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Baby Giraffe

Baby Giraffe
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: 2006-02-19
Categories: Mammals, Savannah
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon 55-200mm EF f/4.5-5.6 II USM, Digital ISO 400, UV 52mm Marumi
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1600 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Mammals of Southern Africa, Giraffas, Wild Life, Baby Animals 4, Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Africa, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park 1, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-03-07 10:51
Viewed: 24286
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Southern giraffe - Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa

Taken near the Gengeni gate in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. This baby was only a couple of days old since the umbilical cord can still clearly be seen hanging below its tummy. A baby giraffe is something remarkable to behold; with its bright colours, extra long eyelashes, paint-brush like hair on the little horns, and its clumsy walk or gallop.

I was so close to this little one, I had to remove my 500mm lens and switch to the 200mm lens. At 130mm focal distance and f/5.6 there was not much hope to achieve a totally out of focus background. Possibly the soft background do lend some atmosphere to the photo though. I would like to hear your opinions & critiques on this issue.

It was late afternoon on another cloudy day and the little sun there was, was near its last rays.

My notes only cover the Description and Reproduction aspects. I will provide more complete notes on Distribution, Status, Habitat, Behaviour, and Food with a later posting (sometime in the future).


The name giraffe is derived from the Arabic word 'xirapha' which translates as 'one who walks swiftly'. It is the world's tallest mammal, has a very long neck and legs, and its body is covered with a beautiful lattice pattern consisting of large, irregularly shaded patches separated by a network of light coloured bands. Colour and structure of the patterning is very variable and several subspecies can be recognised.

There are eight different subspecies:
West African (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta),
Kordofan (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum),
Nubian (Giraffa camelopardalis camelopardalis),
Reticulated (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulate),
Rothschild’s (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi),
Maasai (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi),
Thornicroft’s (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti),
and the Southern (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa).

Old bulls tend to be darker in colour than the females or young ones, this being most marked in the southern subspecies. Both sexes carry one pair of short bony horns on the top of the head. In the northern races additional horns are often present.

A single calf, averaging 100kg, is dropped (±1-1.5m high) after a gestation period of ±450 days. The newly born calf can stand and walk within an hour of birth but remains isolated for ±1-3 weeks. Birthings are concentrated in traditional calving grounds. The concentration of births facilitates the forming of similar age calf groups or crèches. Detailed knowledge of the calving area may also hold some advantage of survival against predators. A giraffe cow will return to the same area to drop her calf each time. Calves join the crèches at some 1-2 weeks after birth. Despite their large size, giraffes, particularly young animals, frequently fall prey to lions, hyaenas and leopards.

Source: "Field Guide to the larger Mammals of Africa" by Chris & Tilde Stuart, Struik Publishers.

Camera settings
ISO setting – 400
Aperture – f/5.6
Shutter speed – 1/1600
Focal length – 130mm

Post Processing done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

SunToucher, carper, coasties, saguzar, scottevers7, Janice, Hoos, dantor, Dyker, oscarromulus, Miss_Piggy, Aaltjie, betsie, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-03-07 11:04]

What a cutie, Loot! (The baby giraffe, that is. : P)
I love the way he turned his head to look at you.
It is amazing that youthful characteristics can be recognized across species. Have you ever thought of that? His facial features, his stance... There is a vulnerable look to him.
A beautiful specimen that you have captured with sharp details and soft light. Excellent POV.
TFS. : )

Hi Loot,
It (sorry, fotgot how you could tell if it is a he or she) even has a baby face expression. I don't mind that the b/g is not completely blurred. It also gives a great DOF I like the position you've catched him/her in, just as if she looked at you and said Hi.

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2006-03-07 12:32]

he is nice Loot.
you have eyecontact with the baby. It's a fantastic capture, good in pov and in a very nice composition, very good job.
gr. jaap

My, what a baby, Loot! Lovely picture.

Very nice close up shot of this baby artiodactyl. I like giraffes a lot, they are so oddly unique looking, I especially love their close cousins the okapis, most people when they see them think they are related to a zebra than the giraffes. :)

Hi Loot

Very nice shot of the 'Tall Blonde". Did you know that the Giraffe is my favourite wild animal? This is a beautiful example of these magnificent beast! :-)

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-03-07 16:00]

Hello Loot , Very good loot hi is a beauty, sharp details colours compositie , thanks for sharing ,Greetings Teunie .

hello Loot,
beautiful young giraffe, the composition is very nice, colours and light are correct.
I see your intro...what´s happenned with your face? Do you have "involutioned"? (he, he)

Who cares about the DOF when you have such an opportunity as that? No critique necessary. What a gift to be that close to a newborn giraffe!...and have him look at you and pose. That is one big baby! ...and one special moment! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Hi Loot,
WOW! what a great sight to see in person! The photo is excellent, but how I would love to see sights like this in person myself. Any baby animal shot is worth 10 points for the cutness factor alone. This looks great! Well done!

Hi Loot,
What a cute face and lovely pose!
Excellent capture, great colour and details.
Thanks for sharing!

Yes, I noticed the umbilical cord there, and thought she was very new. And what a BIG baby, but she does have a baby face, softer and darker eyes. It's a super photo.
And what interesting notes you give us Loot. Thank you...
See the Crusaders won?

This is a lovely baby.
I like the way you take the photo.
Thanks for sharing!

The only thing that could make this shot more perfect would be a blue sky with some puffy clouds. The baby definitely gets points for "cute", but I also like his placement in the frame, the bright green bush, and the horizontal stripes of color provided in the background, well done.

  • Great 
  • Hoos Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 19 W: 0 N: 20] (111)
  • [2006-03-17 0:50]
  • [+]

You always surprise me!! you are really an exc photographer!! i admire your photos!! good job, keep sharing

Nice new baby, Loot. Great pose with its head turned toward you. It must have been quite a thrill to take this picture from not too far.

The soft background makes the subject stand out more.

p.s. I have sent you an email.

GREAT notes.
Such details. Even its umbilical cord is showing. And you have described it so well. I've never seen a 2 day old baby giraffe before.
Looks like it is "posing" just for you.
These vivid colours have been registered with "class".
Greetings from your TRUE friend, Mario.

Dear Loot
A beautiful photograph of this youngster Loot. Great pose from this beautiful animal, with good detail which shows the markings and the umbilical cord so well. This is an outstanding photo my friend, showing it in its natural surroundings. I just wonder where its mom is, since it is quite newly born. It looks so innocent and just look at the big eyes looking back at you. I enjoyed your note as usual. If you did not make mention of the umbilical cord, I would not even have noticed it. Very interesting but also cute picture. I think you managed to capture a very special moment.
Warmest regards

Hello Loot

Wat ek nogal interessant vind met hierdie foto is die kleur van die grass sade. As hierdie kameelperdjie plat sou gaan lê in die gras sou mens haar sweerlik nie kon raak sien nie. Kyk net hoe is die twee die eenderste kleur. Die kleintjie is tog te oulik vir woorde. Die ene varsheid en onskuld. Ek ly nog steeds aan 'n verveeldheids aanval so nou kuier ek maar so bietjie hier in jou argiewe voort.


Hallo Loot
Looking at this image of the baby giraffe reminded me of the notes I gathered for my own posting "Double vision". Now are these animals not remarkable and especially the babies like this one? Just think if our human babies would have to fall approximately 1.8m (6 feet) during birth before hitting the ground, I am sure they will not survive easily. If they had to start walking within the hour I am sure it will be a disaster. Nature is really wonderful and you manage to bring the beauty of it to our homes with your lovely images time and time again. This one is no exception, and this image is even more special showing us the umbilical cord still hanging below its tummy. Once again a beautiful image with lots of details to appreciate. You have captured it so close the baby softness around the face is clearly visible. Kind regards and thanks for sharing.

Wens ek het winpers en boude gehad soos hierdie een. Dan was ek ook dalk so lank en slank!! :-) Mooi foto Loot

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