Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 07/11/2011

Nibbled to death by an okapi*


Cheetah, originally uploaded by http://andrewskelton.net.

Sita the cheetah, what more can I write about these elegant creatures than I’ve already said… actually probably quite a lot, but not today. I was browsing a nature site recently which had an article on the extinct Thylacine, Tasmanian tiger** .. and in many ways it reminds me of an okapi but of the cat world. If you’ve ever seen an okapi up close (don,t worry if you’ve missed out the personal bit, up close will do for now) then you will know (and appreciate) what an odd animal it is. Related to the Giraffe, but with a much smaller neck, it’s head is highly reminiscent of it’s loftier relatives. It’s deep chestnut coat looks like it’s made of the finest velvet and yet it’s long slender legs look make it look like it’s getting ready to go to a fancy dress party as a zebra. I’m a Darwinist but sometimes these animals are SO weird that you have to believe some ineffable force took all the left overs and stuck them together – look at the Platypus, for example, or the Aye-Aye.

I have yet to take a satisfactory photo of an okapi, they are generally a nervous creature that shy away from human contact, even in zoos though the real issue stopping my capturing this animal “on film” is again my equipment. As you can appreciate, and mentioned yesterday, using the 600mm on a large animal close up allows you to capture close up detail and not the whole animal. With the successes of th 5D at Dartmoor Zoo, I may well be taking it out and about more often to allow me to use wider lenses.

My ultimate photo, using a wide angle lens, would be of a fully grown White Rhino (or even a One Horned Rhino) where I would be down low looking up at the animal (their head is angled towards the ground, so I would have to be laying on my stomach) with a nice blue sky behind it. At the moment, that rules out the UK all together as the sky is anything but, so it’s time to start planning another photo tour.

I haven’t made any progress on the website this last week, Dear Reader, but I really must make the effort as Christmas is coming and some sucker.. I mean discerning person might want to buy one (or more) of my photos as a present for a loved one (or more likely someone they really despise). Time to sort through the 180,000 digital images I have.

*This was from The Damned’s Machine Gun Etiquette album and refered to an outfit Captain Sensible used to wear.

**The last living example having died out in the 20th Century

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