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How the Elephant got his Trunk

How the Elephant  got his Trunk
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-12-30
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 1D Mark II, Canon 70-200 f 2.8 L USM
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Alex99 favorite photos, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos, Open Up ...Part I [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-02-25 4:37
Viewed: 9118
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Wild crocodile on the shores of Lake Abaya.

For those of you who don't know, the title is that of one of the 'Just So' stories by Rudyard Kipling.

'In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn't pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant—a new Elephant — an Elephant's Child — who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions…

One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes this 'satiable Elephant's Child asked a new fine question that he had never asked before. He asked, "What does the crocodile have for dinner?" Then everybody said, "Hush!" in a loud and dredful tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without stopping, for a long time.

By and by, when that was finished, he came upon Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thornbush, and he said, "My father has spanked me, and my mother has spanked me; all my aunts and uncles have spanked me for my 'satiable curtiosity; and still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner!"

The Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry, "Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out."

That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent, this 'satiable Elephant's Child took a hundred pounds of bananas (the little short red kind), and a hundred pounds of sugar-cane (the long purple kind), and seventeen melons (the greeny-crackly kind), and said to all his dear families, "Good-bye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the Crocodile has for dinner." And they all spanked him once more for luck, though he asked them most politely to stop.'

Rudyard Kipling 1902 (extract)

to cut the story even shorter - the crocodile grabbed the elephant child's nose and pulled. Eventually - after much pulling - the crocodile let go - but the elephant child's nose was stretched out of shape. He eventually found uses for it - his family were all very envious of his new nose - so they all set out to ask the crocodile to give them new noses too .....and that, Oh best beloved, is how the elephant got his trunk!

If you have not read this, I would recommend it - I read it at school when I was very young - and know the whole thing almost by heart and have entertained my nephews and nieces with it for years.

Anyway, the crocodiles of Lake Abaya are some of the last 'monsters' surviving 'en masse' - most are 3m+ and many are 4m+

I took this from a small boat and was quite pleased to get the eye.

The Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is one of the four species of crocodiles found in Africa, and the second largest species of crocodile. Nile crocodiles can be found throughout most of Africa south of the Sahara, and on the island of Madagascar. The Nile crocodile can, and sometimes will, easily snatch and devour a human. While it is no longer threatened with extinction as a species, the population in many countries is in danger of vanishing.

joey, Argus, boreocypriensis, Alex99, NinaM, jaycee, cataclysta, peter_stoeckl, horia, CeltickRanger, Adanac, albert, JPlumb, rousettus, zulfu, vmukherjee has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-02-25 5:52]

Very impressive shot of this MASSIVE croc!
I can almost feel the texture of rough scales.
Impeccable detail and sharpness.
Great composition.
I love the pose with the gaping mouth.
Great work!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-02-25 6:15]

Hello James,
I loved the Just-so stories when I was a boy: thanks for the reminder!
This is an impressive capture of a Nile Croc in superb lighting to show his eyes and gaping jaws in the best possible way.
Thanks for sharing this one,

Hello James,
An excellent capture of this gapped-mouth crocodile with excelent details, sharpnes, lighting and clarity friend. TFS and Regards,


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-02-25 9:10]

Hi James.
This is fantastic and my favorite shot. I shake with fear also admiration at the same time. All is simply outstanding. And POV and cropping, and 3D-effect and terrific truth of reproduction. I cannot image the best work. My congratulations and thanks.

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-02-25 9:26]

Hi James, what a great post! I love the story of Kipling, never read it. Little French children aren't told Kipling's stories, they should! As for the picture you show us, it is terrible, frightening yet beautiful. I feel I am looking in time. Thanks James!


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-02-25 9:29]

Hi James,

I have never seen inside a crocodile's mouth before. How did you get this shot? Amazing details on this - we can count the teeth. The skin is fantastic. A wonderful wonderful picture.


Wow, James...
A close encounter...I want to see your nose in the workshop:-), another reason for me to go back to the Limpopo river.
Actually it is a very good image!
You got the eye...you got everything actually.

Hello James,
Oh! this is a huge crocodile indeed!
very good pov for the close up shot to see the full details in it's mouth!
perfect exposure and focus with good colour and details
well done and a good notes
best regards

Hi James
Great POV good exposure (but maybe you could use little higlights reduction) Good compositionj and sharpness, perfect background
Best wishes

Hi James,
majestic animal in magnificent pose, perfect approach, powerful light, dramatic result. Impressing to see all the details and shades of pink in the darkness of the crocodile's open mouth. Nice story. Thank you!
With best regards,

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-02-25 11:31]

Hi again James

I simply can't stay away from your gallery :))
I made a small rule for myself lately that says that it's better to critique as many people as possible (most of which commented on my photos, too) if i miss a day or two from TN...but here i am braking it because...well...it's a crock :))

It's a funny story - the one in your note - one that i didn't know before...i guess here we had some different stories in this part of the world when i grew up...

This is a splendid close-up and you are right: the eye makes all the difference! It's that spot of color that makes that "cave" of teeth alive :)
Excellent POV and very good sharpness, all under a well controlled exposure.
It's sad to hear that such a majestic animal will soon not be a part of some countries' fauna :((

Cheers and TFS

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-02-25 19:13]

Hello James,
Your great camera work results in this marvelous portrait of this croc and his impressive set of teeth. Great notes as well james, thank you.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-02-26 1:30]

James, You have really written a history here. Nice shot and good lighting. I literally went on counting the teeth (hehe). Good work and well done. Ganesh

Hi James
Excellent photo of this impressive animal!
Good compo and sharp details
Well done

hello James

WOW ! what a great close-up and i can even say portrait shot
of this Nile Crocodile, his mouth open is very impressive,
excellent timing to shoot the image at that moment,
excellent sharpness and details, TFS


Hi James,
This is a nice portrait of this singular animal :)! You had good low POV and captured great details in good composition. He almost looks like he's laughing :) I'll be back to read your note later... Regards,

  • Great 
  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2008-02-26 22:57]

Hi James, nice shot, you got it with it's mouth open, as well as the eye. It's a pretty scary looking creature, not one I'd like to have my nose stretched by. Good distribution of light in this shot, with great colour and excellent sharp detail. I like the close up pose and crop you have. Oh yeah, and I enjoyed the story. This was one of the stories I grew up on too.

Thanks, John

Hello James
excellent portraite of this teeted gigant trunk. Nicely composed and focused. POV, light and composition great. notes also.
TFS, well done
:) be back

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-03-02 2:07]

Hi James, a lovely capture of this crocodile with superb composition, excellent details and sharpnes. TFS. Regards,

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