Photo Essay

Gazelles: Ever Poised & Graceful Even In Captivity!

Poise Personified..(The Goitered Gazelle)

Gazelles are perhaps the most graceful and composed animals you'll ever come across in the wild, or at your neighborhood Zoo.

Conversely, they are certainly among the fastest in that they are able to reach high speeds (as high as 50 miles per hour according to researchers) for long periods. They are, however, very suspicious and withdrawn and will definitely stare you down when they are approached.

This became evident while on a photo shoot at the Miami-Dade Zoo recently. A photographer friend had warned me before hand that it's all in how you approach these poised animals.

"When you arrive at a Zoo exhibit, don't begin clicking away like a rabbit in heat" he said. "Sit for about fifteen to twenty minutes to give the animals a chance to size you up. You'll be surprise at how accommodating these caged animals can be," he added.

Size me up? An animal sizing me up? I thought he was out of his freaking mind, quite frankly, but boy was I ever so wrong. On my way to the Gazelle exhibit, I watched another photographer as he raced ahead of me laden down with a compliment of lens, camera bag and a tripod looking ever so much like Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (1989). Sure enough within seconds, he was gleefully clicking away like a rat in a cheese factory. With each click, however, the five Gazelles in the enclosure just seem to retreat into the background until they were all but hidden, or had repositioned themselves inside the enclosure in such a way as if to say to the Photographer ..."Take a picture of this, Jack _ _ _"

After about thirty minutes, the disappointed Photog packed his gear and headed off to the next exhibition. Within minutes of his departure and, like clockwork, the Gazelles slowly returned to the center of the compound to await the next Jack_ _ _ (I suppose) to repeat the process.

"...I was not going to be that Jack _ _ _ " I thought to myself as I was now forced to follow my friend's advice.

Now it was my turn. I approached the Gazelle enclosure and very quitely sat as they raised their heads from grazing as if to Size Me Up. We stared ~ me at them, and they at me ~ for at least ten minutes or so. After about twenty minutes, the five Gazelles came even closer allowing me the opportunity of capturing this very intimate Photo Essay.

Is there a moral to this story? Absolutely!

"...Give everyone (even a caged animal) a little respect, and you'll be surprised how cooperative they can be..."

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1 response

  • Blair Wainman

    Blair Wainman (Deleted) gave props (2 Jun 2009):

    Very interesting and well-written essay!! Puts you right into the arena with you!

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