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Ol' Blue Eyes

Ol' Blue Eyes
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: 2006-01-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon 55-200mm EF f/4.5-5.6 II USM, Digital ISO 100, UV 52mm Marumi
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of South Africa 1, Funny Faces, Different Birds, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, Open Up ...Part I [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-01-29 5:20
Viewed: 4475
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
OstrichStruthio camelus

I realise that I am probably on thin ice with this one due to the burnout on the top of the head and the beak, but I've never seen this colours on a male ostrich before so I wanted to share it. The photo was taken in the midday heat with the Zululand sun blazing at its best. This bird could easily pass for a drag artist with its blue eye-shadow and red lips. It was rather difficult to capture this shot as the bird continually moved about and its head bobbing up and down all the time. I've taken 21 photos of it and only five frames actually had the head on the photo. The rest just showed bush, or a blur, or a part of its anatomy that was unidentifiable.

The photo was taken at Zululand's Umfolozi River Lodge & Bird Park. It is a birdwatcher’s paradise with beautiful walking trails along the Msunduzi River. Large aviaries of exotic birds and Koi fish ponds surround the lodge and are a delight to visit.


Grasslands, arid land.

1.75-2.75 metre.

Distribution & range
As Ostriches are the largest living birds they are unmistakable and a well-known species. There is now only a single species, living in Africa, but formerly the family’s range extended from southern Europe to Mongolia as well as throughout Africa.

The ostrich is too big to fly, but has become so perfectly adapted to high-speed running that it is the fastest creature on two legs. At speeds of up to 70 km/h (44 mph), it can easily outstrip most enemies. Powerful legs, flexible knees and supple two-toed feet are its adaptations for speed. The ostrich has lost its strong wing feathers, but the male has soft, curling plumes which were once much in demand for fashionable hats and boas. Female birds are slightly smaller than males and have brownish plumage and off-white wings and tails. Juveniles are greyish-brown.

Males utter a dull ‘roar’ at night, said to resemble the roar of a distant lion.

Ostriches eat mostly plant food, but occasionally feed on small reptiles.

They are nomadic, wandering in small groups in search of food. At breeding time, the male collects a harem of 2 to 5 females. One female scrapes a shallow pit in the ground in which to lay her eggs and the rest of the harem probably uses the same nest.

The eggs are laid between July to September and are the largest laid by any bird – the equivalent in volume of about 40 hen’s eggs. The male bird takes over the incubation of the eggs at night and shares in the task of nurturing the young.

Source: "The Marshall illustrated encyclopedia of Animals", 1998 Marshall Publishing.

Camera settings
ISO setting – 100
Aperture – f/5.6
Shutter speed – 1/200
Focal length - 200mm

Post Processing was done with ArcSoft Photo Studio 5.5:
Brightness, contrast, saturation, reduced to 72 dpi, resized, and cropped

radz, ckuh55, Dyker, parthasarathi, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • radz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 598 W: 11 N: 72] (436)
  • [2006-01-29 6:01]

Nice macro shot!!good POV.

  • Great 
  • chiliu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1457 W: 0 N: 1176] (6526)
  • [2006-01-29 17:22]

Hi Loot,
Very sharp image with strong visual impact,
great colours and good details.
Thanks for sharing!

Hello Loot,
excellent photo of this ostrich´s head.
Good details and colors. Useful note.

Wonderful galleries you have here (pics) and your information is fantastic. Lucky for you to live in nature and see this monthly or weekly. One day I shall get to your part of the world..cheers

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-05-11 21:07]

Hello Loot
I had to laugh when I saw this photo. This bird is really a comic. Red lipstick and blue eyeshadow for the biggest most macho bird on planet earth. What a laugh. But as you said the head took some heavy overexposure. So the entertainment value is good, but the photographic quality could improve.

I selected this picture only for one reason. Within all your Don Bradman score, only this sweet blue eye bird touched the double, the lowest. But it could be my highest chance to put my name to felicitate you as the sixth man.

Hierdie girl is ge-make-up soos min! wat 'n pragtige dier! Kan kwalik glo mens slag hulle vir kos!

Hello Loot

Hierdie blou oog gedoente is nogals iets vir 'n seer oog. Ek het nog nooit gesien dat 'n volstruis so baie grimeersel dra nie en dit nogal 'n mannetjie. Ek wonder of daar nie so ietsie fout met die ou was en hy dus so 'n bietjie aan die 'skeef' kant was nie.

Alle grappies egter gedaan en op eie meriete is dit egter 'n baie leersame foto alhoewel jy tereg daarop wys dat daar ietwat van 'n oorbeligting op die kop en bek gedeelte was. Andersinds is dit 'n heel skaflike foto met goie fokus en kleur.


Hallo Loot
This is a great portrait and although you make mention in your notes of the burned out areas, I still think this is a super shot which you have managed to present a very good facial close-up of the ostrich with perfect details and colours. You chose a most appropiate title for your posting as the blue around the huge eye is indeed beautiful and reminds you of o’ll blue eyes himself- Frank Sinatra. Talking about the eye, this is a brave close-up of this guy’s eye which a photographer of your calibre only can handle with such efficacy and profesional skill. These guys are quite funny but what I have heard can also be dangerous. If this guy suddenly decided to turn around because you where aiming for his eye and gave you chase, it would have been a very funny scene to watch.

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