Kudos to Kudus

On my recent trip to South Africa I kinda fell in love with kudus, a large mammal in the antelope family. They are fairly solitary, but can be found in small bachelor groups, or in a small grouping of females with a large bull nearby protecting his harem.

Kudus are a sort of regal antelope, standing erect, the hair on their striped, coffee-colored backs standing up to give them an even larger appearance. That seems to me to be hardly necessary, since they are huge to begin with, but I guess when you have lions in your backyard you evolve whatever you need to survive. What I love most about them, though, are their amazing, corkscrew horns. South Africans, on the other hand, probably love them more for their steaks, but as a guy who doesn’t eat meat, I wouldn’t know.

In any event, this is a photography site, so let me get back to matters photographic. I had already captured lots of pics of kudus, but on one of my last days at Addo National Park, I was shooting late in the day when something off to the side caught my eye. A lone kudu was ever so slowly climbing a hill and would be soon silhouetted at the crest. Normally I would never shoot the backside of an animal, but there was something about the mood of the shot, so I quickly moved my car along the road and as he climbed I crept ever more in line with where I thought he’d end up when he crested. Voila, in less than a minute I had captured the image I wanted. Well, sort of.

Even as I recorded the image I knew that I wanted to render it in B&W. But after I got home a couple of weeks ago I had a devil of a time deciding how to post-process it. So, here is the sequence of events, leading to the “final” rendition that I kinda like. For me it captures that lonely male at the end of a long day. I’d be very interested in your opinions and critiques, not only of which rendition you like best, but how you might improve the presentations.

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