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The Sphinx

The Sphinx
Photo Information
Copyright: Callie de Wet (Callie) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-08-08
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Nikon D70, Sigma 80-400 OS
Exposure: f/8
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Wild cats portraits, Great Portraits [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-01-12 2:23
Viewed: 11118
Favorites: 5 [view]
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In August 2005, I was privileged (again) to visit Sabi Sands next to Kruger National Park. This is one of the best places in the world to see and experience leopards up close and personal in the wild. The cats are exposed to game drive vehicles from just after birth, and are so used to these vehicles, that they even use them to sneak up to the impala under cover of its noise and lurking behind the vehicle. I have been party to two such attempts, both unfortunately unsuccessful.
This female was reclining on an anthill in the late afternoon sun – this is not cropped, but taken at full zoom. Notice the fat tick on her neck just left of the wrinkle in her skin, bottom of the picture. Not even the Princess is spared this indignity – ticks and other pests rule in nature.
This is the same female I have posted long ago under the shade of a Jakkalsbessie tree – Cutie’s mom, for TN old-timers. She had another female cub on this visit, and we were once more privileged to photograph her and the cub the previous day under favourable circumstances.
This picture epitomises for me the disdain with which these cats treat us humans who intrudes into their world. As the Brits say, Stiff upper lip, Ma’am
Nikon D70
Sigma 80-400 OS
ISO 200; Jpeg fine
F8, hand held
One of these days – RAW – when I have enough storage capacity for the veldt.

Luc, Friday, red45, dew77, Janice, wallhalla15, soccer, TAZ, scottevers7, marhowie, livios, petrudamsa, Dave, hummingbird24, tinman, Athila, archanabhimasen has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2006-01-12 2:46]
  • [6]

Is this a good shot, IMHO? Of course, an exceptional one.
Does the note learn me something new? Yes, that my friend is well and still able to write his very interesting stories ;)
Does this photographer take an active part in the growth of the site? Yes, undoubtedly. He is the one who helped me and so many other members to improuve skills by his judicious analyses.
What do I really feel by looking at this photograph? I had the breath cut. This animal orders the respect. We see in his peeling the prevalent colors of Africa.
Does this photograph help me to progress? Yes, of course. Any personal progress supports the growth of the others. These images remain latent in us. Often we act by imitation, which is a homage to the person who inspired us.
Thank you Callie.

Mmmm.... reminds me Sphinx... perfect profile... Magic colours. Excelent job! Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2006-01-12 3:54]

Hi Callie, nice to meet you again!
Yes, she's calm like Sphinx and her profile looks like Sphinx too! Beautifull portrait of this amazing animal. Great work.

Best wishes for you in 2006, Callie!

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-01-12 3:55]

Hello Callie!
Wonderful portrait:Colors,POV,clear details,sharpness,framing and composition a lot.I am waiting your new posts taken with D200;)TFS...:-)

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-01-12 3:57]

The idea that you were THAT close to the leopard in the wild is awesome. You certainly made good use of that opportunity to capture that beautiful female in all her regal splendor. Congratulations, Callie, and TFS. : )

très joli portrait...
beau cadrage, belles couleurs...
très beau !
bravo !

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-01-12 4:35]

Hi Callie, yes, you were privileged to photograph her and she allowed you to, even though, as you said, you are intruding into her world. The hold of her head, and the look in her eye, so wonderfully captured my friend.
And it is good to see you again! AS Luc says: You were the one who helped so many TN members to improve skills by your judicious analyses.
Thank you, thank you.

Excellent portrait shot Callie. Great lighting, details and sharpness, nice bg and warm colours. Very well done, thanks for sharing.


Great composition and detail at full zoom. The sunlight was just right here to get that golden tint on the leopard's fur. Are rare shot indeed! Very Jealous! Well done. Sheriff

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-01-12 7:05]

Superbe Callie!

L'éclairage est parfait et fait bien ressortir les couleurs et les détails.

Félicitations et merci pour l'envoie!


  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-01-12 7:25]

What a pleasure to see a great photo made by Callie ! Congratulations and happy new year.

Hi Callie,
An absolutely superb portrait on this leopard! The light here was amazing. The colors are very beautiful and well saturated. Detail is very sharp, and your control over the DOF is perfect. She is perfect!

Excellent light and warm colors Callie. Perfect POV and sharp detail. The expression captured reveals this magnificent animals very soul. Excellent capture.
Thank you!

  • Great 
  • Nico Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 199 W: 1 N: 335] (1321)
  • [2006-01-12 9:08]

Ek hou hiervan. Mooi portret. En jou nou bekende kwaliteit. Het jy Moemf se leeu gesien?

This is picture perfect, Callie. The colors and the BG are absolutely fabulous. I should have gone with ... ;) Nothing to add to this except I am that "GREEN" again.

Ps. The genet has three kittens. I am too scared to approach her and the nest.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2006-01-12 11:21]

Callie, this is really very beautiful.

Great mug shot - like you'd say.

A very beautiful animal in a very nice photo.

Great colors, pov and composition. I like your note too.

Man, superb shot. That long telephoto came handy big time for this one! Real pro photo. no PP croping! beautifull clarity and colours.
Definately to favs.

Regards, Petru

  • Great 
  • Dave Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 503 W: 43 N: 657] (2178)
  • [2006-01-12 12:37]

Very beautiful and excellent shot Callie!
And, amazing! You can even point out the tick on the animal! Incredible!
Superb specimen presented and portrayed nicely!

Lovely capture Callie,
Very nice lighting, detail and colours. What a great priviledge to see these magnificent big cats in their natural habitat. The expression on her face is fantastic.
Very well composed, a great portrait.
Thanks for posting, Enjoy the rest of the week.

I love this!
The POV, framing, colours and pose of this beautiful cat make really amazing photo. There's something mysterious about this picture and it's hard to take eyes out of it.


  • Great 
  • Toni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 2 N: 316] (2034)
  • [2006-01-14 18:05]

Hi Callie
Great portrait taken in such a lovely soft, warm light. Stunning colours and excellent details. I see from your previous post that you have recently purchased a D200. Me too though it's not easy changing from Minolta.
Regards Toni

Hello Callie,

Purrfectly wonderful, and a pleasure to view...

Thank you for the privilege.

Hallo Callie,

This is a fantastic shot. I really like the light. Dit is weereens 'n foto op jou gebruiklike hoë standaard. Well done.


Excellent note and picture. Well done

  • Great 
  • Athila Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 335 W: 239 N: 493] (1982)
  • [2006-01-17 12:57]

Hi Callie!

Beautifull portrait. It looks like he posed for your camera under a controled lighting. Picture is real sharp and well exposed. Shallow DOF bring all attention on the animal. Cropping and compositon are excellent. I love the warm light that accentuate the color of its fur.
Splendid work and TFS.

  • Great 
  • ridfa Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 89 W: 0 N: 376] (4111)
  • [2006-01-18 6:13]

Beau portrait.

Hi, beautiful capture of this Amur Leopard. She is quite fabulous in that rosy afternoon light. Like the tight zoom; one of my favorites. Amazing sharpness in the whiskers. TFS :)

A great shot...definitely adding to my favourites. Great title.

Great shot Callie. Bly om jou op die site ook raak te loop. Ek het gedag ODP is besig, maar die...wel dit is seker wereldwyd...

Beautiful shot. The golden sunlight falling on the magnificient animal looks wonderful. Also good POV and sharply focussed.

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