By James Speakman
This is the moment two impalas engaged in synchronised fighting – in perfect symmetry.
Stunning snaps taken by photographer Caron Steele show the two males locking horns and gracefully moving in time as if dancing.
The bachelor group had been asserting themselves as the rutting season gets underway in the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Caron, 53, said: “We stood quietly on the edge watching them and they were creating these mirror images.
“That’s what made me stop to take pictures, I liked the symmetry of it.
“There were dancing around quite a bit before they locked horns. It’s lovely to watch.
“They’re beautiful animals, this was a particularly fine herd. There’s been a lot of rain this year and the grass has been plentiful so they were looking fit and healthy.
“Several of them were fighting. They start off play fighting in pairs but it was getting more aggressive and became more than play fighting by the end.
“They regularly do this but often they’re different sizes or the horns are different sizes. These two were well matched.”
Businesswoman Caron said she spent 30 minutes watching the animals one afternoon last month snapping them with a Nikon D850.
Caron said: “Quite a lot of the time was spent waiting for them to move into a clearing or the shorter grass area.
“The photo I was trying to capture was the one of the backs of their heads where the two sets of horns mimic each other.
“Quite often you get scarring or flies on the face but not on these two – they were very pretty males.
“During the trip the weather wasn’t great. There was a lot of rain and cloud cover but this worked well because it gave us a softer light.
“You go on these trips and are keen to get the leopard and cheetah shots but to me rather than having a portrait I’d rather have an interaction.
“Sometimes you go past the impalas because they’re so numerous. It was nice to get something showing animal behaviour – that’s what I like to capture.
“It’s rutting season so they’re fighting to exert their dominance to attract mates.
“Although not endangered, impalas are such an important part of the eco system – they help keep it going.”
The mum of two has been taking pictures for around four years – particularly wildlife and landscapes.
Caron said: “I studied zoology at Oxford University and then worked in banking and advertising so I lost touch with it. I now find it such a stress relief to be able to sit with wildlife and take pictures.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with some professional photographers and a couple of years ago I spent a week on safari taking pictures for Canon. It snowballed from there really.”