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Primordial Scream

Primordial Scream
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: 2009-10-10
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2009
Theme(s): Monkeys, Mammals of Southern Africa II, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, Dedications at Trek Nature, Kruger National Park 2, My Dedications ;o) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-11-17 20:07
Viewed: 14310
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Vervet Monkey - Cercopithecus aethiops

My 150th post I would like to dedicate to our good friend Howard Cheek (marhowie). You have been one of the upright pillars of this site since shortly after its inception and has meant a great deal to me and countless other members through the advice and guidance you have given us. Yes, some water has flown under the bridge, but after all you are still here, although somewhat afresh. This is just to show my gratitude and appreciation for all you have done. Thanks Howard.

Note: Just recently Howard appeared as the "Central Texas Gardener" on the PBS program "How to turn your garden into a certified wildlife habitat". Check it out; he did a great job while he revealed some of his "trade secrets" and handed out a number of very valuable tips.

Now for some monkey business. This little guy with the large canines was captured along the "H4-1 Main Road", between the Skukuza and Lower Sabie rest camps, at one of the many loops along the road which allow one a nearer vantage point to the Sabie River.

I captured this monkey as it sat on a low hanging branch of a large
"Broad-Pod False-Thorn tree (Albizia forbesii)". He showed all the tell-tale signs that he did not get enough rest and had not completely revived from the previous night's sleep. I was hoping that I might be able to capture a nice "lazy" yawn from the dozy primate and the next moment I could hardly believe it when it really happened. Lo-and-behold, as if on queue the little fella kind-heartedly obliged. It was the only yawn he gave, but I couldn't stop smiling the moment I looked at the screen of my little Sony CyberShot. I knew I had it nailed. Any one who beg to differ (chuckle)? Ok, the title "Primordial Scream" does not really describe this action, but if one didn't know that it was busy yawning it could very much look like a primal outcry of some sort.

In terms of monkey behaviour, bearing teeth while yawning is no sign of aggression (a give away is the closed eyes). However, if this monkey had its eyes wide open, while it showed those canines, and it was charging at you, you would quickly realise that there are few things more frightening. I know, I've experienced it as a child. The problem is when people feed the monkeys. They become accustomed to being fed and once there is no food offered, they will simply grab anything from people's hand, be it food or not. If the person then screams or strike out at the monkey it could trigger some rather unpleasant consequence. Vervet monkeys are rather slight in build compared to some other monkeys, but still a male could reach up to ±70cm standing upright. It is quite staggering what amount of damage a marauding or angry monkey could affect. Those fangs can do a lot more damage than just tearing your clothes as it can really cause a horrendous amount of serious harm. DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS.

About the Vervet monkey
The vervet monkey is lightly built and has long arms and legs. The body is pale grizzled (bluish) grey with yellow down the centre of the back. The underside and inside of the limbs are white and the hair around the anus and base of the tail is reddish brown. The face is black with a cream/white band across the forehead and down the cheeks. Adult males have canines of up to 3cm.

Visible male / female differences
Adult males have a bright blue scrotum and a scarlet penis. (I'll still share this with you at a later stage.) Females have one pair of nipples on the chest.

Vervet monkeys eat a wide range of vegetable foods but also insects, birds' eggs and small vertebrates.

Behaviour & Habits
They are active during the day and sleep in trees or on cliffs at night. They are highly social and live in female-bonded troops including more than one male, typically with 20-30 members. Females stay in the troop that they were born in. Males move at puberty and move from troop to troop, spending about three years in each. Males and females have separate dominance hierarchies and only high-ranking males have access to receptive females. A female's rank depends on alliances with her female relatives. Social bonds are cemented by grooming. Troops have territories with well-defined boundaries.

Source: "The Ultimate Field Guide for Larger South African Mammals", by Mitch Mitchell.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

roges, aruntp, caspian, matatur, eng55, marhowie, Miss_Piggy, nglen, goatman04, boreocypriensis, albert, CeltickRanger, Argus, anel, bahadir, Alex99, tuslaw, xTauruSx, sranjan, jmirah, Rehanna, rousettus, betsie, jtkerb has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2009-11-17 20:28]

Those are some impressive canines, Loot.
Good thing he is just yawning (and I am just taking your word for it!)
You have a knack for capturing intimate moments with your animal subjects.
Perfect focus and lighting on this tired monkey.
Congratulations on your 150th.
And thanks for posting the link for Howard's video. I enjoyed watching it.
TFS. : )

really a beautiful shot.

Hi Loot,

This time, a very cute little monkeys did not seem long stretches.
But you're caught with a timing very successful, as in this picture of the image sharp long teeth really scares people.
Photo technique and timing in terms of a study very great.
Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards,

Such a finely executed profile portrait in sharp focus and good, detail revealing exposure Loot, a perfect "trade-mark" capture for your 150th post, I heartily congratulate you my friend. I'm sure our mutual friend Howard Cheek would enjoy your dedication very much. TFS this fine image with us.

A great shot, seriously impressive teeth, very intimidating. Would have been even better if the eyes were open.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-11-18 0:55]

Hello Loot,
Fantastic photo as you 150th post. Congratulations. Not only Gert (deserved dedication), but also you have had a huge contribution to the success of this site. Thanks. And I hope to see a lot more from you.
Great photo in perfect sharpness and timing. Beautiful natural colours. Excellent composition.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-11-18 1:27]

Hi Loot,
Magnificent portrait of this Monkey.Details and sharpness are perfect.I liked POV,framing and moment you caught also a lot.Excellent work!
Thanks for posting..

You are right, the closed eyes indicate a yawn :-) Still, its an impressive photo, one of those "right time, right place" phots that one is fortunate to get if very lucky. An dyou seem to be very patient with your photography, I tend to be impatient and often miss the good shots. Well done, a really good capture. As I have often said to anna, you guys should join a local club end enter your photos in local and international salons.

Well gee wiz Loot, I humbly accept ;-}
I must admit, I get this way sometimes myself (primordial)..
I find a good long scream clears the head nicely :)
This an excellent profile view/portrait with fine details and great exposure..
The whitish patterned BG really brings it all together also.
Very well done my friend, you're the best.

Hallo Loot
Congratulations for this milestone of your 150st posting on Trek Nature. It feels just like yesterday when you where so excited doing your first upload of an elephant. Time surely flies, here we are almost 4 years later.

Wow, this is a masterpiece! Nature photography at its finest!
Absolutely perfect shot, a stunning portrait in action. You caught him at a really good timing and details are just amazing! He's got teeth all right! I am pleased it was only a yawn. The profile with the open mouth and fierce teeth is a fantastic moment to catch.

I like the lightning and composition a lot. Superb in many aspects, background selection, neatness, and frame only to mention a few. Impressive close up with deluxe details. Perfect focus and all so crisp and sharp. This is very well done with excellent notes as usual.

Thanks for sharing this great piece of camera work as part of a dedication to fellow member and excellent photographer Howard Cheek.

  • Great 
  • Mello Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 140 W: 34 N: 480] (2419)
  • [2009-11-18 8:35]

Great pic Loot. Perfect image technic. TFS.

Woow loot,

Congratulation on this AMAZING shot and this milestone
i can hear "Howard"scream
Excellent sharp and wel detailed shot of this Cercopithecus aethiops
Perfect in every aspect

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-11-18 11:54]

Hi Loot. Congrats on the 150 posting and the fine dedication to Howard. Great pose to have captured. The picture taken with such sharp focusing and fine detail i n the fur. . All with natural colours. Well taken TFS.

Hi Loot,
that's wonderful - and a special moment.
Is this guy screaming or yawning ;-)
Anyway it's lovely and I like it very much.
I also like your note and the dedication to Howard. I saw the movie on YouTube and he also was The Nature Conservancys 2008 photo winner for his photograph of a cardinal landing on a birdbath.
We can be glad to have him here with us ...
Thanks my friend Loot, we are all a wonderful family and I'm realy happy to have good friends here like you ...
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Hello Loot,

An outstanding capture with such natural coloration, sharpness & fine details. Great POV, pose & terrific timing. Well taken & TFS.

A great gift to a great photographer, Howard Cheek.

Best wishes & compliments

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-11-18 23:01]

Hi Loot,
thanks for the input highlighted with excellent academic and research discipline. This helps me a lot in looking deeper and wider into the beauty of this world in a more objective and scientific approach. Thanks for the light thrown.
To the shot above, it is such as combination. The decisive moments and excellent photography make it stunning.
The colour contrast and the sharpness is the key to this presentation. I like the expression shown besidws the croping that allows scrutinizing the detailes.
Lovely and always nice to look at.


Hi Loot,

Awesome job and great portrait capture of this Vervet monkey. I quite like its sleepy facial expression while she is showing its big canine teeths: and how she's looking away from the lens.
The side composition worked well here MF!
By the way, Congratulations! that you reached your 150th posting on TN MF!
Thanks for all contribution to us! All the best!


Hello Loot
Great portrait under good timing and with incredible sharpness
Thanks for sharing this super photo with an excellent note

hello Loot

congratulations to your 150th post, excellent portrait photo of this Monkey
shot at the best moment, fine POV, fine focus great sharpness and details,



  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-11-19 11:16]

Hello Loot,
This Vervet Monkey may be screaming or yawning but this image is certainly a scream!
Technically flawless, a great lateral POV and a light neutral BG that shows up every hair on his face. I wouldn't like to have my finger between those canines!
A top quality image both to celebrate your 150th posting and to give tribute to Howard, a TN founding master photographer!
Congratulations and thanks for this delightful posting!
Kind regards,

PS: thanks also for your generous words on my dragonfly posting!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-11-20 5:03]

Hello Loot,
This fellow made such a big yawn, that I start to yawn too, looking at the shot, not because it is so boring, but it is very communicative..
My god what incisive and big teeth! I wouldn't forget my hand in there..
Excellent portrait of this fellow, not easy with this white coat.
Thanks also for the interesting note. I would like to thanks too for your critique of my last picture.
Kind regards

Hello Loot,
A superb monkey shot from you. It seems very happy that gived you such impressive pose.
Wonderful portrait shot in all aspects.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-11-21 9:21]

Hi, dear Loot.
My heartfelt congratulations on 150th post and amazing shot. It is a highest class portrait work. All is simply brilliant. You have pictured fantastic moment and reflected the state of monkey's mood perfectly. Quality of the shot is exceptional. Details are fantastic and BG is top end too. It is a true diamond in your necklace-gallery. Bravo.

Hi Loot,
A fantastic close-up of this primate showing it's impressive canines. I find it very important to snap the image at the right time, something I'm far from mastering yet. You couldn't have dedicated this image to a more deserving person, Howard has proven himself worthy of a kind and sharing TN member. To him it's all about camera and his subjects. I talk to him on the phone quite a bit and you can really tell this guys has a great passion for this wonderful hobby and I see even greater things to come. Anyway great to see you here on TN and hope to see more images from the Lootenmiester. Thanks again for allowing me to make a print of your Grumpy Old Fish, it's the greatest!
Paul :)

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-11-22 4:42]

Hello Loot,
Great capture of this sleepy 'little guy' who looks quite verocious with those large canines! I wonder why some species of animals tend to yawn more than others?? Fantastic details and colours in this very fine portrait.
A fine dedication to Howard too!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-11-23 19:50]

Super image Loot,
Could easily be a cover photo on National Geographic Magazine. Love everything about this fine photo, the detail is amazing and the colors are natural and very eye pleasing.
Love the facial expression you managed to capture, although I would hate to get my hand caught between those canines.

Ciao Loot, fantastic portrait with impressive canines, lovely dedication to our old friend Howard, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-11-24 14:52]

Hi Loot,nothing better to celebrate your 150th post on TN.Your timing was decsive for the beauty of this pic,a very unusual portrait whit a fanatstic quality of sharpness and colors...i wish to tell you more but my english is very bad..ehehe...thanks a lot for share,have a nice time,LUCIANO

Hello Loot, splendid portrait shot of this wonderful vervet monkey in an special moment with nice details and composition.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2009-11-25 7:24]

Hi Loot

A truly fantastic capture again from you! :)
Once again you managed to surprise us (and your subject) and catch it just in the right moment to best enhance its features and gives a totally new and interesting view.
...Man those teeth are cool!!! And much bigger than i'd expected, too :))
Seriously now, you really pulled it off here, taking this great shot from an excellent side POV and with just the right shutter speed in order to ensure this impeccable sharpness.


  • Great 
  • rommel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 446 W: 0 N: 287] (3628)
  • [2009-11-26 10:42]

Dag Loot,
This is a viciously impressive shot with such live sharpness and brilliant detail.Well done and TFS.

Hello Loot,
Nice to see you posting great shots from KNP. The side profile of this Vervet Monkey portrait has many things beyond one would appreciate otherwise. I like its title "Primordial Scream" though it had been an act of contagious yawning possibly (I must admit that it did affect me with a wide yawn, chuckle :) governed by mirror neuron system or an unconscious signal that serves to synchronize group behavior of the species. Yet to learn so much….Prof!

Hi Loot
A fine capture with excellent POV and composition...TFS

Hello Loot
wonderful capture and portraite of Vervet Monkey. great selection to celebrate for 150th posts. congratulations cordially on this milestone, my friend. I wish you many hundreds here. thanks for your all posts. I have learnt many thing from your posts and critiques. I like to read original notes and messages.
You greatly captured the monkey during screaming time. Characteristic teeth visible very well. dark face and light colored hairs' details shown greatly. sharp focus, exposure, POV/DOF and timing wonderful. thanks for sharing, best regards

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