographer notes are quite educative. TFS
Regards-Yours aye "Subhash"

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-03-08 17:55]

Hello Loot,
What a neat capture you have posted here. This is definitely a pose that you don't get to see very often. The sleek body structure and beautiful coat can truly be appreciated when viewing this fine image.
Love the way the tail is streatched out and you can see every hair captured in flight. The photo actually has a 3D appearance to it. Super shot!!

Hello Loot,
I'm really impressed by the sharpness of this photo of an impala on the run ,photo taken with only 1/320sec !
Excellent timing

Right time, right place, right situation. When these three come together a good photo can be guaranteed! And, indeed, this is a great photo. The image is sharp and the colours natural and you have action, ingredients for a great photo. Well done.

Howzit Loot,
Perfect timing for a great action shot.Pinsharp image showing the muscular structure in the rump.Dont want to get in that kicks way!Well done.

Wow, very cool! Nice shot of it running!! It's like you stopped time...

Very cool action pose Loot, this is the first impala I've ever seen that does handstands ;-))
Excellent info as always,
Well done old friend.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2010-08-30 5:38]

Hi, dear friend.
I am too busy to follow your fantastic shots as well as other pictures of my TN friends. However, time to time I have rare opportunity.

I love cheetah from childhood. This is my favorite animals. I also like their typical prey - the charming impala. It is difficult to imagine more impressive moment which describe the beautifulness, gracefulness of the species. Extraordinary shot, Bravo.

You know Loot, I can achieve this effect in a macro, but how did you achieve this ( the moving BG and the perfectly sharp subject!!) in this shot?
Stunning, my dear friend....
I hope to be back regularly, I'm trying my best to get out of this depression...

Hi Loot

"... motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time en.wikipedia.org.."

Tail: Do impalas use their tail for balance?



Hello Loot,
Superb and lovely action shot! i also wish you and your family a happy Christmas!
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • Kasek Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 13 N: 50] (284)
  • [2011-06-11 3:25]

This is really fantastic photo, amazing timing, it looks great. Well done.

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