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Special Hairdo

Special Hairdo
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: 2009-12-26
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/4, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Great cats - Grandes felinos, Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Southern Africa II, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, Big Cats, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-01-08 8:31
Viewed: 6896
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 84
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Lion - Panthera leo

This lion was captured at the Mreson Ranch which amongst other things is also a lion breeding facility. It is situated 10km from an appealing little town called Vrede, in the Free State province, South Africa. This is a unique Game and Holiday Ranch with a variety of game species available for viewing, such as: lions, white lions, tigers, wild dogs, crocodiles, zebra, blue wildebeest, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, white blesbok, springbuck, steenbok, mountain reedbuck, common duiker, ostrich, fallow deer and impala.

The blesbok herd at the ranch is one of the biggest herds in the Free State with an average of 1,500 buck. Game drives and night drives are offered on request. Other facilities available includes: a Jacuzzi, a Olympic size hydro spa, a sports bar and restaurant (overlooking the lion den), luxury sandstone chalets, and a spacious camping area.

This guy is for sure one of, if not "the" biggest lion I've ever seen. He is enormous and has a massive black mane that would make any respectable hairdresser green with envy. While visiting the Mreson Ranch we attended the various lion "cages" which are spaciously fenced areas that contains 1 male lion and a varying number of lionesses per cage.

A separate cage is set up for all the cubs and if I remember correctly there must have been 10 cubs at the time of our visit. I understand the need to keep the cubs separate from the adult lions as this is obviously an unnatural situation. With the lions kept within confined spaces the mortality rate of the cubs would obviously be abnormally high if they were to be kept with the adults.

All the lions in the various cages were basically doing what lions do best and working hard at it while continuing to do so for most of the day. That is to lie around while "resting" and just generally being lazy all day long. At dawn these beautiful animals would normally go on the hunt so they need all the rest they can get every day. However, I don't know what energy these caged lions need to safe during the day time as they do not have to hunt like wild lions. All their food gets delivered to them so it seems like the only work they have to perform is to continuously produce cubs and that's no joke.

When lions lie around like that, there are really not many opportunities for capturing any worth while images. One needs to be patient and utilise the occasion whenever they would stand or sit up or whenever a lion would break away from the rest of the group. Then one still need to fight with the main fencing (to avoid the wires and other unwanted paraphernalia) and also fight against the safety fence, a barbed-wire barrier, that prevents people like me from getting too close to the main fence and maybe end up being a toy (or food) for one or all of these big cats. Eventually all the holes lined up in the cheese and I managed to get this shot of the big guy. For a moment the wind was blowing in the right direction to make it look like this feline just had a Special Hairdo.

Taxonomic Classification

: Animalia (animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (animals with a shared body plan having at some stage in their lives: a notochord, a dorsal neural cord, pharyngeal slits & a post anal tail)
SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds & mammals)
CLASS: Mammalia (mammals)
ORDER: Carnivora (placental, mostly meat-eating animals, with; teeth, claws & binocular vision)
FAMILY: Felidae (domestic & wild cats, tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, cougars, cheetahs, servals, lynxes, caracals & ocelots)

Length: (M) 2.5-3.3m, (F) 2.3-2.7m.
Mass: (M) 150-250kg, (F) 120-182kg.

Visually, the male lion is highly distinctive and is easily recognised by its mane. Body colour ranges from pale tawny to reddish-grey, with paler underparts. Faint spotting is present on cubs, but is usually lost by adulthood. The tail is short-haired and the same colour as the body, but the tip ends in a hairy tuft and it is dark brown to black.

In Africa, lions can be found in savanna grasslands with scattered Acacia trees which serve as shade. Most viable populations are now restricted to the larger savanna conservation areas.

Very wide tolerance, from desert fringes to woodland and fairly open grasslands. Absent from true forest.

Lions spend much of their time resting and are inactive for about 20 hours per day. Although lions can be active at any time, their activity generally peaks after dusk with a period of socialising, grooming, and defecating. Intermittent bursts of activity follow through the night hours until dawn, when hunting most often takes place. They spend an average of two hours a day walking and 50 minutes eating.

The prey consists mainly of large mammals, with a preference for wildebeest, impalas, zebras, buffalo, and warthogs. Many other species are hunted, based on availability and opportunity. Mainly this will include ungulates weighing between 50-300kg such as kudu, hartebeest, gemsbok, and eland.

Most lionesses will have reproduced by the time they are four years of age. Lions do not mate at any specific time of year, and the females are polyestrous. A lioness may mate with more than one male when she is in heat. During a mating bout, which could last several days, the couple copulates 20-40 times a day and are likely to forgo eating.

Most lions now live in eastern and southern Africa, and their numbers there are rapidly decreasing, with an estimated 3050% decline over the last two decades. The cause of the decline is not well-understood, and may not be reversible. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species.

Conservation of both African and Asian lions has required the setup and maintenance of national parks and game reserves; among the best known are Etosha National Park in Namibia, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and Kruger National Park in South Africa. Outside these areas, the issues arising from lions' interaction with livestock and people usually results in the elimination of the former.

Threatened: Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN 3.1 Red List.


Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Argus, SunToucher, uleko, nglen, Mamagolo2, xTauruSx, siggi, zulfu, CeltickRanger, jaycee, jlinaresp, boreocypriensis, eng55, Miss_Piggy, maurydv, hansh, albert, smitha, caspian, Dyker, Dis. Ac., Rehanna, sranjan, horias, anemone, marhowie, Athila has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To FunkyMunky: "Easy" shotloot 1 01-11 22:23
To Argus: Vrede...loot 1 01-08 08:59
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-01-08 8:45]
  • [+]

Hello Loot,
A fine portait of this royal beast!
The lateral POV against the green grass with his hair coiffeur makes it look like he was posing for this one!:) Technically and esthetically first class!
BTW, 'vrede' means 'anger' in Swedish.
Thanks and have good weekend and i hope Anna is well afeter her op.!

Dear Loot,
You are absolutely right - I know it sounds ridiculous - but he looks as if he just had a blow-dry!

Apparently, when the males lions sit still like that - they are NOT JUST RESTING - they close the nostrils and breath deeply through the mouth - to catch "a sexual promise that is borne on the air". Female urine carries sexual hormones, when come in contact with his "Jacobson's organ" in the roof of his mouth, allow him to analyse information about the females fertility.

Concerning locking away the cubs, it is done routinely everywhere to avoid a male killing the cubs of another male.

Previously - before this was known - female became prematurely fertile after her cub was killed, thus being able to bear a cub from a different male.

The perfect focus and control of depth of field enables the viewer to notice how unscarred the face of this lion is in comparison with lions in the socalled wild (Game Parks).

A very interesting Lion portrait, and I add it to my theme "Animal Behaviour."

I wish you a good week-end
Kind regards

Hi Loot.
This lion portrait is perfect.
Very good details.Congratulations.
Friendly regards.Alin.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-01-08 9:36]

Hello Loot
Another excellent portrait of the king.Well done

Hi Loot,
I am sure that we would be wonderful neighbors and we are for sure today with our uploads. Your kitty has a wonderful rock and roll look. Hes not only the king of the jungle but also the king of rock and roll. Its the reincarnation of Elvis and you actually visited Graceland.
It is wonderful side profile photo with tons of details in his manes.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-01-08 9:54]

Hello Loot,
Yes, a superb hairstyle but it could do with a bit of trimming!( - the 'mane' of our little dog looks very similar in texture before trimming!!) I'm curious as to which hairdresser he went to, or was it the wind creating this great style? Joking apart, it is an excellent portrait showing fantastic details and natural colours. Very well done and thanks for the informative note!
Regards, Ulla

Hi Loot,

Great portrait of this magnificent animal. There is great detail there and the golden-black mane stands out very well against the all green background.
Great capture and TFS


Hi Loot,

Excellent portrait shot of this beautiful KING
Sharpnes, pose, POV, colors and details are wonderful

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2010-01-08 10:34]

Hi Loot

Superb shot - and quite different to the Pendjari male lions! Well seen and captured.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-01-08 10:42]

Hello Loot,
Yes, the hair makes this photo. It is always 'against the wind'. Perfect sharpness and details in very beautiful natural colours. Great choice of composition. Beautiful contrasting BG.
Nice to hear that Anna is going well.
Vrede (peace) is a dutch word, exactly the same. I was a few times in South Africa. The last time we had a S.A. guide. He was speaking South African all the time and we enjoyed it.
Good weekend,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-01-08 11:35]

Hi Loot. Firstly thanks for the interesting notes to go with this first class close up of this beautiful Lion. What a proud looking animal. Which you have taken with fine detai land such natural colours. It looks as if he just sat for you. Well taken TFS.

WOW Loot, what a stunning image!! I love the colors of his mane against the green back ground. Love the sharpness and details.
love his hairstyle. I'll have to get his stylists number.(hahaha)
He truly is a king amongst the animals. VWD and TFS.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-01-08 12:33]
  • [2]

Woow Loot,never seen a lot of hairs like that,this lion remember me a young Tina Turner..ehehe...it's simply a wonderful and beautiful portrait,and the king of the forest need to compare sometimes on TN...just my best compliments,the quality of this pic no need comments....simply perfect! Have a good night,Luciano

Hello Loot,
Splendid portrait shot of a lion while looking at his front side.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-01-08 13:21]

Hello Loot.
This shot is truly stunning! This one looks so much like his name "king of beasts" So regal and powerful, yet in this scene seems so calm and serene. Great extensive note also. Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-01-08 15:23]

Hello Loot, stunning portrait shot with wonderful details and colours.
TFS and G's,

hello Loot

a great portrait photo of the King of all wild animals,
fine POV, fine focus sharpness and details,
a very beautiful portrait photo of the Lion, TFS


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-01-08 15:52]

Hi Loot,

He is a beauty and this is a wonderful portrait. He surely does look as if he has just had his "hair done." A fantastic close-up showing off each strand in great detail. The profile is superb. Please send my best to Anna - I hope she is recovering at top speed.


Hi and good morning MF Loot,

Striking and awesome portrait shot of this magnificent beauty!
The facial expression from side view is priceless.
I like the way it seems to emerge from the green BG, A wildlife magazine composition indeed.
TFS and have a nice WE MF!
Hope Anna is better now!
All the best!


  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-01-08 23:56]

Hi Loot,
Very beautiful portrait of this Lion.He must be happy with her hairdresser:)Sharpness and details are amazing.Well caught and composed.Have a nice weekend!
Thanks for posting..

Dear Loot
I am very proud of the grey streaks in my hair that comes with age, but I must admit looking at this huge lion's natural highlights make me a bit jealous. This bush of hair with its combination of colours is surely very eye-catching and indeed beautiful. I very much like the way you have photographed it from the side, this way showing us its profile beautifully. It certainly looks as if he has posed just for you for this specific shot, as he is lying dead still with its head facing to the front. I really like the variation of colours seen not only on the body fur, but in the face as well. The white hairs on its chin are very white and the details thereof are seen with great clarity. A super sharp portrait, captured in fine style and precision. Thanks for sharing. Love

Ciao Loot, Great portrait of superbe creature, iy's realy a king, splendid light, wonderful natural colors, fine details and excellent sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Loot,
a superb portrait of the Lion taken from an excellent close POV with outstanding sharpness and impressive detail, splendid colours and very good contrast against a green BG. very well done.
Have a good weekend

  • Great 
  • hansh Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
  • [2010-01-09 2:12]

Hi Loot.

As if he just comes from the hairdresser.
A very nice portrait of this lion.
Perfect of sharpness and well composed.
Thank you for sharing it.

Gr. Hans

Hello Loot,
Great portrait with superb sharpness showing each hair of its mane. An impressive male !
Have a nice W-E

Hello Loot,
excellent capture of this King of the jungle.(or shuld i say Ranch?:)) Stunning side profile with amazing sharpness and details in the mane. good colours and contrast.
Thanks and regards,

Hi Loot,

With sharp detail and a great an very interesting timing.
Interesting that the lion's mane with a comb shape, especially if the image gives the impression of.
Light and color quality, focus and timing to the success of the course's been added a non-frame appeared satisfaction.
And labor in your hand to your health, thanks for sharing.

Kind regards and greetings,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-01-09 20:53]

Hello Loot,
I just got done watching Lion King with my grandkids over and over and over and over.....so this guy really looks familiar to me at the moment. Excellent detail and lighting in this photo which makes the texture of the fluffy mane very evident. Again I'm extremely glad that we don't have these guys loose and roaming our neighborhoods here in Ohio.

Although I consider this to be an "easy" shot, the subject being in an enclosed area, it is still an excellent photo. Probably the beat lion portrait I have ever seen. The colours are true end the focus spot-on, well done!

Hello Loot,

an very good portrait of this Lion with exellent details and pov.
Fine natural colours.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-01-10 4:39]

Hello Loot,
real nice hair...indeed. the mane is so lovely and the sharpness is well documented. i like its density as it is not normally seen in photos. a very well detailed and nice cropping to focus on the hairs.
The ones on the ear are really exciting.
well composed presentation.
the note is very informative and the exchange of ideas is very useful and exciting too . ( Like your experience in Kruger )


Hi Loot
Great portrait with excellent details...Looks like real king....Professional photography....Simple and Best....

Hi Loot,
What a handsome looking lion. I have learned from you on spotting the difference from wild to captive lions. Captive always seems well groomed and not beat up looking. You mentioned wild males usually display battle scars, especially around the face, something I always look for when viewing images of the big cats of Africa. Really nice side profile.

Hi Loot,
Awesome photo my friend. He is tight in the frame, but I am a fan of tight cropping. Spot on with the exposure. The light looks great here as there appears to be no shadows yet you have very nice contrast. Nice sharp detail has every hair looking great on that massive mane. It does look like he could use a good conditioner to fix those split ends though. The intense gaze is also what really helps make it good. As usual, your notes and provided facts are superb. Always learn something from every one of your posts.

I guess it is another place to put on my list to visit when I make it over.

Take care my friend,


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-01-11 23:06]

Are you sure this is a real lion, and not a plush toy? Heehee...
I have never seen a lion with such a gorgeous mane, and he seems to know it too.
Really amazing profile of this noble beast.
A well-chosen POV, with every hair on that mane showing off individually.
Great shot, my friend.
P.S. I think he needs a theme of his own. : )

Dear Prof Loot,
This is one the finest side profiles I have ever seen of P leo. The description of this magnificent lion in your notes is highlighting its power & the poise he must be carrying all around in Moreson Ranch. The details, lighting & POV are exceptionally good. Thanks for sharing this handsome.
Best wishes-Subhash

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-01-12 11:36]

What a sharpness details to this wonderful lion!
Great colors and light!

Hi Loot
Impressive photo with nice details, POV and composition.
thanks for sharing
Best regards

Hi dear Loot ,
As always a perfect work.
Excellent sharpness and great details.


Great details, love his massive mane and this classic profile pose.
Hope you're doing ok during this difficult time, with the worlds economy in such distress.
Be well,

  • Great 
  • Athila Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 335 W: 239 N: 493] (1982)
  • [2010-08-10 10:06]

Bonjour Loot,

As we say in french "only his hair dresser knows". Nice sharp image well exposed. Subject is nicely isolated on a neutral BG. You left sufficient room infront of his sight. Good work and TFS.


Hello Loot-Real beauty!Nice colour and well framed.Like it.Thanks for sharing your work with us.Regards-Srikumar

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