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Chaos at the Waterhole

Chaos at the  Waterhole
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: 2008-10-10
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/1250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Travelogue: Namibia
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-10-29 9:06
Viewed: 4778
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
We were sitting watching a mixed group of animals at Nauses waterhole when I heard a noise and the animals scattered at speed - I thought 'That sounds like the 'bark' of a ..... leopard' as it strolled into view. Basically it had been spotted, so showed itself and wandered off. The last animal I had expected to see was a leopard!!

This is a cropped shot taken from the car window - I wondered what the pink object was so I have done an even more extreme crop and put it into the workshop.

Etosha was first established in 1907, when Namibia was a German colony known as South West Africa. At the time, the park’s original 100,000 km˛ (38,500 mile˛) made it the largest game reserve in the world. Due to political changes since its original establishment, the park is now slightly less than a quarter of its original area, but still remains a very large and significant area in which wildlife is protected.

The Etosha Pan dominates the park. The salt pan desert is roughly 130 km long and as wide as 50 km in places. The salt pan is usually dry, but fills with water briefly in the summer, when it attracts pelicans and flamingos in particular. Perennial springs attract a variety of animals and birds throughout the year, including the endangered Black Rhinoceros and the endemic Black-faced Impala.

In the dry season, winds blowing across the salt pan pick up saline dust and carry it across the country and out over the southern Atlantic. This salt enrichment provides minerals to the soil downwind of the pan on which some wildlife depends, though the salinity also creates challenges to farming.

The Etosha Pan was one of several sites throughout southern Africa in the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000). Using satellites, aircraft, and ground-based data from sites such as Etosha, partners in this program collected a wide variety of data on aerosols, land cover, and other characteristics of the land and atmosphere to study and understand the interactions between people and the natural environment.

A long fence has been erected along the park’s 850 km boundary to control the spreading of disease. The animals concentrate around the new waterholes, resulting in excessive grazing in their vicinity. Fifty waterholes have been constructed to attract animals and so improve the viewing prospect for visitors.

robindb, Evelynn, horia, eqshannon, siggi, nglen, boreocypriensis, Heaven, CeltickRanger, Adanac, Dis. Ac., ramthakur, albert, goldyrs, vanderschelden, OldElephant has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
unusual rocks in Etoshawinterpalace 1 11-14 00:35
To ramthakur: My eyes are getting bad!Jamesp 1 10-30 01:13
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi James,

You could not have had a beter visitor to the waterhole. Good detail and composition. I like the surrounding rocks and grass giving us an idea of the area. Good note as well, pity that they have trebled the accommodation cost there.


I can tell you were excited with this discovery. Who wouldn't be? It seems so often the case that while our adrenalin and hearts are pumping the animal is nonchalantly ambling along. Then it disappears and we are left wondering what happened. Did we actually get a shot off? There's no going back and retaking it. The scene is etched permanently in our brains. Because we return often to the same parks we both instantly point out the places where we got this shot or that shot...shots that will never be forgotten nor repeated. You captured the feeling of the moment in this sharp, well exposed image. You obviously were ready. The tongue is a nice touch too.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-10-29 9:37]

Hi again James

A truly magnificent moment captured here...seeing a wild leopard coming down for a drink is quite rare :)
To be perfectly honest, i think i like the Workshop better than the original shot :) But the really funny thing is this: i opened the WS and kept looking for something pink there besides its tongue...i was looking for any little element in the FG or the BG...a tiny little thing there that is supposed to be pink. I even called my girlfriend...thought that i couldn't see it because of my color problem. Then it came to me: the tongue itself, you jackass!!! :)))
Anyway, this is a terrific shot and a pleasure to see.

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2008-10-29 9:55]

hi james,
congrats for sighting and capturing such a beautiful and intelligent leopard which here nicely poised, looks so majestically in nice lighting conditions. your composition (cropped) could have been better, reducing the foreground and including more of those rocks, which are complementing the colors of leopard. tfs.

Very sharp image...Actually I kind of figured it was the tongue in this one, but it is a good way to get a tighter crop in as well by workshop.
That doggone gear of yours pays for itself not in dollars but in enjoyment. Very much appreciated...This is among the neatest of cats of which I have seen...We saw our share of cougar, but they have a much more vicious look about them and because of the almost monotone brownish, the muscles show real well...yet in the leopard, the natural patterns really enhance,..not to say that this is more than likely as vicious as a mountain lion..

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-10-29 10:33]

Hello James,
Very beautiful photo of this Leopard. Great sharpness and beautiful natural colours in a very good composition. The WS is also excellent, but in this photo it's more a part of the surroundings. It's more natural - a good choice.

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  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-10-29 11:07]

Hello James,
Fine details in this wonderful animal!
It is good to see the leopard is in fine shape, well fed and with a nicely groomed fur coat.This is a nice composition,with attractive
colours and details!
Best regards Siggi

A nice and lovely capture of this leopard James. Perfect...
TFS and regards, Bahadır

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-10-29 12:09]

Hi James. I should love to see a big cat in the wild and not in a zoo or park .They look so healthy and fit. Very detail in the markings. well done TFS.
Nick.. Ineterstig notes too.

Hi My Big Bro James,
A great timely capture that you cathed the tongue :) Funny indeed. TFS this fine image.

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  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2008-10-29 12:53]

Hi James!

You present us a marvellous wildlife picture, as usually accompanied by interesting and detailed notes. The animal is impressive and is well integrated in this harsh nature, although it is a little bit lost among all these rocks and the grass. I agree with Horia that the picture in the WS is at least as fascinating, giving a better impression of the wonderful animal.

Kind regards


hello James

and this one is the second shot i choosed to critique,
another great image, with fine POV, DOF and framing,
again i love that the animal it is a little bit from far
we can see his environement, beautiful luminosity
of the image, excellent sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-10-29 19:29]

Hi James,
Next trip can I hide in your luggage, I would love to see this kind of wildlife once before I die. This is an outstanding image with great quality all around, thanks James.

Hello James

What a super capture.
It is amazing.
Excellent focus and detail.
Nicely composed ,the setting is lovely.

Great job.


hi James,
You have tralled a lot and that results in great pictures like this one.
I have been seen this animal in the zoo.
You captured him very well.


James, I knew what the pink thing was :)!
The Leopard was licking its lips, obviously.
In this series, you seem to have had a field day of subjects at the water-hole.
This is a wonderful shot of the Leopard withdrawing from the melee.
Thanks and regards.

Hello James
Great photo of a exciting moment,lucky you were! it's not often that one can see a leopard in Etosha!

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-10-30 5:44]

Hello James,
I have seen such a photo in discovery channel.
You seem to have spotted the treasure here.
Lovely sharpness and a great clarity. Thanks for sharing this beauty. Ganesh

In your notes you wrote: "Basically it had been spotted, so showed itself and wandered off." ha ha Spotted...leopard...get it! ha ha
OK, I'm a dork.

Great moment you captured here. How very exciting!!!! Does your heart beat a little faster on these occasions? I know mine would.

Absolutely wonderful shot. You captured an attitude in the stride. I like the 'slurp' of the tongue as if to say this cat has seen supper.

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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-10-31 14:25]

Very sharp and crisp capture of this Leopard.
The composition is very good.
Nice lighting.
Superb notes.

Well done James!


What an amazing shot of this big cat, James!
And it seems to have just had a wonderful meal, what with it licking it's lips...Or is it the anticipation of a good meal that's making it salivate?
I wonder!
A very shy cat on perfect display here, my friend!

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-11-02 12:49]

Hello James, pretty impressive shot! Great colors and textures and a well done composition, very sharp and clear. Thanks!


Hello James,
Excellent written material. That's the leopard, you don't expect it and there's it is...
I thought this was his tongue actually:-). But I like the workshop photo very much. Both are very good but I prefer the crop. So, excellent photos as well...
Thanks for sharing

Hi James
An exiting document depicting life at an African waterhole.
Cheers Verite

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