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We were having dinner at the lodge on the riverbank and a fellow guest from Belgium commented that the impala is the most elegant of the African gazelles. I can only concur. Their grace is an ever-present.

This image was taken in the early morning and you can see that the light quality has a golden hue, typical of early morning or evening when the Sun is low in the sky and its light traverses a thicker part of the Earth’s atmosphere. Each animal has its own fight or flight strategy and the impala are no different. We found that when interrupted, impala always stop, remain still and stare, and then approximately 4 secs later make a bolt. This ritual is surprisingly constant and so you can learn how to prepare the shot. Generalising, every type of animal has its own timing and ritual, so expect your keeper rate to improve as you absorb the idiosyncrasies of each.

Shooting face-on generally produces more pleasing images than side-on. So, position yourself accordingly. Second, let the subject stop and start its gaze, then count: one, two, three, shutter down…

Here I could not know which subject would start to run first, but it is unsurprising that is one of the two at either end of the group, otherwise there would be a risk of running into each other. So, what makes this image, other than colour and framing, is getting the moment of the first subject about to make its getaway. Try imaging the same picture with the extreme right impala also standing upright, in static observation. It would be a lesser photo in my opinion.

Technical notes

  • Shutter speed

  • Aperture

  • ISO Sensitivity

    ISO 450
  • Focal length

    800 mm.
  • Date

    26 September 2019


Anthony J. Bradshaw


Nikon D850



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