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iMfolozi Elephant

iMfolozi Elephant
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: 2006-01-02
Categories: Mammals, Savannah
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon 55-200mm EF f/4.5-5.6 II USM, Digital ISO 400, UV 52mm Marumi
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/100 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Mammals of Southern Africa, Animal Portraits II, Mammals of Africa, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park 1, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, My First Post of Trek Nature, Intimate Portraits [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-01-24 15:54
Viewed: 7146
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African elephant - Loxodonta africana

Hi, to all you Trekkies out there. This is my first posting on TN and I hope there will still be many to follow. For many months I have admired and enjoyed all the lovely photo's and critiques on the site and learned a lot from you all. Eventually I got my own digital camera and so the next phase has began.

Taken in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park this was one of the closest encounters I ever had with an elephant. Elephants are rather dangerous animals and because they are so big one really do not have to approach that close for a good photo. But this one surprised me! While I was photographing another elephant I turned around and saw him coming out of the bush towards me ±8 meters away. My immediate instinct was to flee at great haste, but then I noticed that he stopped and continued to feed and obviously not perturbed by my presence at all. Thankfully he was not nervous, but I definitely could not say the same of my state of mind. I quickly shot a couple of frames, said thanks to the big one, and for the sake of safety I made a hasty departure. One doesn't have to invite danger in a reckless or suicidal way.


The African elephant is the largest living land mammal, easily identified by its long, highly mobile and sensitive trunk, very large ears and two tusks extending from the upper jaw. Some individuals lack tusks. The largest tusks on record were removed from an elephant in Kenya, weighing 102,3kg and 97kg respectively. Although tusks grow throughout an animal's life, they never reach maximum potential length as a result of wear and breakages. The large ears serve as display and signalling devices, as well as being used to cool the blood as it circulates through the numerous vessels on the inner surface. This cooling is sometimes aided by squirting water behind the ears with the trunk. The grey-brown skin is virtually hairless, except at the tip of the tail, and usually takes on the coloration of local soils as a result of frequent dust- and mud-bathing.

Principal concentrations located in Central, East and the northern parts of southern Africa and only isolated and small numbers surviving in West Africa. Free-ranging herds are increasingly rare, with most populations being restricted to conservation areas.

Massive declines in both numbers and range over the past three decades, from an estimated 5-10 million in 1930 to some 600 000 by 1992, primarily as a result of illegal hunting for the ivory tusks, although this is now largely under control. The principal threat is loss of range and habitat as a result of rapidly increasing human populations.

Extremely wide habitat tolerance, including coastal, montane, forest, different savanna associations, semi-desert and swamp, with the only requirements being access to adequate food, water and usually shade.

Source: "Field guide to the larger Mammals of Africa" by Chris & Tilde Stuart, Struik Publishers.

Post Processing was done with ArcSoft Photo Studio 5.5.

andante, ellis49, petrudamsa, Janice, segub, Dyker, peter_stoeckl, Alex99, Rehanna, Miss_Piggy, betsie, Aaltjie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Dyker: Pachyderm manialoot 1 01-10 01:17
To andante: One smiley as promisedloot 1 01-25 13:34
To annagrace: Uninjured elephantloot 1 01-24 18:48
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Critiques [Translate]

Loot amazing clarity and sharpness. Thanks for sharing,

Wonderful first photo, welcome to TN! What is the mark on his forehead, has he been injured?

Excellent composition, color and sharpness. Hope to see more from you soon,


Wellcome on TN, Loot!
I wish you to have fun and many excellent photos with your new digital camera.
A very good first post. Well balanced colours and contrasts, good sharpness and very expresive.

Regards, Petru

Hi Loot,
this is a great portrait of an elephant. You must have been very close. Well done with the compostion and very good POV.
Very well done.

Welcome to TN.

Welcome and well done - also managed to get myself into that situation a few weeks ago! Good for the heart beat! Nicely done and sharp, clear and good colour. TFS

This is a fantastic up close encounter shot, the detail and colors are excellent. :)

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-02-07 3:33]

Hi Loot, I love this portrait of the elephant, especially seeing him in his native environment. And how scary for you to turn around and see him so close! And he is looking at you and not at all perturbed about you.
It is an excellent composition for being taken in haste. Well done,

Great portrait of this beautiful animal, Loot. The clarity, the crop, everything is just right. Thank you so much for this impressive post.

I really like the composition.
Sharpness, colours and contrast are also excellent, considering the budget lens ;)
Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • segub (6)
  • [2006-11-12 11:05]


A lesson in cropping, the green negative space is good.
This is the way to make your first post, you will always be working against yourself for that one perfect shot.

the best to you

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-01-09 9:56]
  • [+]

Hello Loot
This is evidence why I say elephants is the best. This guy is so beautiful and he moved so softly that you did not even know he was there. I can imagine the fright you must have got when you turned around and looked and saw those tusks. Lovely photo and great composition.

Hi Loot,
what an encounter - from such a close distance!
Admire your courage and nerves. I know why I prefer to shoot butterflies instead.
A great starter! And each promise was´kept by you in the year to follow. Happy anniversary, dear friend!
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-04-05 7:10]

Hi Loot.
Looking at your first shot, I understand why I have a lot of pleasure from your great collection of 100 works and more than 2600 comments. You are great Master of photography and very sensitive man. I wish you healthiness, well-being and happiness.

Impressiveness, cropping and quality of the image is simply outstanding. Great depth of colours and tremendous exactness in details. Bravo. Superb done and TFS.

Hello Loot

Eintlik is hierdie nogaals 'n skrikwekkende verhaal/vertelling wat baie maklik lelik kon gedraai het. Hierdie diere is so groot en tog kan hulle so stilletjies op 'n mens af sluip en jou totaal en al onverhoeds betrap terwyl jy glad nie bewus is van hul teenwoordigheid. Gelukkig was hy skynbaar in 'n baie rustige bui en kon jy dus die storie vir ons vertel. 'n Puik foto onder hierdie omstandighede wat jou sekerlik taamlik aan die bewe moes gehad het.


Hallo Loot
I remember the day that you joined Trek Nature and posted this very close-up shot of the iMfolozi elephant. I like the way the elephant fills the frame, because one can see and appreciate the detail of this gigantic mammal so much better. You came so close to this one that one can count the wrinkles on its trunk if you wanted to. The beautiful trunk is an eye-catcher, and I think your timing was just right to capture this dynamic portrait. It is as if he is looking straight at you. Framing is perfect, focus is good and I love the greenery as background, bringing out the colour of this giant to its full potential. I have been in the car with you a view times with close encounters with these animals, and it has been some real nail biting times. Thanks for the interesting note. Always appreciated.

Hi Loot,
Jy is vir my net te stadig!! maar dis ok, nou word ek gewing om na al die ouer fotos terug te gaan. Hierdie foto is 'n damn mooi foto vir 'n eerste slag! (Ek is nie seker of mens meer punte kan gee vir ou fotos nie - sal maar by anna hoor)

Hello Loot
This is your first posting on Trek Nature. Paging through your gallery (since there are no new) I enjoyed very much looking at this huge and majestic animal. I can see how your photographic abilities has change since you started almost 3 years ago, up to now a days. Your images have always been a delight to look at and enjoy and this one is no exception. To see the texture of the skin of the elephant from so close by is really exciting. It looks so thick and coarse. I do like the clarity of the wrinkles displayed on the screen. You where so close, I am sure I would be able to count them. I love this portrait of the elephant, especially seeing his natural surroundings in the background. Succulent and green.
Best regards
Aaltjie and Hettie

Nice sloseup of the elephant. Goos details and sharpness.

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