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Gelada family

Gelada family
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-03
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos, Family Matters 3, Bayram's Favorites-2, Mammals of Africa I [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-12-21 8:35
Viewed: 6529
Points: 78
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hello friends,
Another photo of the Gelada Baboons (Theropithecus gelada). A small family within the large group of hundreds of baboons who were surrounding us. They were sitting on the edge of a steep cliff in the Semien Mountains.
This time some information about their social structure.

Their handsome appearance and the beauty of their habitat is one thing, but perhaps the most fascinating aspect of these creatures is their social structure which is the most complex in the animal kingdom after that of man. You see them grouped into herds of up to 400 or so individuals, each of which is made up in turn of "harems", which are groups of from two to eight females and young ones with one dominant male and often one hanger-on called a "follower", who ingratiates himself with the juvenile females, with a view to enticing them away in due course and forming his own harem. Harem owning males do not attempt to steal each others' wives.

Young males get together in groups from the age when they finally leave their mothers until they are mature enough to become a follower. These various social groups all move and feed together, only occasionally leaving the herd if food supplies demand it. They travel about three miles a day while feeding, and sleep on ledges on the cliff face wherever they happen to be when night falls.

The harem is a very close family unit. Ninety-five percent of the social interactions of adults are with other members of the same harem. Only juveniles and babies cross the invisible boundaries to play with others of their own age. Unlike the Hamadryas baboon, where the harem is kept together by male agression, the Gelada harem is run more or less by solidarity between the females. It is they who decide in which direction they will feed, it is they who instantly rally together if their male should threaten any one of them because she strayed too near another male!

Only one of the females has a strong relation- ship with the male at any given time. But they all groom each other as well as him and thus establish a jealousy-free harmonious relationship with each other.

For a young male to acquire a harem of his own is quite a long and difficult process. He starts off when he is about two leaving his mother's harem in favour of play groups of other juveniles. By the age of three he starts playing around with the younger members of the all-male groups, and at four he things of nothing else but joining one (which is not always easy as the groups are very tight and do not readily welcome new members). Having succeeded he settles down to life as a bachelor sub-adult in his group. When he is about five or six, he begins to show an interest in the harems again. He doesn't want to anger the adult male of any harem so he confines his activities to following along, occasionally grooming with the male but mainly amusing himself with the young females - the ones too young to cause jealous feelings in the old male. Should the old male die or become weak, the young one will take his place, but it is more common for the youngster just to gradually withdraw taking with him several of the young females. This is not a sudden break - the one group just spends progressively more time on its own. The male then sets about getting a few more females from other harems - young females belonging to a harem with no follower may join him before their father takes an interest in them.

(Source: Selamta.net)

eng55, siggi, nglen, jaycee, manyee, micica, bahadir, Silvio2006, uleko, rousettus, xTauruSx, boreocypriensis, Juyona, pilonm, CeltickRanger, trekks, ramthakur, sandpiper2, SunToucher, marhowie, maurydv, SelenE, ferranjlloret, Evelynn, Argus, valy67, hester has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Peter,
what a strange family - haha, I love that guy - second from left - most! What a mine, what a pose, excellent shot, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Leuk Ethiopisch gezelschap, Peter.
Met een complexe sociale structuur. Dit is waarschijnlijk heel moeilijk te bestuderen.
'Mooie' bavianensoort vooral door die donkerbruine kleuren plus die rode partijen...

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-12-21 9:13]

Hi Peter,
What a cute family,they seem thoughtful.May be they are thinking about the economical crisis:)
Lov level POV,exposure,details and composition are perfect.Excellent work!
Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-12-21 9:34]

Hello Peter,
Outstanding shot of this Gelada Baboons family
with very impressive sharpness and clarity. Great expression captured and I like the way the OOF Baboons is trying to get attention. Excellent DOF, POV and composition.
Best regards Siggi

hello Peter,
very nice capture , good light and colours !

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-12-21 10:35]

Hi Peter. Firstly thanks for the interesting notes. What a fantastic pose from the Baboons. They all have the same look on their faces. Good detail and natural colours in the fur. The young ones look very cute. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-12-21 11:24]

Hi Peter,

A wonderful family portrait - how did you get them to pose for you like this? They have very worried expressions on their faces - the little one is so cute but he looks frightened. The facial expressions are superb. I found your notes to be extremely interesting. TFS


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-12-21 11:29]

Hi Peter,
These baboons have really amazing faces.
What a great family scene, with the baby in the middle.
Very sharp details, and I like the clean BG.
I enjoyed the informative notes very much as well.
TFS. : )

hi peter,wow this is an amazing picture. the composition and sharpness, the pov and dov is excellent! this is such a wonderful capture. very natural colors. what to say more...it's perfect!tfs.

Merhaba Peter,ne sevimli bir aile portresi.Geniş bir aile sanırım.O aradan bakan yumurcak ne kadar sevimli,süper :)

Hello Peter, great shot of this happy Gelada family. i love it.
TFS and regards,

Hi Peter, fascinating family portrait with fantastic expression, splendid capture, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-12-21 12:30]

Hello Peter,
Fantastic family portrait of these fascinating Baboons in beautiful thick coats.
Excellent details showing their interesting features and fine natural colours. Very well composed and a very good note too!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hallo Peter
wonderful scene for famous Gelada Baboons' family. splendid composition and focus. POV and eyes contact also super. thanks for sharing, best wishes

great family, TFS Ori

Hello Peter, perfect and lovely shot of these baboons with nice DOF/POV and composition.
TFS and greetings,

  • Great 
  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2008-12-21 14:19]

Hi Peter
very nice family
very good sharp and detail
well done.

hahaha... what a lovely capture of these beautiful baboons my dear friend! great and sifferent facial expressions in one shot. i loved this... and of course it is going to my theme of favs.
TFS this great image.


Hello Peter

I never met the Gelada family before, but you have taken a lovely family portrait of them for us. LOL
A wonderful POV for this the details are super.
Excellent focus and sharpness.
The colours appear natural.
Great job.


  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-12-22 0:57]

Hola amigo,
interesante trabajo,
fino retrato y buen foco...
saludos Peter.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-12-22 5:43]

Hello Peter,
Very nice and good shot. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2008-12-22 14:10]

Hello Peter,

Wow! What a fantastic picture of this Baboon family! The quality of the image is impressive (the D300 is such a great camera!!!) and you managed to got a great pov (Peter Z is such a great photographer!!! ;-) ). Excellent exposition management and splendid natural colors! The only thing maybe is that some grass interfere with the eyes of the first baby.

Also your composition is perfect!!!

Great job and TFS!!!

Michel (great note also!!!)

  • Great 
  • RP1 Gold Star Critiquer [C: 154 W: 1 N: 6] (251)
  • [2008-12-22 14:29]

Hi Peter,
Superb family of baboons. Colours and composition are perfect.

hello Peter

WOW ! what beautiful shot of the Gelada Baboons family,
fine POV, excellent contrast, excellent sharpness and details,
and what a wonderful eye-contact of the baby with you, TFS


hi Peter

This must be one of my favorite shots on TN for this week. Very nice composition with the crop on the bottom green plant and giving balanced proportion to the plain sky monotone for your backdrop.

The monkeys are of course the stars in this capture, with the unique looking eyes and color of the hair and pinkish body.

It looks like you did not disturb them too much because some of them were not looking this way, unguarded.

tfs, bill

Wow, this is a glorious family portrait of these note-worthy Baboons from Ethiopia, Peter.
I must rate this as a prize shot from your trip.
Each individual in this family has a personality which comes through strongly in this well managed shot.
Thanks and all the best.

Hi Peter

Great note, great composition, it really brings the note to life.

I hope you and your family have a safe and happy festive season.


  • Great 
  • Rosa Gold Star Critiquer [C: 56 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-12-23 2:44]

Hello Peter,
Great capture of great faces.
Great work.
Merry Christmas

Hoi Peter,
Wat een prachtig familie portret. Je kunt echt zien dat men voor elkaar zorgt. De verschillende uitdrukkingen zijn echt prachtig, en ja het mannetje/vrouwtje links is natuurlijk erg grappig.
Het detail in hun vacht is super en het is vooral mooi om elke haar te kunnen zien die afsteken tegen de lucht. Je lage positie is indrukwekkend en maakt voor mij de foto alleen maar beter.

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-12-23 3:37]

Hello Peter,
Great capture.POV,lighting,BG,pose of Baboons and details are excellent.TFS

Hi Peter,
Wonderful image mf. Love the "thinker" off-center left..He looks like he's contemplating his next move :)
Very nice detail, DOF, color, and exposure - Great POV.
Happy Holidays,

Ciao Peter,
spettacolare immagine di questo gruppo familiare, eccellenti POV basso e composizione per le belle posture e le diverse espressioni dello sguardo, ottima definizione, belli e naturali i colori.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-12-23 8:40]

Hi Peter,
Another very nice family portrait :o) I like the expressions you captured a lot, especially the baby's! TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2008-12-23 11:37]

Hallo Peter, Het is een schitterende familie foto , vooral de gezichts uitdrukkingen en mooie compositie , Groeten en fijne kerstdagen en een goed 2009 .Teunie .

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-12-23 14:45]

Hi Peter,
a superb shot of this Baboon family :-)
Very good sharpness.
Great poses.
Superb composition.

Well done,

You managed wonderful sharpness in the shot Peter. Their faces are so expressive. Nice work.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-12-28 22:52]

Hello Peter,
I missed this charming family portrait of a group of Gelada Baboons. I like the poses, expresions and composition. It looks like as with humans, the women get together to gossip!
An excellent shot and tnanks for sharing it!
Kind regards,

Hello Peter !
Wow, great picture ! Excellent sharpness and details on the fur and the faces, nice natural colors, beautiful composition and POV, but what I like most is the expressions on their faces, you have really captured them very brilliantly. The one holding his head with his hand, and a finger stretched up, is fantastic. Very well done !

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-12-31 10:27]

Hi Peter

It looks like they have post Christmas blues! I love the expressions and poses. Beautifully exposed and great focus. Lovely work

All the best for 2009


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