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Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam
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: 2006-10-10
Categories: Mammals, Bushveld
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 100, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2006
Theme(s): Great cats - Grandes felinos, Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Africa, !Loodzwaar, 60-69 points (Chapter 3), BEST OF: Cheetahs 1, Mammals of Southern Africa II, !Trios, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, Kruger National Park 1, Wild Cats [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-01 23:56
Viewed: 8303
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 68
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Cheetah - Acinonyx jubatus

This is a follow-up on a previous posting where I showed a head shot of one of these "spotted aristoc(r)ats". For the benefit of those of you who have not read the original notes I hereby repeat the crux of the story describing the morning’s proceedings that is applicable to this posting.

As I mentioned, it was early on a darkish, cloudy, and rainy morning when we departed from Berg-en-Dal camp. Initially I thought it was miserable weather for photography, but actually it turned out to be a very lucky day and the photos did not come out too shabby after all. While we were traveling towards Pretoriuskop camp, on the H2-2 Voortrekker Road near Komapiti pan, we encountered a coalition of 3 young male cheetahs. From their rounded bellies it was quite clear that they must have had a pretty decent kill earlier during that morning. Lying in the middle of the road they had the effect of a learner traffic cop who inaptly attempted to regulate all the vehicles that approached that specific spot. Within minutes it was total and utter chaos.

I lack the words and cannot describe the overall disorder and confusion when 15-20 drivers all jostle their cars for prime position on such a narrow stretch of road. Each one wanted the best vantage point not only to view the rare animals, but also for photographic purposes. Judging by all the heads that suddenly popped out of the side windows of the vehicles, while yielding any sort of camera you can think of, I thought that the world is full of 'mad', passionate, and over zealous photographers. Obviously no cars passed that spot, because one doesn’t often see this sight, not even in the Kruger Park. Actually, and come to think about it, there was no space to do so not even if you wanted to.

Meanwhile they (the coalition) seemed to be completely oblivious of the dire impact their casual lay-about had on all the prying spectators. Cameras clicked frantically while the brotherhood continued to frolic like little kittens in the road or paraded about with aristocratic poise. They sure were masters in the creation of an overcrowded traffic jam.

Ok, I won't enter into the potato chips part of this story. Suffice to say that it is not only the elements or the animals one has to deal with while trying to capture a photo. However, if you want to know more about that part of the story you are welcome to go and read the original notes as mentioned above.

It sure remains a privilege and an honour to be able to see these beautiful and majestic animals while they are living in a wild state and their behaviour are not inherently modified due to bars, fences, or other man-animal interventions. Although the Kruger Park obviously has fences around its perimeter, these are not so evident since the park is a massive 2 million hectares square.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

RadhikaG, karthek, SunToucher, delic, Janice, horia, vanderschelden, stevkds, uleko, jaycee, thor68, Shoot_Score, scottevers7, oscarromulus, jeanpaul, SkyF, snowfalken, marhowie, Dyker, Alex99, dew77, ramthakur, betsie, Leace, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To snowfalken: WOW!!!loot 6 05-09 05:50
To horia: Is it Dalmatians?loot 2 05-06 12:50
To Aaltjie: Thanks my friendloot 1 05-06 12:30
To marhowie: Chill pill remedyloot 2 05-06 12:27
To vanderschelden: Thanksloot 1 05-06 12:09
To thor68: Lazy catsloot 1 05-06 12:03
To manyee: A lesson in life.loot 1 05-06 11:55
To oscarromulus: THANKS MY FRIENDloot 1 05-06 11:48
To SkyF: Union activitiesloot 1 05-06 11:40
To Dyker: Shameloot 1 05-06 11:06
To janhendrik: Ooopsloot 1 05-02 05:44
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot

Beautiful shot! You've captured a nice moment there. Nice POV and beautiful colours. I think it's sad though that animals have got so used to human beings that all the hustle and bustle in the world doesn't make a difference.



Hi Loot

Outstanding. I can understand the confusion and chaos which happens when you are on a safari. Sadly as the state may be, it does serve the purpose of educating human beings on the beauty of nature and its citizens.

I hope I will be able to see them and Africa sometime.

Great POV. Lovely colors


Wow!! cool shot.

My friend
I really won't mind to be in a traffic jam, if this is the view I'll be getting from my car. This is a beautiful, most relaxing photo. It seems that these animals have no care in the world. Just lying and enjoying the nature, not bothered by anything around them. Time is a problem today,so my critique will be a bit short, but I just had to say thanks once again for sharing.But do not think because the note is short the thoughts on this memorable shot is short as well. Thank you as well for the feedback on "Shorty" cleaning the fishtanks windows.
Take care and talk to you again soon.

Hi dear Loot ,
excellent work with great details.
i like this cadre.
it has vivid colours with excellent sharpness.
very nice image.
thanks for sharing

Hi Loot,
What a wonderful photo. The clarity of the photo is just amazing. The relaxed atmosphere of this scenery is perfectly captured. It is just so strange to read your note about all the cars and photographers when you look at such a wild scenery. I am sure that when you would have wrote that you were the only person there, we all would have believed it. Anyway, a excellent photo with a great DOF and a remarkable low POV. Were you driving a little roadster that you had such a low position? :)

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-02 3:13]

Hello Loot,
A terrific composition with judicious cropping. Looks as if each cat is guarding a different direction. Superb sharpness and color rendition, too. Truly masterful job here. Regards,

Great shot Loot! What a funny shot,, to see theses three cheetahs just kicking back in the road. Very nice lighting and perfect sharpness. :)

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-05-02 5:19]

Ah Loot! It's an excellent shot, captured in very trying circumstances, chips and all!
How great to see them in the middle of the road like this. They do look very full and satisfied.
I'd love to know what they are saying about you lot!!
Well done my friend

Hallo Loot,

Ek is baie jaloers op jou sighting. Ongelooflik. Ek hou baie van die foto, en nog meer van die nota. Ek dink net daar het 'n foutjie ingesluip. Jy se in jou nota dat die park 'n "massive 2 million square kilometres" is. Ek dink dit is eerder "20 000 square kilometres" of "2 million hectares". Die hele Suid-Afrika is ongeveer 1,219 miljoen square kilometres.



  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-05-02 6:00]
  • [+]

Hi Loot

Hmmm...these cats have a very similar pose with my dog...what an interesting coincidence :)))
However, looking at them as they seem so relaxed and without any worries and then making a small parallel with you previous photo of a cheetah - aristoc(r)ats - a single song comes to mid: "Everybody wants to be a cat" :))

You see, my friend, this is the effect you photos have...they make peaople smile and use their imaginations :)
Another lovely post with all these amazing and superb cheetahs resting here and maybe actually getting ready for the next sprint.
The details on all of them are terrific and the contrast here is very nicely managed, making those spots stand out so well.
Great work!

Bravo and TFS

Hi Loot

Now this is the sort of traffic jam I would like to be stuck in, especially with my camera by my side. You are fortunate indeed to live in an area where you can see these beautiful cats without bars or behind glass. :-)

Hallo Loot,
Mijn kritiek is in 't Nederlands.
Mooi chips verhaal. Heel grappig. Veel gelachen.
Dankie en groetnis (paste and copy from janhendrik:-)

Hi Loot.
Parades.. veget!.. :-)
Very pretty shot. Interesting motive. Very well done. tfs. Stev

Dankie Loot en jou comment is net so interesant, maar die foto is voorwaar van hoogstaande gehalte en jy as fotograaf sal weet dat bewolkte lig die beste is om in foto's te neem, dankie viir die mooi foto, ek beny jou, ek bly al 2.5 jaar in malelane en is byna elke sondag in die park maar die maifoedies het my nog altyd ontglip...dankie nogmaals

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-05-02 11:14]

Hello Loot,
Wow, look at that belly on the left! These fabulous animals have obviously just had a good meal and are now enjoying the heat!! I wonder how close you were? Many wild animals seem to get used to crazy humans and just ignore them!! Really great capture showing sharp details and very nice colours.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-05-02 12:38]

Hi Loot,

Wonderful! I love the different positions of the cheetahs and the expressions on their faces. A fantastic scene.


what a bunch of lazy cats they are!
terrific capture of the cheetahs entertaining
themselves, but looking kind of aristocratically bored and well fed.
"oh dear, did you see that camera, i just hope it´s not a nikon." *lol*
fantastic scene with wonderful details, perfect sharpness on the 3 big cats and an
amazing low pow - from underneath the car? *g*
well done & take care, thor.

Hello Loot,
What an amazing post.
Loved your story.: ) I can imagine the scene.
But these beautiful cheetahs' attitude is priceless.
I think they understand what life should be about!
Anyway it is a rare and fantastic scene you have captured with masterful technique.
I love the way the two in front barely raise their heads to give you bipeds a nonchalant look.
Thanks for sharing this very special image.

Hi Loot
What a "relaxed" photo! Well captured - amazing colours! - Well done

WOW Three cool cats! How did I miss this one of Loot's ware? Amazin' to see them lazin'! Tfs, Jay

Hi Loot,
A great photo! I would be one of those fools fighting for the best position to try and capture this amazing scene. I think the overcast light was good here. Great color saturation and sharp detail.
Nice shot!

Loot, "dear" friend,
If it were not for you we would continue living in ignorance of this great creature. (I mean I and my company.)
This is indeed a great capture inspite of us, humans, surrounding them.
Hope you continue doing this enormous service to MANKIND.
Best of the best to you,my, FRIEND.

Hi Lott
Excellente photo,les détails sont bons et l'éclairage parfait.Il sont positionnés pour observer toutes les directions on peut voir l'instinct de conservatin de ces bêtes.
Merci pour cette belle présentation
au revoir et a bientôt et bon week end......JP

Hello Loot,

What a great scene you have encountered! I can imagine the traffic disorder these cheetahs created on the road. It surely was a great opportunity for photographers, especially for animal lovers like you. I would also eat some chips at this great sight! :) In spite of the bad conditions you captured this scene very well! I wonder how close would they let a human come before running away? Or would they charge when someone comes to close?


I love the way you present this scene in a panoramic composition. This format is very appropriate for presenting the animals lying on the ground. The three cheetahs are positioned along the lower third of the picture while the diagonal created by the edge of the road emphasize the perspective. It is worth observing how each of the three guys looks in a different direction. The decreasing sharpness in the background also emphasizes perspective and forces the eyes of the viewer to stay in the foreground.


The colors look excellent in spite of the miserable weather. They are well saturated and pleasant to look at! The textures in the cheetah's fur stand out from the background making them clearly identifiable.


Very good distribution of the contrast throughout the picture! The contrast between black and white (in the subjects) is surely stronger than the contrast in the background. Nevertheless, the clouded sky had an advantage: it provided a uniform light which didn't cast harsh shadows to mess up the contrast.


The exposure was well achieved and preserved the details in both shadows and highlights. I wasn't able to spot any overexposed or underexposed area in your picture.


Good focus on the subjects! The DOF was also very well controlled! If one looks at the texture on the ground, he can easily identify the area which was in focus and how deep the DOF was. Very well done!

As usually, a stunning post with a very interesting story behind! Also great info about the cheetahs in the previous post you mentioned in your notes! Thank you for sharing!

With Friendly Regards,

Hi Loot,
I may be gone, but a visit to a good friend is hard to pass up..
Interesting shot as these three look like they've taken a chill pill recently...
I think the wide frame adds to that "relaxed feel" here. Just the right DOF, with excellent PP work mf.
Nice work :)

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-05-06 2:59]
  • [+]

Hello Loot
They say "jealousy makes you nasty" so I'll try to keep this critique short before I might turn nasty. Yes, for sure I am jealous. To see one of these guys in nature would be a bonus for which I have not had the privilege as yet, but to spot three together and to come and rub it in, in such a spectacular fashion, just might turn the jealousy into nastiness. You must have been thrilled to bits when you encountered this lot. To be able to take such a clear and perfect shot, even when the adrenaline must have been pumping, is sure indication of your photographic skills. Very well done on this fine effort.

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-05-06 19:37]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
looks like they taking over the road, not a care in the world or are they protesting? ;-)
Great capture, the details and the colors are excellent. I like the POV, seems like they are covering each a different POV also.
Very nice composition.

This park is a paradise on earth Loot. I wish that I can go there someday; it is such a priceless spot filled with so many and rare species... This is an excellent and very unusual capture. They are masters of the roads all right and every time, it is a pleasure to read the description of your adventures in this park :) What I also like is the description you do about those human’s behavior :)

This is a great picture with excellent composition, exposure, details and POV. I would have been more than impressed to have witnessed this unique scene. Thanks a lot for sharing this great capture!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-05-11 5:38]

Hi Loot.
These are my most favorable animal since childhood. I like them so much. You managed to create a charming picture, which presents them excellently. As you know, they spend a lot of time in this pose. I like impressive strong horizontal cropping, perfect colors and contrast, excellently selected DOF and nice low POV. Triangular composition created by road and bushes is looked wonderfully. Bravo. Superb work. In addition I wish you more free time and more frequent visiting of TN. Best wishes and TFS.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-05-12 4:19]

Hello Loot,
Funny capture:)I liked POV,pose of cheetahs,framing and composition a lot.

Delighted to see these three "spotted traffic cops" doing their duties 'un'-diligently on a busy road ! Chuckle!!
It is truly a great moment to see three Cheetahs together in a relaxed mood.
You add spice to your otherwise brilliant pictures with your well-written notes.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one as well as the previous one.
Thanks, my friend.

Dear Loot,
most beautiful animals, most impressing in their relaxed and self assertive pose, with well filled bellies and content faces. I suppose that if there were even more of them in one place, those noble looking feline Aristoc(r)ats would never behave like some of our human Aristo(c)rats. Funny story in your notes, you are a master of adding brilliant short stories. Thank you!
With best regards,

Hallo Loot
Looking at scenes and notes like these, I miss your presence around the site. You have a wonderful gallery filled with lovely photos and you are a great contributor to the site. I just love these three cheetah's lazy poses, each looking in another direction, not bothered by anything or anybody around them. These are such beautiful animals and your photography brought out the finer details to its best. The spots on the body and the lining in the face is unique, not forgetting to mention the long patterned tail with the fluff on the edge. Excellent work as always, presented in style and no pretence. Just the way I like it. Thanks for sharing. Love.

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