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Morning Drink

Morning Drink
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: 2008-03-29
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 1D Mark II, Canon 70-200 f 2.8 L USM
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park 1, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-04-12 8:39
Viewed: 5427
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this just after entering the park. If you turn right immediately after entering the Hluhluwe Gate, go over the hill, it was at the bottom, very close to the spot where I took my 'Pushmi-Pullyu' shor 15 years earlier(Loot and Anna probably know this area well).

This lone bull wandered over the road, he was covered all over in mud and began his morning drink. Rather than getting the whole animal, I decided to concentrate on the head.

The Elephants of the genus Loxodonta, known collectively as African elephants, are currently found in 37 countries in Africa.

African elephants are distinguished from Asian elephants in several ways, the most noticeable being their ears. Africans' ears are much larger. The African is typically larger than the Asian and has a concave back. Both African males and females have external tusks and are usually less hairy than their Asian cousins.

African elephants have traditionally been classified as a single species comprising two distinct subspecies, namely the savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), but recent DNA analysis suggests that these may actually constitute distinct species. While this split is not universally accepted by experts a third species of African elephant has also been proposed.

Under the new two species classification, Loxodonta africana refers specifically to the Savanna Elephant, the largest of all elephants. In fact, it is the largest land animal in the world, standing up to 4 m (13 ft) at the shoulder and weighing approximately 7,000 kg (7.7 tons). The average male stands about 3 m (10 ft) tall at the shoulder and weighs about 5500–6000 kg (6.1–6.6 tons), the female being much smaller. Most often, Savanna Elephants are found in open grasslands, marshes, and lakeshores. They range over much of the savanna zone south of the Sahara.

The other postulated species is the Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis). Compared with the Savanna Elephant, its ears are usually smaller and rounder, and its tusks thinner and straighter and not directed outwards as much. The Forest Elephant can weigh up to 4,500 kg (10,000 lb) and stand about 3 m (10 ft) tall. Much less is known about these animals than their savanna cousins because environmental and political obstacles make them difficult to study. Normally, they inhabit the dense African rain forests of central and western Africa, though occasionally they roam the edges of forests and so overlap the territories of the Savanna elephants and breed with them. In 1979, Iain Douglas-Hamilton estimated the continental population of African elephants at around 1.3 million animals. This estimate is controversial and is believed to be a gross overestimate, but it is very widely cited and has become a de facto baseline that continues to be incorrectly used to quantify downward population trends in the species. Through the 1980s, Loxodonta received worldwide attention due to the dwindling numbers of major populations in East Africa, largely as a result of poaching. Today, according to IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report 2007 there are approximately between 470,000 and 690,000 African elephants in the wild. Although this estimate only covers about half of the total elephant range, experts do not believe the true figure to be much higher, as it is unlikely that large populations remain to be discovered. By far the largest populations are now found in Southern and Eastern Africa, which together account for the majority of the continental population. According to a recent analysis by IUCN experts, most major populations in Eastern and Southern Africa are stable or have been steadily increasing since the mid-1990s, at an average rate of 4.5% per annum.

Elephant populations in West Africa, on the other hand, are generally small and fragmented, and only account for a small proportion of the continental total. Much uncertainty remains as to the size of the elephant population in Central Africa, where the prevalence of forest makes population surveys difficult, but poaching for ivory and bushmeat is believed to be intense through much of the region.[22] In South Africa, the elephant population has tripled, growing from 8,000 in 1995 to more than 20,000 by 2008. As a result of this growing population, South Africa has announced the lift of a ban introduced in 1995 that made it illegal to kill elephants. This has sparked controversy among environmental groups.

XOTAELE, jaycee, CeltickRanger, Arjun, nglen, gracious, eqshannon, vanderschelden, boreocypriensis, tuslaw, rcrick, marhowie, horia, gannu, goldyrs, loot, rousettus, haraprasan has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hola James.
ˇFantásticos detalles!
Perfecta presentación y muy buena nota.
Un cordial saludo, JL.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-04-12 9:36]

Hi James,

A fine shot of this Elephant after his mud bath. Fascinating to see him drinking up close like this. Wonderful details of the trunk, face, eye and all the wrinkles.


  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2008-04-12 10:49]

lovely portrait

Hello James
The details here are just stunning...The light is perfect..I love the water dribbling from his mouth..Photographically Perfect.
All the Best

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-04-12 12:28]

Hi James. Like the pose with the water just pooring out of its mouth . Great detail in the body all covered in mud. They must take on a few gallons of water. It must have been a great trip. well done TFS. very interesting notes again from you thanks for taking the time .


Hello James,
Very nice details of the elephant from the side pose of him!
good closeup to see the waterdrops coming out from the drink!
many thanks for the sharing

Super shot James....the Canon shows its true colours once more...very nice distinct tonal qualities in the elephants skin...And of course a perfect time to catch it!

Hello James,
Interesting photo. Very good moment. The white tusk is covered with mud.

Hi my beloved friend James,
Superb portrait shot of this lovely elephant at drinking time! TFS.
Greetings from Cyprus,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2008-04-12 18:46]

Beautiful shot James,
Your photos are always incredibly sharp and detailed. I love the way you captured this guy with the mud covering, almost makes it look like a pewter statue. Great Image!! TFS.

Hi James,

Excellent shot mate of this Elephant must be an awesome site to see in the wild, just beautiful. That 2.8 lens really does produce the goods, great shot.

Cheers Rick :)

hello James

great portrait image of the Elephant shooted at the good
moment when his drinking, fine POV and framing,
excellent DOF, excellent sharpness and details
of the Elephant covered with mud, great shot, TFS


VERY cool James, I like it :)
The "wet" look and the water trailing down from the mouth is great..
Excellent detail, POV, and DOF isolating the head in the frame.
Very good color and exposure of the head, without the benefit of direct light also.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-04-13 7:27]

Hi James,
Wonderful shot and you have freezed the action moment perfectly. Very neat and sharp image with clear details. Superb light handling and exposure levels. I like this natural surrounding as BG. Excellent POV to portray this scene and very nice composition. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-04-13 7:32]

Hi James

Another very beautiful capture from you and a great photo shared with us, your TN friends :)
The timing here is indeed terrific and it catches this lovely elephant in such a nice, totally natural mood - relaxed and having a sip :)
Very good sharpness on your subject and great contrast, too - taking advantage of that beautiful natural light that you had then.

Bravo and TFS

PS: did you get my last e-mail?

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-04-13 8:51]

Hello James,
Lovely shot and a very bright note. Superb focus and sharp picture. View is beautiful. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-04-13 12:40]

Funny shot of this drinking Elephant :-)
really excellent texture in the wrinkly skin and superb detail.
Gret exposure and good light.
Brilliant BG-blurring DOF.
Looks like you had a really great time! I'm looking forward to more!
Cheers James,


Hello James a fine profile image well composed good contrast, DOF well adjusted, light works well with the rim effect. tfs rgds Necip

I'm sorry I missed out on some of your work..
I love elephants and even though I've never seen the African variety, I'm sure they're very beautiful...
I love the timing of this shot!

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-04-14 5:45]

You are right. I do know this area (Gontshi Pan) very well. In fact, just last weekend Anna has actually shot her first ever photos of an elephant bull just a short distance from where you captured this one. Just past this pan and passing over the low water bridge in the thickets on the river side was a big lone bull, but unfortunately he was so busy feeding on the shrubs that he didn't want to show his face properly, so Anna only managed to get some profile shots.

Normally there are only buffalos in this pan, but you were fortunate to capture this guy having a bath. Even though he had his shady side towards you, you managed to get some good sharp details and excellent contrasts on that dark epidermis. The OOF area in the BG just shows enough so that one can still a bit of the environment yet it does not disturb or distract the eye.

Well done and TFS.

Hi James,
A nice captured portrait of this dark and huge African elephant. Excellent composition and details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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