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Grumpy Old Man

Grumpy Old Man
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: 2006-09-10
Categories: Fish
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 200, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): The pictures more views, Fishes from around the world, Underwater World #2, Animal Portraits II, Funny Faces, 60-69 points (Chapter 3), Different Fish, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1, A study in Ichthyology (fish) 1, Dedications at Trek Nature, Underwater Wonder World 1, Intimate Portraits, !!! STOLEN PHOTOS !!! I, My Dedications ;o) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-09-29 17:48
Viewed: 26349
Favorites: 3 [view]
Points: 68
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Black musselcracker - Cymatoceps nasutus

Dedicated to all the grumpy people on TrekNature.

Photographed at Durban's uShaka Marine World aquarium and it is the first photo of this species on TrekNature. Although the public area inside the aquarium was rather dark, this photo was taken without a flash as there was a lot of sunlight that came through the open top of the tank. The camera was hand held and the curious fish came right to the window to observe my activities therefore the short focal length of 58mm.

Taxonomic Classification

: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes).
ORDER: Perciformes (perch-likes).
FAMILY: Sparidae (porgies).

This species is one of the largest members of the Sparidae and are also known as poenskop (bald) seabream, black steenbras, blue bishop, or saqomolo. The scientific name Cymatoceps, "swollen head", is a reference to the bulbous head of older specimens; and nasutus, means "prominent nose" while the common name musselcracker is in reference to its powerful jaws.

Large adults develop thick lips and a large fleshy "nose". The black musselcracker is a stocky fish with a heavy head and powerful jaws lined with rows of crushing teeth. It has a deep, robust body, but the overall shape varies with size and age, with older fish developing extended, fleshy snouts. The body colours also vary with size, although most fish are dark grey to blue-black in colour.

Juveniles are greenish brown to black with irregular white blotches and 2 or more, dark, broad crossbars may occur on the flanks.

There are 4 prominent canines in the upper jaw and 6 in the lower jaw, with 2 rows of rounded molars in each jaw. They are very slow growing; the maximum recorded length is 1.5m, a weight of 38kg and live up to about 45 years.

Tropical and temperate Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Along the east coast of southern Africa, from Maputo in Mozambique, along the KwaZulu-Natal coast down to Cape Town.

Behaviour & Habitat
A solitary species found on both shallow and deep rocky inshore reefs down to 100 m. Small juveniles use rock-pools and inter-tidal gullies as nursery areas, while larger individuals prefer deeper waters. Occasionally bigger fish come over shallow reefs to feed inshore. They rarely enter estuaries.

They feed on crabs, crayfish, sea urchins and other large, hard shelled animals. Prey is first grabbed and held firmly by the conical teeth, before been crushed by the powerful grinding action of the stout jaws and molars.

Females mature at about 55cm (±10 years old) and they change sex at about 75cm (±18 years old). Abundance increases during winter, and though the reproductive cycle is poorly understood, these seasonal increases are thought to coincide with its breeding season.

Endemic, not endangered.

Source: "Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa" by Rudy van der Elst, Struik publishers.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

RAP, peter_stoeckl, blakitan, Janice, marhowie, lovenature, wallhalla15, horia, scottevers7, jmp, dew77, marjan, ScottHale, pilonm, thor68, SunToucher, NellyD, anavazao, Luc, annagrace, TAZ, Aaltjie, oscarromulus, Dyker, Miss_Piggy, Cyber-Rayder, flashpoint, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To SunToucher: Question...Raddish72 10 03-18 06:07
To Aaltjie: Welkome terugkeerloot 2 11-20 07:47
To thor68: Fish with an attitudeloot 2 10-09 18:06
To jmp: Shock in a kneeloot 2 10-02 11:02
To blakitan: No compsiteloot 1 10-01 19:22
To peter_stoeckl: Mirror imageloot 1 10-01 19:18
To RAP: This is the image...loot 1 10-01 19:08
To ScottHale: Groucho Marxloot 1 10-01 19:05
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Critiques [Translate]

Nice shot, lots of attitude in the face!


  • fartash Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1013 W: 54 N: 1431] (5161)
  • [2006-09-29 18:06]

Hey Loot
What a great shot,nice colors
good composition,excellent.


Hi Loot,
Interesting fish. Sharp. Is this a composite picture?

Ben Lakitan

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-09-29 19:08]

Hey, it can't be me, it really looks like a man! What a mean looking fellow Loot!
Well displayed, the angle is good, and no window marks showing at all. You've done well here, tfs

He must be someone's boss! Surely he is!

Loot...I had to LOL at this shot, it really made me giggle.
What a great expression you captured with this monster of a fish.
Grumpy looking for sure. I love the angle you caught this shot with and bit of a side view to really show how massive this guy is. Great note.
Nicely done Loot. and TFS Janice

Hi Loot,

what a shock! At first glance I thought you were presenting a portrait of me as I know myself from looking into the mirror.
But no, it's our friend the musselcracker.

- Excellent depth of sea.
- Grumpyness outstanding.
- Perfect use of the fish eye.

Now let's come up: Well captured with a good sense for the impact. Fascinating story, and a cheerful idea.
Great posting my friend.

Thank you, and all the best,


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-09-30 2:34]

Hahaha... Loot! That is a great shot and a great dedication.
We could use a little humour on TN these days. : )
I love the POV of this shot. The perspective you chose magnified his head and put that downward mouth right in our face. Just perfect for your title.
As usual, excellent focus and exposure.
A fantastic aquarium shot.
TFS. : )

Hello Loot,
this is a very interesting fish! Great POV/DOF, framing and sharpness. Very nice colours and good lighting. As usual an excellent note to. This is a very good composition. Thank you. Have a great weekend my friend.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-09-30 4:12]

Hi Loot

Anothre splendid shot from you!
This time not such a "gentle" animal...more like "Jaws" :))
I really like the dedication :))
Great POV, nice sharpness and colors. Also i yhink the pose is really cool...showing a bit of its teeth :)
Great work, my friend!

Bravo and TFS

Hi Loot,
I love that face! A permanent looking snarl!!! Great job handling a very difficult exposure. The colors and detail look superb. The DOF is perfect. Great job under some difficult conditions.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-09-30 8:04]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
Great portrait of the Grumpy personality. I don't know any TN member that can be recognized by this fish :-)
Great psychological image.
Best regards,
José M.
PS. I hope that Chocolate Treat gave good results. I have suffered and strong shock in a knee and I remember you many times.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-09-30 8:29]

Hello Loot,
Excellent capture and title:).Expression on face is amazing.POV,cross framing,details and lighting are wonderful.
Very well caught and composed.

hi Loot, your notice about whom you dedicate this photo is very nice. Excelet explanation ( too big for me). This is big fish and good shot.

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-09-30 13:59]
  • [+]

Esta es la imagen que me comentaste que publicarías sin flash en medio de la penumbra del aquarium.
Es impresionante estimado amigo, por muchos aspectos...
1) la excelente nitidez y claridad con ISO200 y sólo 1/125 de velocidad.
2) la expresión captada y muy bien dedicada a varios miembros de esta tribu.
3) El excelente DOF considerando el grueso vidrio de por medio y la distorsión producida.
Realmente un gran logro y otra muestra del buen uso de una cámara de fotos.
Gracias y saludos... Ricardo

This is the image that you commented me that you would publish without flash amid the dimness of the aquarium.
It is impressive esteemed friend, for many aspects...
1) the excellent sharpness and clarity with ISO200 and only 1/125 of speed.
2) the captured expression and very well dedicated to several members of this tribe.
3) Excellent DOF considering the thick glass of for half and the produced distortion.
Really a great achievement and another sample of the good use of photo camera.
Thanks and regards... Ricardo

... tomorrow

This reminds me of Groucho Marx. Add a cigar and it's him! Very good capture. Superb composition and notes. Great work my friend,

Hello Loot,

I'm very impressed by this strange looking fish: it looks like the fish we see often in cartoons! Wow! Without a flash and handheld!!! You achieve a great result! I like very much your composition and the way he is looking at you! Colors looks very natural too! Great post and very interesting note too! TFS,


isn´t he cute?! *g* a fish with an attitude?
wonderful shot, loot! :-)
what a face, perfectly captured and amazingly sharp and clear through the glass.
nice dedication, could be me after not receiving enough points.*lol*
terrific job & take care, thorsten.
ps: how´s your knee?

Hi Loot,
Great dedication. Some people could really use some uppers to loose their grumpyness. It has been a little strange in the last couple of weeks. But not as bad as TrekLens. Thats why I still love this place.

This is an other great shot. I really like the use of the natural lighting in this one, since water has this great way of breaking up light. Great details and beautiful colors. All considering you shot this through very thick glass.

Hi Loot,
The title..my worst fear ;)
Dramatic composition with very good impact. Sharp, detailed, and I like your POV mf. Excellent note.
Good luck in Kruger & Happy Shooting!

Hi Loot,

Wow, what a face, he does look a bit grumpy
good title....) :-)
I never saw a fish like this before.
Very nice shot, great composition and colours.
Thanks for sharing.

Greetings, Nel

I like this old ma!
The lighting is very good and the details are interesting! My compliments for this great capture!
Take care Ana:)

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-10-17 14:06]

Hoi Loot , A great shot ,what a head , well taken shot good details colours sharp good in pov good job , and beterschap met je knie uitkijken en goed rusten , Groeten Teunie

Hi Loot,

i'm not grumpy (i think, i have to check the dictionary :) , k now i'm sure) but this really look so grumpy and old....
lovely expression, TFS,

What a strange looking fish, definitely looks like he has a bad attitude, LOL!

I'm still envious of your aquarium shots, they are always superb.

TFS, my S. African friend,


  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-11-03 7:26]

Hello Loot,
Too busy with my home work, I was a bit inactive on TN, so I am happy to discover your new superb photo. How are you ?
I like your grumpy guy ;-) Nice expression. Technicaly the shot is super and the note is useful...
Bravo my friend and thanks for sharing.

Hallo mijn vriend,
Ik ben weg bijna twee maanden geweest, en ik miste werkelijk kijkend en bewonderend alle mooie foto's op Trek Aard. Terwijl het bezoeken van mijn dochter, hadden wij de kans om veel en partijen plaatsen, met mooi landschap te onderzoeken. Ik waardeerde werkelijk elke dag, meer en meer, omdat één realiseert u niet worden jonger. De kinderen bedierven rot me werkelijk. Omdat zij weten hoeveel de liefdeaard van I zij me aan zoveel mogelijk plaatsen hebben genomen. Wij bezochten, aquariums, vogelparken, slangparken, een reserve of twee, sommige mooie tuinen enz. In al deze bezoeken aan de diverse trefpunten benijdde ik werkelijk mensen als u die de kapaciteit hebben om al deze prachtige foto's te nemen.

Any way……I am sure you know by now that I tried to learn a lesson, or see deeper in an image or photo, even an artwork.. (Yes I can speak English – but prefer my mother tongue)

Deze mussclecrackervis "Grumpy Oude Mens" herinnerde me werkelijk aan een oude mens die ik heb gebruikt om te kennen terwijl ik nog in BERGEN AAN ZEE in Holland leefde. Hij zocht voor altijd fout in alles mensen rond hem te doen gebruik. Hij had geen goed woord over om het even wie te zeggen. Niet zijn vrouw, zijn kinderen, zijn mede colleaques. Hij was zo zelf gecentreerd, zag niet heartache hij de mensen veroorzaakte die van hem hielden. Hij kreeg de bijnaam Oude Grumps. Tot één dag verloor Oude Grumps alles. Komend één Maandag ochtend werken, hoorde hij dat het bedrijf hij heeft gewerkt voor in liquidatie ging. Hij probeerde nog om het nieuws uit te werken van het hebben van geen baan meer, toen hij een telefoongesprek ontving om te zeggen dat zijn familie in een horrific ongeval werd geïmpliceerd. De les die ik van Oud verhaal Grumps heb geleerd moet nooit zo grumpy zijn dat u ziet wat niet nodig hebben de mensen rond u zijn. Omdat Oude Grumps niet omhoog met om het even welk van de mensen kon maken is hij altijd zo grumpy met geweest. Jammer genoeg ken ik dergelijke heel wat mensen in het leven die grumpy zijn. Aangezien ik mijn vrouw verloren heb, onderwijs ik mijn kinderen de volgende les: Wanneer u van somebody houdt, houd van hen als het is de laatste tijd u gonna ziet ' em -- Janis Joplin. Het uitstekende werk als gebruikelijk mijn vriend. Ik hoop heel wat grumpy mensenzaag zelf in deze foto en had een verandering van hart. Uw werk is opmerkelijk. Al eer aan een superieure fotograaf.

  • Great 
  • mrcrow Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 422 W: 98 N: 194] (3008)
  • [2006-11-13 11:12]

loot..its you..how you doing old chap
glad you are back..
in your face shot this and full of humour and life..keep it up
god bless

I love seeing marine photos and the unusual fish drew me towards this one.
Although the quality isn't the best, that's probably due to the glass, and the rarity of such a specimen on TN makes it a worthy post.

Grumpy it is. Lovely capture Loot. One can not see the window and the details are very clear even when taken from one.

Well done.

Love the title: Grumpy old man. To me, I, myself it
sounds like: "Self-portrait" of 'oscarromulus'.
Love the title, the notes & the register.
I really dont know how you do it; but, they are all
GREAT images.
Best regards, Mario.

exelente, i like it

Hi Loot,
First of all I like to thank you for looking my photos and your very nice comments.

What a moment you have captured here?
And a very appropriate name you have chosen for this.


  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-02-20 3:35]

Hello Loot
This is good camera work to take a photo through glass in an aquarium with only natural light and still end up with such a quality photo. It looks like this fish's eye wants to pop out of its socket. Maybe he though you were going to shoot him with your Canon. The colour and focus on the photo looks very good and the POV of this guy with the big nose is super.

would make ME very grumpy!

I THEMED this under !!! STOLEN !!!

Two Fins up on this one!
I guess sometimes I do feel like a grumpy basturd, but then if I look as good as the one pictured above, I wouldn't really mind. Watch out lady fishies here I come. Great shot Loot, Like I said I would love to hang this one up in my house.
Paul :)

Hallo Loot
If the title was different and indicated that this could be a woman, I would have thought this was an mirror-image of myself. The expression captured on this rather large thick nosed creature's face is priceless and one actually do not need more words to describe this image as it speaks for itself. I do however want to mention that the colours are super sharp and the details captured groovy. Great photography seen through a glass window.
Thanks for sharing. Love

I think this is a very good, clear capture of a fish in a tank. It'' is very difficult to do because of the glass and color of water so kudos on getting it so clear and sharp.

Calibration Check