Eland Herd Pauses

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Now and again one is blessed with sighting of a herd of Eland (Tragelaphus oryx) in the Mana Pools areas. This herd seems to be predominantly male, but sometimes one encounters large nursery herds. The Eland is not a fast moving beast, basically being able to maintain a trot rate over several kilometers of about 35 kph, but rarely does so. Eland have the bulk of a domestic cow (and in fact were bred in captivity for their meat in Zimbabwe at one time). They are generally slower than other plains antelope, which might suggest this makes them a favourite for predators, but like the Kudu, the Eland is an incredibly high jumper. An Eland’s defense against predators is not in flight, but engagement, sometimes by mobbing and chasing off the predator.
Population Trend : Stable; Threat: Least ConcernSource IUCN
(Canon EOS 5D Mk III/ EF100-400mm IS II USM; 1/3000 sec; f/5.6; ISO 640; 371mm)

Picture ©2016 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Photography Terms
Absolute Resolution is the horizontal and vertical pixel count of a camera’s sensor express as a multiplication of the two parameters usually expressed in megapixels.

“And young people who are learning digital skills discover that the real challenge is coming up with an image that resonates, first of all, with yourself and hopefully, with an audience. They can learn all these new techniques and think that they’re easier to use, but creating great images isn’t about the tools.”

– Jerry Uelsmann

Eland Couple

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The bush had thickened up a bit in Mana Pools after good rains, and there was lots of water in pans south of the river. This means fewer animals browsing or grazing with exception of the normal suspects, such as impala and elephants. These two eland (Tregelaphus oryx) were an exceptional sighting, since most of the eland herds appear to be to the south in the thick jesse. This is a little strange since eland can go indefinitely without water, so there absence near the flood plains may have been driven by food availability. Eland browse and graze, moving to grass or ground covers when the browsing potential is reduced.
(Canon EOS 7D Mark /EF70-200mm IS II USM; 1/500 sec; f/8; ISO 1000; 560mm)

Picture ©2014 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips

Get to know your focusing system on your camera. Standard DSLR cameras usually off three autofocus modes, one shot, AI servo and AI focus. When in the field and shooting wildlife, your subject will vary its movement considerably, between standing still and running. This is a little unpredictable so use the AI Focus when using auto-focus which will switch between one shot focusing and AI Servo (continually focusing) automatically.

More Eland

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This is another record shot of an eland antelope (Tragelaphus orxy) missing its tail tufts. Notice the happy ox pecker on the back of the antelope. The photographer recalls seeing eland (and sable antelope, for that matter) in the Chimanimani range of mountains during his youth. This eland, which is still widespread and reasonable common in Zimbabwe was captured on camera in the Mana Pools National Park
(Canon 50D; f/5.6; 1/250sec; ISO-100; 250mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography

Digital Wildlife Photographic Tips

Whenever possible, always use some form of support for your camera, be this a tripod, the fork of a tree, or the edge of your car window with a bean bag. While opportunity does not always allow the use of supports, they clearly help you produce better, sharper images. Where supports are used, you obviously have more time to compose and focus. Use you manual focus rather than auto-focus.

Eland Female


This Eland (Tragelaphus oryx) was spotted, alone, alongside a road within Mana Pools park. It appears to have a bad, clouded right eye and was missing a tuft on its tail, giving the impression of some past, perhaps, lucky escape, possibly from predators! The eland is the largest of the African antelopes and, like its impala cousins, they feed by both browsing and grazing, enabling better survival during extremes. While closely related to the oryx, the eland would not be found in similar desert territory, although they share similar ability to go without water for extended periods, some say indefinitely in the case of the eland. During the 1970s the then Department of Wildlife in Rhodesia successfully bred Eland at Mushandike, near Masvingo as an experiment to test viability of potential farm rearing (for meat and skins) of this magnificent antelope.
(Canon 7D; f/5.6; 1/250sec; ISO-200; 310mm)

Picture ©2011 Andrew Field – Simply Wild Photography