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Streamlined killing machine

Streamlined killing machine
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/4.5, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Theme(s): Mammals of Southern Africa II, Wild cats portraits, Kruger National Park 2, Big Cats, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-11-15 15:17
Viewed: 5468
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Leopard / Panthera pardus

On a few occasions I have mentioned some of my photos which I consider as being one of my own personal favourites. This leopard image I have added to that category, but I also want to regard it as the image I am the most proud of. During our recent Kruger trip we saw other leopards on a number of occasions before we saw this striking animal. However, if I say "saw", it was sometimes basically just the spots, or just the tip of a tail or some tiny feature of these beautiful cats. During all of these moments it just did not feel as if I have seen a leopard at all. I wanted to see one of these felines, and I mean a full sized cat. How lucky we were when this gorgeous animal came walking down the road towards us and into the grass where it went to lay down. The early morning sun assisted to give this photo a lovely soft yellow glow.

I cannot recall for how long Loot and I were the only people to view and photograph this stunning animal, because we were high up in the northern area of the Kruger Park where the traffic are much, much less than in the southern areas of the park. I think you can imagine my excitement in capturing this lovely animal and I was thrilled with the outcome of the photographs once downloaded. I still have some other full body shots as well that I will share in due course, as I plan to share each of the Big 5 at some time in the future. I am sure that all of you know that the Big 5 is the following animals: Elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, lion and the leopard.

General Overview
Although smaller than a lion, the sleuth like leopard is often more feared. It is fiercer, braver and very intelligent. A perfectly streamlined killing machine with exceptional hearing, good eyesight and sensitive, extra-long whiskers, which help it avoid obstacles in the dark.

The leopard is also a remarkable athlete, capable not only of swimming across rivers, but also of leaping onto rocks up to 3 metres high, carrying prey as heavy as itself. Its spotted hide is such a perfect camouflage that it has been copied by armed forces for bush warfare.

In 'safe' areas, leopards are active night and day but otherwise reclusive, nocturnal and solitary. They might be seen basking in early morning sun, and resting places such as caves, trees and rocks double as vantage points over hunting terrain. They retreat from heat, and in semi-desert areas will crawl into disused aardvark burrows for shade.

Males and females mark their territory by spraying urine and leaving warning claw marks on tree trunks. Normally solitary, males don't mind sharing their space with females, but will fight with other males. Leopard cubs stay with their mothers for almost 2 years, going on their 1st
hunt at the age of 4 months. Leopards will prey on anything from mouse size to a mammal twice their own weight, including wildebeest and young giraffes.

Of all the wild cats, leopards are most like the cheetah, but it is more heavily built and has no tear marks from corner of eye to corner of mouth. The main body markings are rosettes, rather than solid spots. A male can reach the weight of 70-90kg and the female 50-60kg.

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.

marius-secan, ferozhamza, tuslaw, eng55, nasokoun, Mikolaj, jmirah, Heaven, Pentaxfriend, tcr, matatur, siggi, Alex99, PaulH, fiyo, boreocypriensis, CeltickRanger, goatman04, anel, NinaM, ramthakur, jconceicao, nglen, roges, maurydv, marhowie, uleko, Luis52, zulfu, Juyona, livius, bahadir, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To NinaM: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 11-17 06:00
To SunToucher: New toyMiss_Piggy 1 11-17 01:56
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Anna,
Excellent capture. Amazing colours and details. Wonderful close up with nice backgroumd.

Hello Anna,
Good photo,well composed and sharp.
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-11-15 20:27]

Hello Anna,
An absolutely stunning shot shown with exceptional detail and very natural colors!! I can definitely see why others could easily miss spotting this guy in his beautiful camouflaged colors. Perfectly composed with just the right exposure and in a wonderful soft light which enhances it's gorgeous spotted coat.

Hello Anna,
Beautiful shot of this magnificent animal. Focus is spot on while the foreground grass adds a touch of reality.

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  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-11-15 23:03]

Hi Anna,
Magnificent capture of this big cat.Sharpness,POV,details,colors and expression on face is perfect.Excellent work!
Have a great Week!
Thanks for posting..

hello Anna
splendid frame and crop composition, the lighting very well managed and the output in colours exceptional,very fine details!bravo!
keep photographing! TFS

Hello Anna! Dangerous pet, amazing POV, good capture, ideal sharpness, natural colours. Good work. Well done!

Hi Anna
Wow! What a beautiful photo with excellent POV, focus and color...TFS

Hi Anna!

Let me first say something about the title of this posting: can an animal just be a killing machine? I personally don't like this approach although it is true that a predator like this one kills... But machines are a human invention and and work without any intelligence or instinct. Well, I just don't like the comparison with a machine... I hope you don't mind, but comparisons of that kind help to preserve prejudices (ex.: sharks are nothing else than killers...).

Now, the picture is superb. I'm impressed by the clarity and the great sharpness that reveal magnificent details. It's also impressive to notice the unity of the colour tones. That gives the picture a superb warm atmosphere contrasting with the scary expression of the animal.

Kind regards


I am speechless! Leopards in Kruger as as scarce as hen's teeth and to get a shot like this is fantastic. Once again it is a case of being at thr right place at the right time, someone else passing by within minutes would not get this shot. As for the photo, it is perfect, you are lucky to have the face between the grass. Once again, well done!

Hello Anna,

Lovely shot of this BEAUTY
Excellent light
Perfect POV
Great sharpnes
Wonderful warm colors

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • tcr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 8 N: 538] (3384)
  • [2009-11-16 5:50]

Hello Anna.
The light here is very successful
and the color saturation works very well.
Greetings and TFS.

  • Great 
  • psyce (64)
  • [2009-11-16 6:38]

beautiful sharp photo! love the focus you have on the subject... well done and TFS

A beautiful and well illuminated frontal portrait Anna, a predator in great detail in the midst of its natural environment. Terrific job my friend, TFS it indeed!

hello Anna
super sharpness picture with good details and beautiful colours
super good light
nice shot Anna
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-11-16 9:00]

Helo Anna,
What a fantastic photo. The light is so beautiful! Amazing colours. Excellent sharpness and etails. Very good POV, DOF and composition. Beautiful surroundings.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-11-16 10:23]

Hello Anna.
This is a beauty. Lovely facial features. Good Dof. Details are crisp, clear and sharp. Nice light and exposure. Very nice work. Great shot and great presentation.Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-11-16 10:57]

Hi Anna.
I love this species a lot from my childhood. And I am very pleased to watch this masterpiece which represents this beauty fantastically. I feel myself near this amazing animal. Image has strong and natural 3D-look. All is brilliant. Bravo.

Hi Anna,
it must be such an amazing moment to see such a beautiful cat in wild nature.
I never had that chance.
But I fondled 5 tigers in Thailand, but not in free nature - but also amazing.
Perhaps you like to see one shot than klick here.
Thanks for your nice cat, greetings
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2009-11-16 12:26]

Hi Anna,
once again i am left extremely jealous of your wildlife encounters! What a beauty, you really made the most of this opportunity. What a great result. Sharp details and wonderful light and clarity - very well done!

Hi Anna

Nice portrait of this fine looking feline, one of my favourites. You did well to find a space in the long grass to capture that beautiful face, well done.


  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2009-11-16 13:27]

Merhaba Anna,
harika bir sunum,tebrikler.
Paylaştığın için teşekkürler.

Hi Anna,

Wow! Incredible looking huge cat:) The facial expression is priceless.
I like the way it seems to emerge from the lighted bg, would make a good photo for a wildlife magazine.
The focus looks absolutely flawless on the eyes, very well composed too.
TFS and have a nice night MF!


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-11-16 15:01]

Hi Anna,this is pure art! What a fantastic portrait in an incredible light!!!!The sharpness and the warm saturation too are fantastics,a very professional work.My greats compliments,have a nice day,Luciano

hello Anna

what a great chance you have to see in real (de voir en vrai)
such wonderful African wild animals on the wild, shot with
very fine POV and appropriate framing, fine focus excellent
sharpness and details, levely expression on the Leopard's glance,

TFS very much / merci beaucoup pour le partage


  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-11-16 18:54]

Hi Anna,
first of all thank you very much for the critique- indeed very beautiful feeling Im having while reading. Thanks a lot and i really appreciate it. Actually it goes the same to you with regards to the pictures you have captured and shown in TN.
Like the rest, this one is so exciting and very natural indeed. Not to mentioned about photo quality...those are already embedded in your tacit skills.
Here you show it very obejectively, the graphical composition of the dried grasses, the pose of the leopard and also the pestel rendition that gives a very special visual effect. I feel as if Im along with you looking at this special animal.
This is one of the experiences you have shared with us from a place that i think i will not be able to visit....The Kruger.
Such a pleasure to share and the noble thought of you and hubby will always be remembered and treasured.

Best regards,

Hello Anna,

An excellent close-up with such beautiful coloration, sharpness & composition. Great POV, pose & natural setting. Very well taken & TFS.

Best regards


  • Great 
  • Tabib Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 5 N: 167] (859)
  • [2009-11-16 20:05]

Wow!.. perfect shot Anna.
What can I say, nature at its best.
The lighting, posture, eye contact and sharpness are all there.

Hello Anna,

This is a beautiful shot. The morning light is reflected of the cats coat and the habitat has been captured in all its glory. TFS

Hi Anna
I can imagine why this is one of your favorites. It would be mine as well if I had taken it. The pose and the light are both magnificent.
I like the OOF grasses in the FG because it gives that idea of beeing there in the wild. The details in the head are stunningly perfectand the colors are kept wonderfully natural.

P.S. I am waiting on a first upload of your new toy.

Hellow Anna,
A wonderful moment this must have been. Excellent exposure bringing out the patterns and interesting colouration of this leopard in its natural surrounds.The eyes seem to be sternly focussing on something.
Great shot Miss Piggy and TFS.

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-11-17 4:41]

hello Anna,
You really can consider you very lucky to have seen this superb animal. I have seen a documentary at TV on a female leopard with her youngs and it was more than captivating, really fascinating. Your shot is very expressive, the beauty of her golden eyes even enhanced by the fine sunshine. Very natural and fascinating picture.
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2009-11-17 5:44]
  • [+]

As a kid, I watched Daktari and wanted to go to Africa see all the animals. Well, that never happened but with Miss Piggy on TN, I can now travel throughout the park and see the diversity and beauty of this fertile nature!This leopard is a superb animal which you describe very well in your notes. I think felines represent grace in the animal kingdom, don't you think? What a feeling you must have had and yes, it shows in the picture. Just perfect, Anna, lucky you!


A fine portrait that brings forth the majestic grace of this cat extremely beautifully, Anna.
You were, indeed, very fortunate to capture it in its natural habitat with the morning mellow light lending you immense support.
Thanks for sharing this prize image from your recent trip to Kruger Park.
Warm regards.

Hello Anna,

Superb capture.
Lighting and composition are splendid.
Excellent colours with great details.
Good composition.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-11-17 12:31]

Hi Anna. My i say i think this is your best picture you have posted on TN so far. The eyes say it all so large and bright with that stare. Your use of the light has given such warm natural colours. With sharp focusing and fine detail. You have name this picture so well. also interesting notes to go with this first class picture. I have used up all of my 100 favorites but i will still call this mine. Very well taken TFS.

Ps i could say a lot more about the picture but i am not very good with words or spelling.

Hello Anna
this is an excellent capture, this Leopard is splendid
i can understand why it's one of your favorite, amazing details, lighting and composition
his look and his teeth are impressive
Have a good night

Ciao Anna, fantastic portrait of superb creature with splendid eyes, great colors and excellent sharpness, I like a lot, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hello Anna,
what a fantastic portrait of the Leopard taken from an excellent frontal POV, the light is wonderful with splendid warm colour tones, superb sharpness in a very pleasing composition with a very beautiful posture of the feline among the dried grass.
Best regards

Beautiful shot, fine details. I like the way the animals face is naturally framed, nice warm tones. Technically speaking, the only negative would be that OOF blurb on its forehead..
Read your personal "mission" statement Anna.
I found it an interesting and candid revelation (I think).
You see, I find myself described there..I'm the guy running around changing lenses & all that jazz :)
I'm compelled to respond. My photography is a great pleasure to me.
I DO intent to get better AND take better photographs as time goes by.
God would want me to do this. His creation demands it.
I consider myself simply His worker, and my job is to faithfully represent His beauty to the best of my ability. He gave me the tools..He expects me to use them.
My satisfaction/enjoyment comes from the knowledge that I've done the best I can in my often limited venue here..
I envy your Africa, and the animals you show us here.
Thank you so much for sharing His beautiful works.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-11-18 7:51]

Hello Anna,
This is really a fabulous capture of this species that must be one of the most beautiful on earth! Indeed you were lucky to see it and to get such a fantastic capture!!I love the light and the colours and the fine sharp details. I also like the natural setting.
Well done!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

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  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2009-11-19 4:01]

Hi Anna

Still waiting to see your first cool shots with the new equipment...but until then i really wanted to compliment you on this beauty!
I've been out with a bad flu the past few weeks so i see i've missed a few nice posts from you, but now that i'm ok i checked your gallery and this image really captured my eyes immediately! The look in the leopard's eyes is just fantastic and makes you want to stare at this picture for minutes. The pose in which you've captured it is just lovely and on top of everything, you have it in this gorgeous warn light that brings out such a wonderful atmosphere.
Technically, this is also a very nice shot. The sharpness is great and the depth is very well controlled. In fact, thanks to that great depth, i quite like the blurry grass in front and behind the subject...it integrates it so well in the setting.
Overall, lovely work!

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-11-19 10:39]

Hello Anna, excellent shot of this lovely leopard in a fine pose.
Excellent composition, nic details and colours.
TFS and G's,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2009-11-19 11:10]

Hola amiga,
bonito retrato,
mimético habitat y buen pov.
atractiva compo.
saludos Anna.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-11-20 7:33]

Hello Anna,
I can see why you regard this as one of your favourite shots. The alert pose, POV technical qualities and lighting are top class in this capture of a Leopard. The eye contact is superb and unlike most shot where the vegetation interferes, here the grass in front of the Leopard enhances the picture in making it more natural and giving it some depth.
A great shot Anna and one that is a favourite of mine too!
Thanks and kind regards,

Hello Anna
il leopardo è davvero uno dei felini più affascinanti e tutta la sua bellezza sei riuscita egregiamente a ritrarla in questa bellissima foto, in cui luce, colori e dettagli sono al top. Un gran bel lavoro e note veramente interessanti. Thanks

Hello Anna,
Beuatiful shot of this fine looking leopard.
Excellent details and nice composition.
TFS and regards,


Dear Anna,
You have hundred reasons to be proud of this shot (bad choice of words really in view of the hunters, who pay lots of money for a trophy).

I know exactly, what you mean "just saw the spots"...

Most of the photos proudly presented are of "canned" Leopards i.e. guests in lodges are driven to a spot, where a leopard is feeding (on a goat previously placed there by a ranger).

Your perfect details show an unscarred face as well as undamaged ears - so this animal could have been relatively young.

The early morning is definitely the best time in the bush to see and photograph...

I really like the focus concentrated on the animal.

The natural colours of the dry winter veld give your work the "wish I was there" feel.

The only time I had the privilege to see a leopard this close and so relaxed was in Hluhluwe some 25 years ago.

Congratulations on an beautiful portrait of a beautiful specimen.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday,
Kind regards

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  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2010-08-28 10:57]

Hi Anna,

My favorite mammal. Great shot! The light is perfect and the expresson on the face superb.


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