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On mothers back

On mothers back
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-26
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird photos -2-, Fauna of PALAEARCTIC Region [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-06-15 1:23
Viewed: 8042
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 128
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo is taken in front of our house. There are three chicks on the back of their mother. Only two are visible. The biggest one just had his first swimming experience. He had a lot of problems to climb up his mothers back. But as you can see he made it.

Now, almost three weeks old, they are all in a good condition and are growing very fast.

The Great Crested Grebe (podiceps cristatus) is 46-51 cm long with a 59-73 cm wingspan. It is an excellent swimmer and diver, and pursues its fish prey underwater. The adults are unmistakable in summer with head and neck decorations. In winter, this is whiter than most grebes, with white above the eye, and a pink bill. It is the largest European grebe.

Pairs begin to form during the middle of winter, and nesting can start in January, providing that conditions are mild. This grebe is well known for its elaborate courtship display, in which pairs raise and shake their head plumes, and approach each other with weed in their bills, rising up breast to breast in the water and turning their heads from side to side. The nest is either a hidden mound of reeds and other vegetation or else a floating platform anchored to vegetation. After May, between 1 and 9 (but usually 4) eggs are laid , which take 27-29 days to incubate. Both parents are involved in incubation; when they leave the nest they cover the eggs with rotting vegetation to keep them warm. After hatching, the stripy chicks are carried around on the backs of their parents, they fledge at around 71-79 days of age. The young are remarkable because their heads are striped black and white, much like zebras. They lose these markings when they become adults.

When I took this photo the light conditions were poor, but I hope you like it.

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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To aido: Active D-lightingPeterZ 1 06-15 05:23
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi my dear friend Peter, What a cute capture:) Great composition. Reflections are also great. TFS my friend.


Hello Peter, lovely shot of this mum and baby. Excellent capture! thanks for sharing this. Regards,

Hello Peter,
splendid shot!very cute capture,wonderful composition with sharp image,lovely colours.
very well done.

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  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-06-15 2:15]

Ha Peter,

Een mooie foto van ma de taxi,fraaie kleuren en details,leuk om dat voor je huis voorbij te zien zwemmen,groetjes


Hello Peter,

Very nice shot of this cute family. Very good composition. Very good focus too. Great detail. The picture is a bit noisy but it is due to the bad weather we have now :-(. Very good natural colours. Hoping that we have a better weather soon.

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  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-06-15 2:54]

Hi Peter

What a beautiful shot - great pose and timing. The reflection is great. Wonderful work.


Delightful theme, Peter.
I have seen this kind of close rapport between mother and offspring among birds for the first time and it is a touching scene.
Would have made a great impact on Mothers' Day!
Very high quality image with perfect sharpness and lovely colours.
Thanks and best regards.

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  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2008-06-15 3:49]
  • [+]

Hello Peter,
A nice image of this youngster catching a ride on Mother's back. Beautiful colours and very well framed/composed with the reflection included. Do you use Active D-Lighting on your D300? I turned it on to see how it worked when I bought my D300 and I haven't turned it off yet. It would help with awkward lighting situations such as this.

Dear Peter
What a wonderful scene you captured,
Great focusing,exposure and POV.Welldone my friend.


Hello Peter a fine moment captured details are very sharp. A nice cute shot. Good low pov best rgds Necip

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-06-15 4:44]

Hi Peter.This is a very good close up of the Grebe and its young. great detail and colours. a nice refection and use of the light.,well done TFS.

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  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-06-15 7:25]

Poor light conditions make great photographs! It is stunning and beautiful, Peter. The reflexion on the water is absolutely beautiful, the details in the plumage and the colours of duck and chicks are fantastic. It is a pure beauty, thank you!


Hi Peter,
A lovely capture of this grebe and its offspring. Superb details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hallo Peter,

prachtige foto met de jongen op de rug.
Mooi om ze een paar weke te volgen zoals bij de eerste zwemlessen.
Goed scherp en prachtige kleuren.


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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-06-15 10:12]

Hi Peter,

I am so jealous - a scene like this in the front of your house! I have mountains but have to drive for hours and hours to see water. An adorable shot of this mom giving her baby a ride. Colors and details are superb. A nice reflection in the rippled water.


Hello Peter,
It's a lovely shot with nice colours and reflections. Details on the family a very good despite poor light. A very good job. Best regards,

Bellissimo momento di cattura, eccellenti POV e composizione con il riflesso, ottima definizione dei dettagli, magnifici i colori. Grazie e complimenti. Thanh you fo your WS. Ciao Maurizio

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  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-06-15 12:13]

Hi Peter,
A cute family portrait :o) POV, colors, and composition with the reflections are very nice. TFS

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  • Hil Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
  • [2008-06-15 12:36]

Hi Peter

Great capture of the young Grebe's hitching a ride on their mothers back, i love it when they do this as its such a cute pose.
Nice details and lovely colours especially the colours reflected on the water.


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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-06-15 13:55]

Awww lovely shot, Peter :-)
Those little chicks are so cute!
Very good sharpness.
Excellent reflection too.
Beautiful colours.

Well done,


Awesome capture. I have yet to encounter such behavior - I am sure it's a thrill to watch and photograph. You've done wonderfully here. Everything works just right. TFS.

Best Regards,


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  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2008-06-16 1:00]

hi Peter,
belle image familiale, la saison s'y prête bien. Bon POV, et couleurs bien dense.


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  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-06-16 2:47]

Hi Peter,
Very cute scane.POV,sharpness,clear details,colors,contrast and composition are perfect.
Thanks for posting.

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-06-16 3:37]

Hello Peter,
This is superb!
A marvellous capture of a mother Great Crested Grebe with a couple of her chicks on her back. The lighting, composition, watery BG and reflections and clarity are all of a high standard and make this image very attractive.
TFS this beauty,
Regards, Ivan

Hi Peter
Beautiful composition with superb details and lovely color and light
tfs jon

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  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-06-16 5:37]

Hello Peter, WOW what a cute looking bird and thi sis superb. The conditions that you had to shot is utilised brilliantly. Ganesh

hello Peter

WOW ! what a lovely photo of this mommy Grebe
and the chicks on her back, fine POV, DOF and framing,
i love the reflection on water, and specially the reflection
of the chicks on the back of their mother,
excellent sharpness and details, TFS


Great shot Peter!
The zebra-like baby looks cool on moms back, I can't remember seeing many of these on TN before..
Very good color, exposure, DOF, and details.
Well composed with a nice POV and reflection too :)

bonjour peter
bravo,le grebe est mon sujet du jour mais je n'ai pas eu la chance d'avoir encore les petits sur le dos du parent.
la netteté est bonne et l'ensemble adorable.

Hi Peter,

I managed to get a similar shot a week or so ago, but only one chick and only its head showing, so well done on getting these two. You get a lot of enjoyment from watching the grow - and you'll hopefully get some good fishing shots! Great picture, simple composition, and it works perfectly.


Hello Peter
You are lucky to either see such a great scene and to take with a great capture. Great sharp details, POV and composition. Reflection and colors also very nice. Danke.
best wishes

Ciao Peter, splendid Grebe with fantastic colors, fascinating composition with wonderful reflections, fine details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-06-17 9:17]

Hello Peter

A super capture.
The pov is excellent.
Lovely rich natural colours.
Great job to manage to get the young hitching a ride like this.
Great job.


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  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-06-17 9:33]

Hi Peter,
Wonderful shot of this cute little Grebe having a ride on its mother's back. Very neat and sharp image with nice colours and perfect lighting. The ripples in the water creates good effect. Excellent POV and composition. Kudos.

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  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-06-17 11:22]

Hi Peter

This is just adorable! They look so safe and secure there. The shot is beautifully done as well with great light, nice POV and sharp details. The little ripples on the water look very attractive



Hi again Peter, this is a perfect one in all aspects. TFS. Regards, Bahadır

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  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-06-17 21:03]

Hi again Peter, another superb shot. TFS. Regards,

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-06-18 0:36]

hello Peter,
Very cute scene, indeed. The light, I think, wasn't too bad. It made very interesting reflections on the water. The foreground is in the red tones, the background in greenish colour.
Makes it very special.
Best regards

Hi Peter
Wonderful reflections in this fine composition. Excellent sharpness and details.
Thanks for sharing and greetings

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  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-06-18 21:30]

Hi Peter,
This is just too cute..:)And you get to see this right infront of your home...Such a beautiful capture Peter, i am just thinking how would it be to wake up every morning and look at this delightful mommy and kids group ...lucky you, i 'm envious of you...:)

I didnt notice the second one in the first look, but soon saw the one snuggled up under her neck.I have seen ducks and ducklings as a child, but n'ver an endeearing scene as this.That's like a mommy who has got her kids on piggyback...a wonderful composition indeed, with good DoF and colours. I am not really worried so much about the lighting ...i think it just looks fine..very fine details and best of all a wonderful moment.
TFS & Cheers

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  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-06-19 4:43]

Hi Peter

A superb family portrait here! Very good timing indeed!
I really like your rather low POV that shows the mother and the babies from a parallel angle.
Their refection on the water is also lovely and the nice ripples add to the impact of the composition here.
Sorry that the light conditions weren't the best...if you could have taken this shot at a lower ISO it would have definitely been one for the magazines. Anyway, it's still gorgeous and i congratulate you for it.

Bravo and TFS

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  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-06-24 7:56]

Wow! Great capture Peter, the perfect moment and a fantastic quality image, you must be real proud of it, thanks!


Hi Peter
Very cute and elegant photo. Very nice composition, great moment There are littl problems with noise but it is a minor thing here

Hi Peter,
this is so very charming and I happen to like grebes a lot.I see that the iso that you used was very high at 1600 and that you had a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec,so with the speed of the shutter that you had,I think you could of gone with a slower iso and still got great results and a little less graininess even with poor light conditions,but then again perhaps not if the camera at the next lowest iso gives too slow of a shutter speed.The young grebes show up as zebra striped and I bet they are so cute to see for real.Here where I live we have a similar grebe with a red neck ,called the Red-Necked Grebe.I like this little family and thank you, poor conditions and all for sharing them with us. Bob

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  • Adam73 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 208 W: 5 N: 522] (2253)
  • [2008-11-10 10:07]

Very nice capture of the behavior of this Grebe. Very cute.


Hello Peter,

Very nice photo. I like the motive and despite the movement you managed to get the photo very sharp.


Trés belle image.
Mes meiller voeux.
Bonne année.

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  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-01-01 5:20]

Hi Peter,
such an excellent shot. not only it is rich in natural beauty and photographic skills, most of all there is an element of human touch. i could feel the love rendered.
Well presented with great sharpness and clarity, the blurry water movement give a good aristic effect and the colours are excellent.
Nice and brilliant piece of shot.


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  • MrTava (84)
  • [2009-03-04 18:27]

Olá Peter, friend who image deslumbrande with an expression of colors and contours, that they make the eyes to shine of peace and armonia. Beautiful pecepção and expression of the nature. congratulations 5 ***** I hug! Cordial Tavares

Preciosa y tierna fotografía Peter, supongo que te lo han dicho casi todo ya jeje. El pequeño encima de la madre, un gran detalle.
Saludos: Josep Ignasi.

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  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2009-07-14 10:50]

hello sir,
fantastic picture of this grebe with kids :)
lovely details and compostion

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  • RDx Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 14 W: 4 N: 65] (282)
  • [2009-09-01 9:11]

Looks like it is just back from the parlour with a hair cut :) . This is just too good !!

Beautiful photograph of the bird. I wish the bottom should be little more.

Hello Peter,
Hope you'll be doing fine and would have had a good Christmas. Thanks for your comments to my Peacock Pansy shot. In order to show my gratitude I have visited your page and found this well-rated wonderful photos and chose to comment on this Grebe one which is just marvelous. You are a gifted person for it takes vision to create something out of an ordinary scene...thanks for sharing and supporting. Wish you and your family a happy 2010..warmest regards/Abid

Hi Peter
This photo is taken in front of our house,that luck to have these birds before where one lives, a well taken and wonderful scene.

Happy new year for you and family.


great photo sir.

Hi Peter,

The reflections on the water are assets to the composition. The point of view is showing with precision the details and colors of the Great Crested Grebe anf of the chick. The light is givimg a good contrast to the colors. Have a nice day.


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  • peterl (16)
  • [2010-09-19 1:40]

prachtige kleuren
de reflectie kan ik zeker ook smaken
blijkbaar zitten ze met 2 erbij ?

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  • Bert (22)
  • [2011-03-26 17:14]

OUFFF!a superb shot, outstanding sharpness, mavellous colours very well saturated

Very beautiful and sweet portrait!!!

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  • gasson (126)
  • [2011-04-18 13:06]

An idyllic shot, mesmerising in its beauty.
Regards to you Peter,

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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2011-07-13 12:01]

I just LOVE this picture, Peter!
How lucky you are to be able to observe that from in front of your house.
Absolutely wonderful! TFS. : )

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  • ricx Silver Note Writer [C: 8 W: 0 N: 43] (241)
  • [2011-09-09 8:26]

Hi Peter, I have recently come across your gallery and could not help, but notice this wonderful image- mother nature is very special.. Congrats and have a wonderful weekend Rich

Nice rich colours Peter. It's framed tighter than I'd like but this way it carries a strong look. The DOF blends well to the water. It's just a great nature shot. TFS Trevor

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