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Nothing Beats Fresh Fish

Nothing Beats Fresh Fish
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: 2006-10-14
Categories: Birds, Fish, Bushveld
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 100, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/8, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2006
Theme(s): Herons, Birds of South Africa 1, 100 points or more (Chapter 2), Birds / Aves, Wildlife of Africa, Birds of Africa, Vanderschelden's favourites, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, Kruger National Park 1, The predator with the Prey [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-01-19 6:22
Viewed: 9512
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 110
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Grey heron - Ardea cinera

It was only midmorning and the thermostat was already lamenting while it crept up to the 32°C mark on another scorching Lowveld day. We were enjoying the exquisite view which the Kruger Park offered to the watchful tourist. Anna and I were sitting at a dam, ±1km from Lower Sabie camp. Many magnificent photos have been taken at this exact spot, by photographers from all over the world, who visited this wonderful oasis of live called the "Sunset dam".

The spectacular view included an impressive list of animal visitors we saw during the ±1½ hours we sat there.

Mammals: 11 Elephant, 1 White rhino, 3 Lioness' (that obviously disturbed the heck out of the peace and tranquillity while they came to drink), 69 Hippos, 7 Warthogs, 43 Impala, 17 Zebra, 13 Chacma baboons, 4 Blue wildebeest, and 3 Tree squirrels.
Reptiles: 27 Crocodiles, 5 African helmeted turtles, and 1 Water monitor.
Birds: 2 Fish eagles, 4 Grey herons, 1 Green-backed heron, 1 Great white egret, 7 Yellow-billed storks, 5 Greater flamingos, 1 Hammerhead, 3 White-breasted cormorants, 11 Egyptian geese, 5 White-faced ducks, 3 Dabchicks, 4 African jacanas, 2 Black crakes, 9 Blacksmith plovers, 4 Three-banded plovers, 1 Wattled plover, 1 Curlew sandpiper, 2 Little stints, 1 Black-winged stint, 1 Marsh sandpiper, 2 Ruffs, 3 Go-away birds, 1 Pied kingfisher, 9 White-fronted bee-eaters, 5 Red-billed buffalo weavers, and varying quantities of Masked weavers, Swallows, Starlings, Cape turtle doves, Red-eyed doves, Laughing doves, Morning doves, and Emerald-spotted doves. Give or take a couple I might have missed because of the sweat in my eyes (chuckle).

You have to agree it is quite a remarkable list of species to view at one spot during such a short time period.

The northern side of the dam runs right along the main road to Skukuza and the eastern side is at a right angle to the road. There were 11 giant crocodiles lying on this eastern bank (almost like parked cars one next to the other) and one crocodile was playing in the water right in front of us. Every once in a while this crocodile would disturb the Mozambique tilapia (fish) in the water and we could see them jump clear of the water. This eventually drew the attention of a Grey heron that was standing on the shore ±40 metres away from us. Slowly he made his way towards the crocodiles and I wondered if he was going to walk past them or fly over them to approach the zone where the fish were active.

I did not have to wait too long as the heron passed right next to the crocodiles. If he gave one miss step he would have trampled right on top of a crocodile. The amazing part is that the crocodiles did not twitch an eye-lid. The heron was on a mission, walked straight into the water, darted his fish, walked to the side, washed and orientated the fish, and swallowed it down without any further ceremony.

Nothing beats fresh fish.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

SelenE, pablominto, saeedabbasi, TAZ, ellis49, scottevers7, Juyona, Adanac, clnaef, JoseMiguel, jcoowanitwong, nainnain, Alex99, jaycee, lgfoto, Tamrock, coasties, dew77, RAP, vanderschelden, Dyker, snowfalken, Pentaxfriend, jeanpaul, SkyF, horia, Shoot_Score, peter_stoeckl, paulbright, marhowie, oscarromulus, Aaltjie, sAner, zeca, gerhardt, manyee, metcher, cecilia, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To winterpalace: Dams and waterholesloot 2 12-18 05:52
actionPhotoswinterpalace 1 12-15 07:58
To Shoot_Score: On bite at a time!loot 1 01-28 03:21
To scottevers7: Thanksloot 2 01-20 16:17
To peter_stoeckl: Un-fading & piercing wildlifeloot 1 01-20 14:07
To horia: Top 5 - must go to placesloot 1 01-20 06:20
To Dyker: The "I&J" promise you say?loot 1 01-19 16:37
To whjb: Nopeloot 1 01-19 15:20
To ellis49: Comendable dedicationloot 1 01-19 15:10
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-01-19 6:29]

Hi Loot,
Great timing showing this lucky fellow with his fresh lunch. Very good focus, sharpness and composition. Well done. TFS

Hi loot,
this a great picture with nice colours and a nice clean bg.
the exposure and sharpness are spot on.
You captured a nice acton. When I read your note I wish I was able to visit SA and the Kruger Park once in my life.
it's a beautiful work, my friend.

Soon I will an expert to write with the left hands forefinger.

Hello Loot,
The fine light management contributes strongly to the quality of this fine image!
The definition is top shelf, and textures in the plumage is great...
Action is well captured, and presented for the audience in a fine dynamic composition!
Pablo -

Hi dear Loot ,
excellent image.
great focus and details.
it has very nice sharpness and beautiful colors.great light and composition too.
thanks for sharing this nice image.
best wishes

Hi Loot,
An excellent shot on this Grey Heron! At 10:30 the light is getting awfully bright, but your exposure tamed it well. The colors and detail in the plumage are superb. The timing is perfect to catch this great pose and stop the action. It is amazing to read all the different animals you saw in one place in such a short time. But all life needs water, so you are where the action is. Extremely well done!

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-01-19 7:13]

Hola Loot,
Que momento mas bueno, genial disparo y bella compo, excelente y preciosa luz... saludos

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2007-01-19 7:16]
  • [2]

Hello Loot,
Good timing with your big lens my friend ! I would like to be able to make as such superb shot... Great trip in this Kruger Park with an impressive list !
The "+++" : subject & prey, droplets, point of view, great sharpness, DOF, colors, light & exposure, instersting note...
The "-" : I can't find ;-)
Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-01-19 7:20]

Hi Loot,
First great note, what a list. Next what a superb capture of this heron. Fantastic details, color amd composition. To top it off just great timing on this action shot.

Bon réflexe. Belle composition.
Bonne journée.

Hi Loot,
I like specially the light in this picture, this was a really good job on the illumination. The smooth of the waves and the water is remarkable.
Very good also the action capted here, during the feeding time of the bird.
A very good composition also, as usual.
Congratulations, thanks for share and warm regards,

Hi Loot,
Perfect timing and right on the spot focus. I have only praise for this outstanding picture.

Félications pour cette merveilleuse photo, bonne capture, jolies couleurs et parfaite netteté.
tres bon travail.
je tiens à vous féliciter encore pour la défense que vous avez pris pour nous auprés de ce monsieur MARTY qui a l'air de vouloir se calmer.
bravo pour votre photo
merci pour tous

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-01-19 10:24]

Hi Loot.
What a razor sharpness and excellent details of your picture. We can see all details of the bird, fish and, even, water drops. Perfect POV, lighting and diagonal composition. Colours are natural (not over saturated) and shot is exposed perfectly. BRAVO. Superb done and TFS.

hi loot,
nice capture,
you have capture a good action shot,nice timing,
well composed with fine pov,
the waves on the water adds to the effect of the shot,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-01-19 11:39]

Hi Loot,

There is nothing left to say about this wonderful heron. Perfect picture - great timing - beautiful scenery.


  • Great 
  • lgfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 194 W: 13 N: 279] (1536)
  • [2007-01-19 11:55]

Very sharp and well composed pic Loot. Great timing in natural and interesting pose. TFS

bonjour loot
alors la chapeau!!
la capture est magnifique que ce soit pour vous comme pour le heron,il est parfait dans les details.
bonne lumiere et couleur.

  • Great 
  • whjb Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 51 W: 26 N: 172] (683)
  • [2007-01-19 13:19]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,

Wow, did you use a polarizing filter? I will look for this spot in July. Good action, good light and overall a beautiful photograph.

Wel gedaan, my vriend.

hi loot!
very good!
sharp and fine exposed
like the composition and
the nice pov and dof

Hi Loot

Love the title, and agree. Looks like the light was harsh for this shot, but you have done a super job on managing it! Well done on a great catch for you and the Heron. Good quality shot! Thank you MF. :-)

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-01-19 14:35]

Hello Loot,
Wonderful capture.POV,lighting,clear details,moment you caught,3D effect and composition are excellent.Have a great weekend!

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2007-01-19 14:37]

Fantastic shot Loot , very good timing compositie details colours i like it , tfs Greetings Teunie .

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2007-01-19 14:48]
  • [2]

Excelente captura en acción Loot con buen timing y bella composición.
Me gusta la agudeza obtenida, a partir de un apropiado foco, iluminación y profundidad que brindan detalles del ave y su presa con total definición.
La silueta del animal es realzada por el despegue generado por el fondo del agua, con las estéticas ondas y las gotas congeladas en su caída desde el pico.
Gracias y saludos... Ricardo

Excellent capture in action Loot with good timing and beautiful composition.
I like obtained sharpness, starting from an appropriate focus, illumination and depth that offer details of the bird and your prey with total clearness.
The silhouette of the animal is enhanced by the take off generated by the bottom of water, with the aesthetic waves and the drops frozen in its fall from the beak.
Thank you and regards... Ricardo

Hi Loot,
Still have to read your note. Don't worry, I'll do it!:-)I'm I'm sure it useful, interesting and so forth.
Photo is a stunner; a beauty is a joy forever to put it in my own words;-)
Congrats...and THANKS for sharing...

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-01-19 16:09]
  • [+]

Hello Loot
Ouch...that fish is fresher than what "I&J" fisheries promise to put on your table. Out of the water and down the birds throat. I am sure the heron will agree with your title.
It is a great composition with the rings of the water and dripping droplets adding to the overall interest of the photo. The focus is very sharp and the light is surprisingly well controlled for that time of day. Obviously if it was already 32 degrees Celcius than it means you had a very bright and unforgiving sun to deal with. YOu did very well under this condition.

Hi Loot,

This is another cracker of a shot from you! You composed the image very good and the details are excellent. The lower part of the picture has loads of sharp details while the upper part is more "relaxed" creating a very good balance. The colors are brilliant and warm and the midmorning sunlight just compliments them very well. Exposure is perfect with no overexposed highlights on the bird's bright plumage, although in full sun.
The note is very interesting and I must say that I would like to visit a place with such a rich and diverse wildlife. Unfortunately, in my area one has to wander many hours in order to see any wild creatures except for some small birds. Thank you for sharing the beauties of remote paradises with me. Keep well my friend!

Warmest Regards,

Hi Loot,

Excellent shot
Perfect timing
lovely lightning
superb sharpness, details, compo, POV and DOF

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-01-19 18:59]

Hi Loot,
fabulous shot, love evry details of it. The excellent details are very sharp and some interesting action going on here. I like this composition, there is no distracting details, so the eyes can really focus on the importent detail. Excellent colors and the plumage is very nicely exposed.
A delightful capture.

  • Great 
  • Isu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 313 W: 0 N: 21] (1663)
  • [2007-01-20 4:14]

Hola Loot, tienes una galeria impresionante... a cual imagen mas bonita... como ésta ultima, que nitidez... y que colores... Saludos Sira

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-01-20 4:22]
  • [+]

Hi Loot

WOW!!! What a capture...and what a place!!!
After reading your note, and seeing that huge list of animals you saw that day, this "little" place called Kruger Park sure went into the "top 5 - must go to" places :)
I think if you browse through a zoology atlas you won't see so many species in an hour anda half :)) Amazing!

Now, about the picture, it's magnificent!
The timing here is simply outstanding and the short shutter speed allowed you to freeze the action impeccably.
The colors are also wonderful and the details razor-sahrp...as usual, when it comes to your photos :)
A splendid composition, as well.

Bravo, my friend, and TFS

Hi Loot
wonderful capture, details are perfect and the moment is expressive.


Hi Loot,
another wonderful wildlife shot with superbly set focus, and magnificently managed colours. The sculpting of light on the feathers is as wonderful as the mirroring on the water, and the motion is captured perfectly frozen in the very right moment. Nothing beats fresh contributions from you.
Have a very good weekend! With thanks, and best regards,

Bonjour Lott
C'est une belle prise de vue que tu nous présente avec ce beau héron. Belle présentation, les couleurs et les détails sont jolis.Je crois qu'il est meilleur pêcheur que moi.
Merci et au revoir....JP
Les sourires demain

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-01-20 23:50]

Hello Loot

Wow,perfect focus.The shot is so clear and crisp.The exposure is excellent and the colours are well focused.The timing is wonderful,you captured something special as did the heron (his lunch).Great camera work.TFS


Hello Loot,
This is a lucky and great capture! Details, POV, composition and exposure are just perfect! What else to say but congratulations! Thanks,

very very beautiful shot!
the scene, clarity, ripple in the water ...ingredients of a perfect shot! the note too is very informative. I am going to kruger again next month, after reading your note, I am going to spend a lot of time at sun set dam.

Lovely action shot Loot, sounds like a place I'd like to spend the day at :)
Very good color and well managed exposure. Well composed with sharp detail, just the right DOF.
Great work mf.

All your work is "IMPRESSIVE".
Your notes are the very best of the best, ALWAYS.
May you live a LONG, LONG life sharing your masterpieces
with us.
Best regards,

Hi Loot
a great capture of this wildlife scene...perfect light and composition ,the colours are perfect and the grey heron is a magnificent bird
great timing!

Mijn vriend Loot

Een andere prachtige foto! Ik benijd u!

Enkel bekijk de lijst van dieren u en uw vrouw heeft bij deze vlek gezien. Zoals per uw eigen woorden moet dit een spectaculaire mening geweest zijn. Nogmaals a uit deze wereldnota. Dank voor insite van deze mooie plaats door manieren van uw gegeven informatie houdt omhoog goede work.


The heron stands in water where the swamp
Has deepened to the blackness of a pool,
Or balances with one leg on a hump
Of marsh grass heaped above a musk-rat hole.

He walks the shallow with an antic grace.
The great feet break the ridges of the sand,
The long eye notes the minnow's hiding place.
His beak is quicker than a human hand.

He jerks a fish across his bony lip,
Then points his heavy bill above the wood.
The wide wings flap but once to lift him up.
A single ripple starts from where he stood.

Hello Loot,

What an excellent capture, perfect colors Bg POv DOf perefct details very crisp, nicly composed, excllent ue of light well exposure and DOf is perfect congragts. nice Job

TFS Kyle

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2007-01-22 16:38]

Impressive shot Loot. Great catch for both you and the heron. The picture does look a little oversharpened to me, but the exposure and composition are really excellent. Well done & TFS!


  • Great 
  • zeca Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 373 W: 14 N: 539] (2887)
  • [2007-01-23 1:02]

It´s amazing how many wonderful pictures we see in your gallery, Loot!
This one is another great shot, with perfect timing to capture the bird having his late breakfast, or early lunch! The lights are beautiful and the sharpness is great!
Once more... well done work!

Living in the Free State it is a luxury one can not find. ... fresh fish that is. :) I just love fresh fish but it has to be just that.

You caught some fishing action here Loot. Lovely catch. The details might be oversharpened just a tad but it's a minor nit. The compo, exposure and action is just fine. Very well done.

PS. My brother just moved to R/Bay and I believe we might meet in the near future I would love to get to that Bird Sanctuary.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-01-24 1:56]

That is a fantastic catch, Loot, both for you and for the heron.
Great timing on your part. : )
I really like the clean and simple composition. It is almost Zen-like.
The details are sharp and well exposed, and you have even managed to catch the neck of the heron and the body of the struggling fish in pleasing and complementary arcs. The lifted leg adds to the dynamic and well-balanced image.
Well done, my friend, and TFS. : )

Your notes are fascinating !

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2007-01-25 9:31]

Bonjour Loot, toujours de belles prises!! pour commencer la nouvelle année. Toutes mes félicitations, les teintes avec le filtre UV sont splendides. Didier.

Hi, Loot.
You have captured here excellent action and moment. And with very nice light. Also good composition and sharpness. Superb capture.

Excellent capture of colour and movement.
well done!!!


Wow Loot, what is stunning to me is not that the heron ignored the croq, and vice versa, but that it speared that hapless fish. Did you ID the fish? [catfish by chance?]
I see herons catching fish hear, but have never seen one spear its prey.

I like the compo a lot, The circles upon circles. From the smallest droplet ones to the large oval that helps provide an excellent background. Good sharpness & colours to boot, Loot!

As to your list in the Note; another WOW! Where are the photos? ;) I bet you have enough for a few months! Have you posted a helmeted turtle already?

Again thanx for sharing! Jay.

PS Trying for another #100 OUTSTANDING!

  • Great 
  • sily Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 239 W: 6 N: 395] (1934)
  • [2007-01-28 20:36]

Hi Loot!
I think this is very good POV and composition, I like the way it's all centered to water circles and bird is placed on the side, great shot, sharp and focused with neutral BG, good chosen moment and excellent details.Very successfully captured, great job!

Nice action shot.
I'm always fascinated when they harpoon instead of just catching.

Hi Loot, a great shot, one of the best. The light is already a bit flat as midday was approaching (nothing you can do there) it always seems that the best opportunities does not present itself in the best light. The photo looks a bit over sharpened on the legs. I like the circles in the water and the little water droplets falling from the fish.

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2007-07-22 13:04]

Another wonderful example of getting good detail and managing exposure. Sounds like a remarkable spot for the nature photographer.

Hallo Loot
This is a super shot of a beautiful bird, busy with what it is to do the best, catching its meal for the day. This is indeed true to nature, perfectly captured. Excellent photography. The expression on this herons face is just priceless. It looks very satisfied with its catch. A very nice composed shot with warm colours, great sharpness and details. The details of both the "prey" and the "predator" is clear and well seen. Framing and presentation are great. A delightful image which I enjoyed looking at. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Loot

A wonderful action photo at the Sunset Dam. What is the difference between a dam and a waterhole?



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