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Laughing Out Loud

Laughing Out Loud
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-05-06
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 100, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/8, 1/200 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): AnYtHiNg ExTrEmElY hUmOrOuS, Mammals of Southern Africa, Zoo animals, The pictures more views, Animal Portraits II, Funny Faces, !Loodzwaar, Pretoria Zoo 1, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, 80-89 Points I, So Funny, I had to laugh., Intimate Portraits, Open Up ...Part I [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-05-12 17:04
Viewed: 11068
Favorites: 3 [view]
Points: 88
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
MandrillPapio sphinx

Since 1997, the Pretoria Zoo has embarked on a dynamic development programme to secure happy animals and visitors. Visitors to the zoo would have noticed the adrenaline-crazed workmen rebuilding and upgrading at least 40 animal enclosures. When the zoo celebrates its centenary in October, one of the many highlights will be the hosting of the 54th Annual Conference of the World Zoo Organisation and the delegates from 40 countries will not be disappointed. Staff are transforming the zoo into the best, newest and most animal-friendly zoo in the world.

Most of the animal enclosures were built decades ago, but animals behind bars and wires, walking on cement floors, are not happy. Neither are the people who watch them. The redevelopment programme will address the importance of a natural environment and it will enhance the natural behaviour of the animals. It will also provide an element of surprise for the visitor.

The fact that they are working with live animals are hampering the progress as it is not easy to find temporary lodging for the animals. So far no animal had been harmed during the construction phase and that is why this mandrill is Laughing Out Loud. The 19mm thick chemically strengthened "Resistoglass" at the Baboons and Monkeys House did not help much for the quality of this shot though.

Update to the notes - 23/03/2008
At the time when I did this posting, we were still limited to only 3,000 characters with our notes. Therefore I did not have sufficient space to provide all the information I wanted to. Nowadays we have much more freedom and could provide quite extensive notes, if so desired. I still hope that this is not a system error or oversight which may mean that one day if it might be discovered that we will lose all notes longer than 3,000 characters. That will be a train smash of epic proportions.

In his critique, Dr. Subhash Ranjan (sranjan) made the following statement / question, and I quote, "Mandrills are supposed to have big canines (which I do not see here, probably have been extracted leaving evident blank spaces instead)…" unquote.

This was my answer to him (slightly modified though): "You are right of course; these mandrills actually have frighteningly large canines. However, with this guy being in a zoo and being the dominant or alpha male, it seems like he possibly used those canines once too many and the zoo authorities decided to remove it. Since zoo animals live in an unnatural environment their behaviour might not be the same as what it might be in a natural environment or it might not be what the zoo authorities expect (Big Brother is watching). The stress levels of a zoo animal may also be higher than that of a free living animal (I imagine) and therefore more inclined to show aggression. While at the same time an animal under attack in a natural environment would have more space to flee, but in the restricted bounds of a zoo enclosure the escape possibilities are rather impeded and those canines might do much more severe damage than normal. Hopefully the tooth fairy gave him something in exchange though".


Overall build and stature is typical of a baboon, but the face is deeply ridged and brightly coloured with red and blue; most developed in adult males. The buttock area is particularly 'dazzling' in males – a combination of scarlet, pink, purple and lilac. Dorsal pelage is olive-brown, with lighter underparts. A well-developed mane on the head and neck is particularly noticeable in the male. The tail is a short stump.

Additional information
Mandrill canines can measure up to 6.5cm in length, which the male exposes or display in a yawnlike threatening gesture to any rival or predator. Such a wide mouthed display within the troop, is a sign of tension.

Restricted to the Gabon forest block between the Sanaga and Congo rivers, and extending ±400km eastward from the coast.

They suffered drastic declines in recent years, through hunting and habitat loss.

Tropical rainforest, montane forest, thick secondary forest as well as closed bush country.

Terrestrial and arboreal when foraging, but prefer to feed at no more than 5m above the ground. They have a flexible social system, living in single-male harem groups of 15 to 50 individuals, but larger groupings of 200+ have been recorded. Although poorly understood, their complex vocalisations probably serve to maintain contact within the group in the dense habitats they occupy. Their home ranges are believed to cover 30-50km square.

They consume a very wide range of plant foods, as well as invertebrates and small vertebrates.

Births appear to take place throughout the year, with a single young being dropped after a gestation period of ±225 days.

Source: "Field guide to the larger Mammals of Africa", by Chris & Tilde Stuart, Struik Publishers.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

Robespierre, pilonm, Janice, SkyF, timonejoon, jeanpaul, Hoos, greghume, lovenature, coasties, zeca, Dando, scottevers7, marhowie, ellis49, peter_stoeckl, Evelynn, Luc, Athila, elefantino, Snoops, firelord, goutham_ramesh, eruyanik, ddg, odin, segub, Dyker, Aaltjie, Miss_Piggy, sranjan, betsie, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To sranjan: Missing caninesloot 1 03-22 20:08
To Aaltjie: Humbly appreciativeloot 2 02-19 08:56
To Dyker: Contageous laughterloot 1 01-10 01:32
To Xplorator: The look alikesloot 1 07-09 05:18
To SunToucher: The dog box is uncomfortableloot 1 05-18 08:57
To manyee: What a faceloot 2 05-15 01:36
To Janice: Not laughing at me, but...loot 3 05-15 00:16
To peter_stoeckl: Character portraitloot 2 05-14 14:21
To coasties: Green-green glass of homeloot 1 05-14 04:07
To scottevers7: Thanks for not passing uploot 1 05-14 04:02
To Evelynn: Massive missiveloot 1 05-14 03:43
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
What a moment you captured here! Very expressive and natural pose of the mandril.
Despite the glass the sharpness and colours are more than acceptable. Informative note also. Well done.
Regards, Ruud

Hello Loot,
yes, looks like he´s laughing! An excellent moment captured. The colours, flash use and composition are superb.

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2006-05-12 17:16]

Hello Loot,

Impressive picture of that mandrill "laughing out loud"!!! Colors looks so natural to me (and we all know how colorful are those monkeys!) Pov, sharpness, composition and dof cannot be better! TFS this wonderful picture!


Hi Loot.
This mandrill looks like is having a big laught.
You have had a great capyure right here and the colors and details in this fellow are superb.
Excellent POV and BG.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-05-12 17:39]
  • [+]

Hi Loot, you have a very happy Mandrill here. I think he's laughing at you...
The colours are brilliant, they jump out of the photo. He certainly is a beauty, and you show him off superbly my friend, well done,

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-05-12 18:56]

Hi Loot,
what's so funny? ;-). Excellent capture, really looks like this guy just heard a good joke. Great colors and sharp detaisl. Grwat POV and funny pose.

  • Great 
  • osse Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 89] (7805)
  • [2006-05-12 21:07]

Hi Loot
Well seen and captured. Good colours, sharpnes, details, DOF, POV, composition and note.
Well done my friend


  • Great 
  • gari Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 37 W: 0 N: 11] (149)
  • [2006-05-12 21:29]

Hola Loot.Fantastica esta imagen.Lo tiene todo.El detalle es muy bueno.Felicidades.Saludos.

Hello Loot
Exceptional shot in spite of the glass. If you had not mentioned it, I don't think I would have known. I am another who must frequent a zoo in order to experience such wildlife. Composition and saturation on this shot are excellent.

What a great expression on this Mandrill. Your colours and focus are excellent. He has such interesting markings and colours on his face. Good Notes. Janice

Hi loot

So.... was this a private joke? Whatever you said has really tickled his fancy! Top shot Loot. Did you really take this through 19mm thick glass? Wow....... awesome clarity and clear details. Nice work my friend! :-)

Hi Loot,
Great capture not affected by the glass. Amazing detail in the image with well handled exposure.

  • Great 
  • zeca Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 373 W: 14 N: 539] (2887)
  • [2006-05-13 1:10]

Absolutely great, Loot! Perfect timming on this capture, my friend! The colours are also wonderful on this pretty clear image!

  • Great 
  • Dando Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 637 W: 32 N: 792] (3084)
  • [2006-05-13 3:31]

Hi Loot, great expression you have caught here with fine details and good colours. Very well done and TFS.

Hi Loot

((((: funny Pose, intresting details and lovley POV, evrything is perfect. the result is very nice, lovley different colors.
well done

thanks 4 sharing

Hi Loot,
I think you have done an excellent job! Getting high quality photos in a zoo setting is much harder than most people think. You have to contend with many obstacles. Glass, bars, wires, poor and unnatural backrounds. I take alot of shots in the zoo, because I can't afford to take a trip to Africa in the near future. The only advantage is you do not need the super telephoto to reach them. That being said, I appreciate this shot very much. Nice tight composition and crop. Excellent expression you have captured. Colors and detail look very good. Perfect OOF backround. It' only is a zoo shot because you told us, not because it looks like one.


I'll revisit for points tomorrow. Just could not pass this up tonight.

Bonjour Loot
C'est une splendeur ce beau portrait de ce baboin.J'en ai déja vu mais jamais avec de si belles couleurs faciales et dans sa fourrure.Félicitation pour cette belle présentation.
Merci et bon weekend....JP

Hi Loot,
Great shot, great title, great interest, and what a great expression you have so well captured..
Color and detail looks great also.
I would be nit pickin' if I said the flash effect is a tiny bit harsh, but I understand the difficult conditions..
Very nice job with this!!

Hi Loot,
a great portrait of thi gentleman. Lovely colours wiht a touch of gold in the fur. Nice POC and pose.
Well composed and good details.
Great work, my friend.

What a face, Loot.
You have captured a great moment. This colorful mandrill seems to be enjoying himself, for whatever reason.
The details are amazingly sharp, and the colors on fantastic.
I particularly like the gold hairs on his "collar".
Really beautiful. TFS. : )

Hi Loot,
a very exciting and lively shot!
You captured the finest details of the Mandrill's fur with perfect sharpness all over, and also its rich colours. In combination with the lush green background the flash creates the impression of a natural beam of sunshine that meets the bottom of dense forest with harsh intensity.
Lovely pose and expression. Animal psychology perfectly combined with nature photography - well fitting into the impressive series of character portraits of mammals we are happy you have shared with us. Thank you!
Best regards,

Hi Loot,

Well after your long missive on the Forum I feel I'd better critique something of yours!!! : ) I'm one of the ones who just didn't know about ticking the "Useful Critique" dot. I went back quite a few pages and hopefully have redeemed myself somewhat. I stick pretty much to landscape photos...that way I can actually, almost keep up...however going out of town often this spring and summer will cause a backlog.

You do take some superb shots...this being one of them. What wonderful colors and what can one say about that expression? I do hope he was as happy as he looks. It's a great capture in a nicely exposed, sharp image.


Evelynn : )

Wonderful image, Loot! Yours turned out better than mine shot through glass. I was unable to use fill flash as you apparently have, since it reflected too much from the glass. Anyway, priceless expression!



  • Great 
  • Athila Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 335 W: 239 N: 493] (1982)
  • [2006-05-14 21:56]

Hi Loot!

Nice crisp shot. Sharpness and exposure are at "rendez-vous". Tight cropping put amphasis on its head. Fill-in flash rendered excellents details in shadows as well as highlight.

Good shot and TFS.

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-05-14 22:27]

Bonjour Loot!

Félicitations pour ce portrait incroyable par son éclairage et par ces couleurs éclatantes. Bravo pour les détails et l'action du spécimen.



Hi, great portrait.
It lokks really aggresive...
Nice colors and details.
TSF, Andrea

A wonderful Portrait!!
nice rich clours and focus is spot on :)

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2006-05-15 16:33]

A very good joke it seems ! :-) Great capture of the Mandrill Loot. Great sharpness and exposure. Great expression, a very well done picture. Thanks.


What a amazing photo Loot, the clarity of his fur is wonderful. I love the expression, although the workshop was a bit too daring I think! Your wife must have a great sense of humor. I love how the light is shining on his mouth so clearly. Excellent work.

  • Great 
  • Gudule Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 248 W: 11 N: 288] (1204)
  • [2006-05-17 16:23]

Thank you Loot for making us laugh with this excellent shot. And I saw your workshop...you have a good sens of humor, as your behalf.
Nice details and Lighting. Congratulations and TFS.


Hi Loot,
Naughty you, posting a photo like this of your lovely wife....not to get me wrong, I am talking about the workshop photo. Did you have some good evenings in the dog box? Now that I remember, I did read somewhere that you only slept for 3 hours.....LOL

Actually I agree with what Scott wrote about the zoo photo. If you told us that you shot this one in the wild, everybody would believe you. I am just amazed about the quality of the photo and that shot through 19mm thick glass. The b/g makes it look like it taken in the wild as well.

Excellent work my friend with very good use of the flash since it brings out the colors perfectly.

  • Great 
  • TPAKT Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 97 W: 21 N: 20] (89)
  • [2006-05-18 9:53]

Privet Loot.
Precise and qualitative photo. Flash has removed distracting background. The amusing moment! Too it is necessary to it{him} to the dentist:-))

Superb picture!!. I like the expression on the face of this fellow.Colors are good and natural. The sharpness is good too!! Looks like an healthy animal, so good job by zoo keepers
Goutham R

Hello Loot,
Hey what did you say to this guy so it's laughing loudly! Very amazing and funny capture here. I like it a lot! Thank you.

I've seen your ws post just now! Hey, you're playing so dangerously my friend! If I did the same, I think that my wife made my face like your ws happily :-) Your wife's sense of humour is very appreciated by me. Thanks for Janice critique and your response to her ;-)
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2006-05-22 3:36]

Bonjour Loot, un proverbe dit:"Ce n'est pas au vieux singe que l'on apprend à faire des grimaces!!" et bien je suis de cet avis!!! Cette photo le prouve!! Il n'est pas evident de penser que ce magnifique portrait ait été obtenu à travers une vitre trés épaisse! Vous est expert en ce domaine et vous félicite pour cette reussite photographique. Didier.

  • Great 
  • odin Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 177 W: 1 N: 209] (1169)
  • [2006-05-29 13:24]

A incredible shot Loot, this mandrill look very happy in this world. The colors are beautyfull. The face expression of this primate show us some resemblance between primate and humain. Well done

  • Great 
  • Adam73 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 208 W: 5 N: 522] (2253)
  • [2006-06-20 12:49]

Very cool photo. It looks like the Mandrill is laughing. :) Nice detail, and great colors. Exposure is right on too. The only gripe I have is I wish I could see his eyes.

Well, if the last anthropomorphic figure you posted was Idi Amin now it seems like you found Dennis Rodman... I dont sound racy do I, I hope... :)

  • Great 
  • segub (6)
  • [2006-11-12 10:54]

Loot, glorious
check out the color, especially the chin and neck in relationship to the blue on the nose.
your work is sensational.

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-01-09 9:17]
  • [+]

Hello Loot
This baboon has such a contageous laugh that I am also laughing now. Looks like the zoo took out his canines, I suppose to prevent him from doing any damage should he be involved in a fight. They can bite worst than a dog. Talking about dogs, did your wife put the dogs on you after the workshop? You're either brave or very stupid (excuse my frankness).

Hallo Loot

When I get the opportunity to visit the website, I get al excited like a little boy going to the movies to watch my favorite hero in some action movie.

I have been looking each day to see if my hero has released any new movies, but up to date I’ll just have to stick to one of the older ones.
I am sure my waiting in anticipation will we rewarded soon, with a blockbuster.

Until then I’ll critique this "Laughing out Loud" photo.
I enjoyed reading the notes and burst out of laughter reading the workshop. You surely must have a wife with a great sense of humor. I don’t think I can imagine any woman who would appreciate it if a photo like that of herself was placed on the WWW for anybody to see. Even in a jokingly manner. The most woman would have thrown there toys out of the cot out of embarrassment.

Good for her. And I am sure her humor is good for you to. Excellent and entertaining.

Thanks for sharing. It was a splendid one.

Kind regards

Dear Loot,
This is a wonderful "Laughing Out Loud" display caught by you. However mandrills are supposed to have big canines (which I do not see here, probably have been extracted leaving evident blank spaces instead)which allows them to display their canines during social yawns & frowns; indirectly displaying visual signals of uneasiness, threat perception or power in the group. I would like you to highlight this fact also.
Warm regards-Dr Subhash Ranjan,MD

Hi Loot
This must have been VERY funny!! This old chap enjoys life!

Dear Loot
Here I am, nearly 4 years since you posted this image, to leave my penny of thoughts at it. What comical personality did this Mandrill have? He supplied us with lots of amusement and he gave you great photographic opportunities, at the same time. The expression on this guys face is priceless, and it certainly looks as he is laughing out of his stomach and enjoying the situation.

The colours in the image as a whole are so true to nature and really stunning. Details are seen with great clarity and I especially like the toffee coloured hair in its neckline and the white on it fattish belly. This image is well captured and conveys the mood effectively. A great portrait that is carried out well, and presented in a pleasant manner. Thanks for sharing at the time, as I know it created lots of laughs and maybe a few frowns as well if the workshop was also attended too.

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