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The Dung Hunter

The Dung Hunter
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-07-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Digital RAW 100, Hoya UV-Guard (77mm)
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of South Africa 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-08-01 3:31
Viewed: 4852
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Cape Vulture
Gyps coprotheres

Alsno know as: AFR: Kransaasvoël, ENG: Cape Griffon, GER: Kapgeier, FRE: Vautour chassefiente

“coprotheres” is derived from the Greek word “kopros” meaning dung or manure and “thera” meaning to hunt or capture. “gyps” is Greek for a vulture.

The number of Cape vultures has recently been declining at an alarming rate. Because of his, a vulture study group has been established (VSG). The Cape vulture, Gyps coprotheres, is endemic to southern Africa. They live in colonies on often-inaccessible cliffs.

Vultures fly at about 50 kilometres an hour for very long distances in search of carcasses. They float on air currents to save energy. A vulture reaches sexual maturity at between five and six years of age. Their lifespan is about 25 years. They breed in winter, laying only a single egg.

One of the reasons why vultures are struggling to survive is because of starvation. There is a definite decline in game numbers. Another reason is because vultures find pylons irresistible. Perching on them has shocked so many. Eskom (electricity supplier) has tried to create "safe" pylons, but still casualties occur. Farmers, too, are responsible for many vultures' deaths. They poison carcasses and leave them out to kill unwanted predators – instead they affect the vultures. Many farmers believe that vultures transmit dangerous diseases to cattle when they share their drinking water.

Folklore and myths: Not only is the Cape Griffon persecuted by farmers, but the body parts of this culturally significant bird are commonly harvested for use in "muti," or witch-doctor medicine. Among the many myths surrounding the use of vulture parts is the consumption of the bird's brain. The vulture is believed to have clairvoyant properties which explain their ability to find carcasses almost immediately after their death. The individual who consumes the brain supposedly receives the same clairvoyance. Also, possessing the dried foot of a Cape Griffon vulture is believed to bring luck in betting.

I am still trying to improve my in-flight captures and these critters being large and soar slowly makes a nice subject to exercise on. The most important thing I have picked up trying this out is to be very aware of your position, the light and that of the bird. I hope you like this one.

dew77, Janice, chiliu, red45, sway, coasties, PDP, sAner, slrnovice2, klemmg, christophe, wallhalla15, liquidsunshine, deud, Luc, marhowie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To klemmg: Thanx for the word...gerhardt 1 08-01 10:21
To sAner: Thanx for the word...gerhardt 1 08-01 08:15
To Jancie: Thanx for the word...gerhardt 2 08-01 05:08
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-08-01 3:34]

Hello Gerhard!
Wonderful in flight capture.Lighting,POV,details,framing and composition are perfect.TFS...:-)

Hey Gerhard,

Fantastic shot man. What a nice sharp image. This is awesome. Fabulous man.

I hear the boks played well. Way to go man.

Hi Gerhard,
Great capture!
Excellent composition, very good colour and details, good lighting.

Hi Gerhard, he looks very high, I keep wishing I could see more of his face. Doesn't he fly/soar so perfectly? As you say, a good one to practice on. Good exposure and composition, details and colours are super, especially against the blue sky. Well shown, thank you.

Hello Gerhard!
Superb sky! I love this blue!

Great picture, Gerhard.
I like the composition, it's great. Very good details and exposure.
And I also like that you have become a Raw-man, ;-))
Excellent work, my friend.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-08-01 5:05]

Very calm mood Gerhard. Blue sky and majestic pose made this picture. Good colours, perfect composition. Sorry, no one point today ;-) According to Gerhard's New Rule - sure two pts ;-)

  • Great 
  • sway Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 305 W: 85 N: 319] (1276)
  • [2005-08-01 5:31]

Great clear shot. Great compostion.
You have taken this bird well.
Nice details.

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-08-01 6:26]

Hello Gerhard, I love the open space here. I think the vulture is well placed. I like the lighting on the bird with one underwing well lit. As Janice mentioned it would be great if it's head were a little more obvious, either by getting a different POV or luck! All in all a very decent in-flight shot. Well done.

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-08-01 6:49]
  • [+]

Hi Gerhard,

A new way of criticising. I hope you don't mind.


Scale 1-5, 5 is the best.

I was in doubt whether to give 1 or 2 points. I decided to go for 2.


Good light, good focus and plenty of room to fly into. Well done.

Hi Gerhard, impressive capture! I love the light, composition and details so the aspects of photography you are working on atm are really panning out well for you. I agree with others about the head but, lets face it, that is mostly down to luck with flight shots. Beautiful capture, TFS :)

Hij is prachtig man,
hele goede capture, fantastische details in the shot. Goede pov en een prachtige contrast, mooi werk.
gr. Jaap

  • Great 
  • halki Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 242 W: 9 N: 105] (471)
  • [2005-08-01 7:20]

Hi Gerhard!
Excellent flight capture.Details, colours and light perfect...
Thanks for posting

I very much like the composition giving the bird some space to soar, and especially that the bird is placed at one 1/3 position and its gaze is directed to the diagonally opposite 1/3 position. This also gives the direction of its flight space to move in. Very clever! Detail of face and feathers at this distance I find excellent. The light is on the head, it is well-lit, so it stands out and gives the eye a good focus. Very well done!

  • Great 
  • japie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
  • [2005-08-01 11:13]

Hulle pose nooit so mooi vir my nie. Were you lying very still and on your back for a couple of yours to attract them? Well whatever it was, it worked!

The sharpness and composition is very good, but what I like most is the lighting from the side.


Ek kan niks se wat nie alreeds gese is nie. Die foto is ongelooflik. Fantasties om te dink dat jy 23 minute oor twee in die middag die lig onder die vlerk in gekry het. Ek hoop ek sal eendag ook sulke fotos kan neem. Dankie Gerhard.

Hi Gerhard
Excellent Capture, and excellent exposure (blue sky)
In a friendly way Christophe

Hi Gerhard. Very good shot. Great POV and very good details. Excellent colours.

Nicely captured Gerhard,
Nicely composed, good sharp and clear detail. The blue sky looks lovely. The exposure is spot on. Thanks for posting, have a good week.

Hi Gerhard,
I think the exposure is excellent. Good detail in your subject. Superb notes. Would it not be better to fill the frame alittle more with the bird. I tried alot of seagull shots, and I know it is hard.

Hello Gerhard

What an amazing wingspan. The head and neck look so small against the size of the body. Maybe it's the POV, but it looks out of proportion. The clear blue BG is outstanding. Nice light with clar details and good sharpness. I agree with Janice, a closer view to see the face would be nice, but as we know, not always possible. Nice work. Thanks.

Is dit nou "spek skiet" of "iets" soek?? Die titel is die eningste wat bespreek kan word.

Very, very good! I've tried these shots, but no luck yet! Thanks for the post.

  • Great 
  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2005-08-05 6:36]

prairies, indians, cowboys, sun, stones, rivers, forests and of course your bird over all! amazing feel of flight on this shot! great.

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-08-10 4:00]

Sorry Gerhard, I have no time to write a proper comment. I give to you the well deserved smily.

wonderful bird in flight shot Gerhardt. I personally dont like vultures but your photo is very beautiful. TFS!

Hello Gerhard, Guess I missed this one..I have to say it's perfectly composed with an excellent composition and POV/angle of flight captured. Very well exposed, very detailed. A great work.

wow! great photo! great composition and framing.. and u'd captured a great moment! well done!

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