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African Elephant - #1 of the BIG 5

African Elephant - #1 of the BIG 5
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-16
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Theme(s): Kruger National Park 2, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-11-25 18:31
Viewed: 5284
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African Elephant / Loxodonta africana

As from today, I'll be sharing some photos showing the 5 animals that are considered or known as Africa's "BIG 5" i.e. Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard. These animals play a very important role in their natural environment. Each has their own individual qualities to enjoy and to appreciate.

Every time Loot and I go on vacation, to the Kruger National Park, we keep a record of our daily sightings of all the species we see. These records do not only include the larger animals, but also the birds, insects, reptiles, and in fact any living creature that adds towards our daily specie count. It is very interesting to do it this way, as we can keep track and compare it with our previous visits to the game park. Although it is based on our sightings only and thus not a scientific study, but as a result we can then see if there has been an increase or a decline in animal populations etc. It is our way of keeping 'census' for our own files and it gives us a more complete experience and enjoyment of our holiday.

In keeping record of all the sightings, it goes without saying that we also keep track of the Big 5. We would often search for a specific one of the 5 just to accomplish a full day's count. I can tell you on which days we were able to see all 5. It does present a certain satisfaction, but as Loot also mentioned, we are not driven just to see the Big 5 and in the process neglect (or miss out on) all the other wonderful little creatures. We also search for (what we call) the "Small 5". These are the Elephant shrew, Rhino beetle, Buffalo weaver, Lion ant and Leopard tortoise. Our daily "expeditions" would reach a climax during the last hour of the day if we still short any of the ten species mentioned. The next day it would start all over again, having our eyes peered into the bushes for any movement and having our ears open for sounds of the wild. Sounds actually play a big role in finding certain animals. You might never know that is may be in the surroundings until you hear it and then suddenly you would know how or where to search for it. Kruger National Park is an unbelievable, pleasurable, educational journey that always ends just too soon.

General Overview of the Elephant
The lumbering gait of this towering, tusked monolith of the African veld is one of the truly unforgettable sights in the arena of southern African wildlife. Usually a gentle mild mannered vegetarian, the elephant is quite capable of killing other animals such as antelope and even hippopotamus in pursuit of water.

Often tearing out small trees and steamrolling over large ones in its quest for food, an elephant can eat up to 250kg of leaves, grass, seed pods, wild fruit and bush daily.

An elephant can move about quietly on its tree-trunk legs with their flexible, cushioned feet, and although it can run at a speed of about 40 kilometres per hour, its vast bulk prevents it from jumping into a small ditch. It can swim though and sometimes uses its versatile trunk as a snorkel.

The elephant's small eyes see poorly, but its sense of smell is acute. The tusks are used for digging and fighting and one tusk wears down more quickly than the other. Females wield the power in elephant society, and herds are formed around cows and their offspring, which are generally born during the early summer. Elephants will adopt orphaned calves, help injured elephants and work together.

Males reach a weight between 5000-6300kg and females between 2800-3500kg.

Taken from: Animals of the Kruger Park and Lowveld - Heritage Publishing.

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

rcrick, marius-secan, Heaven, ferozhamza, nasokoun, siggi, zulfu, KOMSIS, PeterZ, Argus, goatman04, Mikolaj, eng55, cirano, Noisette, CeltickRanger, roges, hansh, boreocypriensis, albert, sandpiper2, xTauruSx, uleko, maurydv, meyerd, tuslaw, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Anna,

Just stunning, it must be an amazing feeling to be confronted with such a site, superb detail, excellent composition. This is one of those places thats on my to do list, really nice work look forward to seeing more,

All the best, cheers Rick :)

Hello Anna,
Wonderful image, excellent composition with superb colours and very good details.

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  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2009-11-25 19:43]

Hi Anna!

It's a pleasure to discover this picture. I like this wildlife atmosphere very much. The picture reflects the elephant's majesty very well. The unity of the colour tones creates a pleasant effect and the accompanying notes are very interesting to read. I'm looking forward to seeing the other members of he BIG 5.

Kind regards


Hello Anna,
Excellent shot,very well composed image,good details. Enjoyed viewing.TFS

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  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-11-25 21:57]

hello Anna
Wonderful scene with beautiful colors and fine details

hello Anna
a beautiful African scene, beautifully as pose, the light hard but the details explicit and fine the colors,nice shot!
keep photographing the BIG 5! TFS

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  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-11-25 23:22]

Hello Anna.
Fantastic photo captured in a perfect moment! Colours and light so nice. It's a wonderful shot. Best regards Siggi

Hi Anna.. Excellent lighting, sharp details.. and nice composition.. Good job... TFS

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  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-11-25 23:48]

Hello Anna, lovely and wonderful shot of these elephants with excellent composition.
TFS and R's,

Hi Anna ,

Very pleasant view of Elephants taking shower and drinking water. Very nicely framed with great clarity and excellent PoV. I liked this composition of the African giants.


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  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2009-11-26 0:53]

Hi Anna,
Elephants and how interesting composition ...
Nice timing, beautiful photographs.
Best wishes,

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-11-26 1:09]

Hello Anna,
Beautiful photo of these elephants. Very warm colours, good sharpness and a beautiful surroundings. Most curious I am to the 'small 5'.

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-11-26 1:33]

Hello Anna,
A wonderful start to your 'Big 5' series!
These four African Elephants are well photographed with your customary technical high standard that includes fine ligting and sharpness. I like the way they stand in this composition and I find the the inclusion of the Kruger NP habitat great to view. What a fantastic place!
Thanks and best regards to you and Loot,

hello Anna
super sharpness composition great details and good light
super to see this great animals in wild
it is good there is water between the animals
and you
great shot Anna
greeting lou

When in Kruger National Park we always spend some time when we come across these magnificent beasts. Gentle giants, I always call them. Great photo, Anna, catching this group by a waterhole. What about trying to get photos of the "small 5"? Leopard tortoise, ant lion, buffalo weaver, elephant shrew and rhino beatle?

Hello Anna,

This is such a great & beautiful capture of these African Elephants with lovely natural colors, sharpness & composition. Very nice POV with natural setting. Very well taken & presented.
TFS & best wishes!


Dear Anna,
You obviously are an "early getting upper" to catch this group at their morning bath.

I am pleased, you included into the scene (at 10 o'clock of the photo)the tremendous destruction the elephants cause.

Here - in the north - some areas look like the photos taken in Belgium at the end of the first world war. Only bare ground and tree skeletons.

I am afraid, the Park Board will have to start again to cull; there is just not enough habitat for the big number of elephants on one side - and on the other - we humans have encroached on their land and put up fences, stopping the animals to migrate...

Now, many fences have been taken down - too little too late. In years of drought the elephants dig-up the water pipes, knock the water tanks from their stands, poke their tusks into the tanks and sometimes, for good measure trample the tanks into flat sheets.

There are just too many people...

Apparently, Elephants have a fantastic memory and also - as you said in your notes,the close family structure is very important; when part of a family is culled -the family structure destroyed - the young bulls get out of hand, when they are transferred to another areas (e.g. Pilanesberg Game Reserve).

Thanks for an instructive photo and notes.
Have a nice evening
Kind Regards

Hello Anna! Wonderful elephants. Amazing scene. Marvelous scenery. Nice natural light and colours. Good work. Well done!

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  • rommel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 446 W: 0 N: 287] (3628)
  • [2009-11-26 10:26]

Hellow Anna,
You should get hold of national geo for a job as the photos you have been capturing are right there[ dont tell Loot] ha ha , this is an excellent image of the amazing elephants, great capture and TFS.

Hi Anna,
I love elephants but never saw wild ones.
They seem to enjoy the water, I know they love water. Have been at a elephant-camp in Thailand several times. Wonderful animals, so friendly and clever.
Thanks, have a nice evening
Sabine - wishnugaruda

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  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-11-26 14:30]

Hi Anna,
It's very beautiful image.Exposure is spot on,details are crisp clear.Sharpness,POV and composition are perfect.Excellent work!
Thanks for posting..

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  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2009-11-26 14:53]

Slav Anna,
A wonderful photo,excellent sharpness,colors and splendid light.Ver well composed.TFS and regards,

Hello Anna
wonderful scene of this four Elephants on the river side
i love the eye contact with the one in the middle, the natural habitat and the light effect in the water
Have a good night

hello Anna

excellent and beautiful photo of the elephants
shot with fine POV and DOF, fine focus to all of them
with excellent sharpness and details, beautiful background
and a lovely eye-contact of the one in-front, TFS


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  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-11-27 1:08]

Hello Anna,
Another splendid capture. Beautiful colors, exceptional composition, my congratulations.
Have a beautiful day,

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  • hansh Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
  • [2009-11-27 1:37]

Hello Anna.

It looks a great experience to me when you meet these huge beaytiful elephants.
They are very impressive as you show us here in a great way.

Gr. Hans

Hi Anna,

Magnificent job!! The composition looks absolutely flawless, very well focussed too. You were quite lucky to get some of them looking away from the camera, like something you'd see in The National Geographic. Impressive shoot.
TFS and have a nice day MF!


Hello Anna,
A nice composition, just missing the back of one of them!!
Great and natural colours
TFS, have a good W-E
A dedicate for you in my galery !!!

Hello Anna,

So I don't get a critique in months and so 3 in one week but thaks.
You have been here presented an very nice image with good pov and dof with natural colours.


Hi Anna

Cool shot of these elephant, hopefully one day I will get there to see these guys, but there are so many places to go on this amazing planet:) Am I seeing a group of young males here?, you didn't mention that in your note. Good composition and eye contact with the bigger guy facing you.


Very beautiful shot of tthese lovely elephants Anna.
Great nature photography!
TFS and greetings,

Hello Anna
Congratulations for this report, really instructive.
I learnt that there is millions of years, the elephant and the rhinoceros lived in the Mediterranean Basin. They were of very reduced size(cutting) (that of a dog).
The man arrived, he ate them, and these sorts(species) disappeared...
Thank you for these beautiful photos

Ciao Anna, fantastic capture of great elephants at river, splendid composition, excellent clarity, very well done, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-11-28 3:53]

Hello Anna,
What a treat it must be to watch these elephants having their bath! A beautiful capture very nicely composed with great focus on all four! Great sharpness and beautiful light and colours too.
It's a good idea to keep records like you do and it certainly adds spice to the art of photography too!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

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  • alin-m Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 1 N: 126] (1773)
  • [2009-11-28 10:05]

Perfect immage for TrekNature.Great details of photo.Congratulations and friendly regards.Alin.

Hello Anna,
a fantastic picture of these Elephants, superb sharpness and marvellous colours, i like the different postures of these big animals and the splendid natural environment in a very pleasing composition.
Best regards

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  • bedri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 111 W: 0 N: 237] (1284)
  • [2009-12-01 4:53]

Merhaba Anna,
Doğal ortamından enfes bir görüntü, gurup halinde harika görünüyorlar. Işık, renkler ve kadrajın olağanüstü, müthiş olmuş emeğine sağlık..
Sevgiler selamlar,

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  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2009-12-03 23:29]

Hi Anna,
if this may not be the first African Elephant picture on TN it certainly is a memorable one. But what even beats the picture is your wonderful note. After reading it, I am yearning to join you right away and go for the Small 5 and the Big 5 :-) Anna you did something wonderful here.
My best regards

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  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-12-05 19:44]

Hello Anna,
A wonderfully composed shot showing this healthy looking family of elephants in their natural habitat. How exciting it must be to be able to see such beautiful creatures in the wild. Super sharp detail, gorgeous natural colors and excellent exposure!! Well done!!

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  • nanreh Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 12 N: 258] (2191)
  • [2009-12-10 15:17]

ˇMagnífica captura de conjunto! Los elefantes en una formación defensiva que no tiene nada que envidiarle a un pelotón de soldados en formación "erizo" atentos a cualquier posible ataque...

Bella y dinámica compsición. Bonita gama de colores. Un excelente trabajo !

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