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Baby Face

Baby Face
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-10-07
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Juveniles [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2011-08-19 23:21
Viewed: 9463
Points: 75
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Baby Face / Loxodonta africana

Today's posting of a baby elephant is of one of the animals which I think most people, including myself, find cute or adorable. It was taken in the Satara area during our 2010 annual vacation.

I had so much fun photographing this little one, but at the same time it had my adrenalin pumping quite a few times. While Loot was driving and taking care that the little elephant didn't perhaps damage the car I was hanging out of the window to capture each mock charge that it made as it stormed towards the car in bravado. Every time it lifted its trunk, spread open its ears and then trumpeted as it charged closer, but just to stop short again to take care that it didn't give away its bluff. Then it retreated some distance and once again started the process all over again. Although this one in my photograph was really still a small elephant, it had my heart racing each time it stormed towards the car, as I could sense the strength and might it showed in its body language.

Infancy is a fascinating time for all species. In the case of the elephant life cycle, it is early childhood that is most captivating. The new-born enters this world at an incredible mass of 77-113kg, with a height of about 91cm at the shoulder, and unbelievably may consume 11.4 liters of milk a day.

The young calves are tended not only by their mothers, but also by other females of the herd. There are many eyewitness accounts of the females in the herd gathering around to welcome the new-born. Within minutes of the birth, the mother and other females trumpet, rumble and scream, oozing temporal secretions down the side of their faces. During these initial minutes the mother also attempts to help the new-born rise to its feet. This is a matter of survival since the new-born must stand to drink its mother's milk. Without this necessary food, the calf is sure to perish.

This kinship and social contact allows the young elephants to successfully reach other stages in life cycles. Infancy is not only an important time for the young calves, but also for the young mothers-to-be. It is through the close interaction and kinship between the two that allows the young females to develop necessary skills required for motherhood. However, first time mothers can be very awkward with their babies and depending on their experience can even play a role in hindering the calf from feeding.

The infancy life-cycle of an elephant is not a brief period. Young elephants are started on the process of weaning in their first year of life and may continue to be weaned until their tenth year or until another sibling is born. This prolonged dependency period is vital to the elephant. As a minimum, the African elephant calf is entirely dependent (emotionally and physically) on his/her mother for three to five years.

The elephant is an amazingly social creature. This particular period in development can be viewed as extended social contact. Also, it is clear evidence of the well documented fact that it plays an important educational period for elephants while their brains develop and they learn important survival and cultural knowledge.

Due to a calf's fairly underdeveloped brain, the elephant is very much like a blank slate which must be shaped over the upcoming years. The elephant is quite similar to the human and many of the other great apes in this one particular way; a great deal of brain development go on outside of the womb. Specifically, the brain of a new-born elephant is about 30-40% the size of that of an adult. Amazingly, this opens worlds of possibility for complex learning, social development, and the formation of culture. In this situation a species tends to rely less upon instinctual behaviours and more upon socially learned behaviours within each individual's genetic boundary.

Also, this stage of development lays the foundation for the caregiver(s) to play a strong role in shaping the particular being growing up. The new-born elephant is born with a minimal amount of "innate" knowledge. For example, despite a calf's "precocious" nature, he/she lack the ability to use its trunk with any real skill. Hence as the calf grows and through experience, it will understand what it can do with its trunk (paralleling a human baby learning how to walk). The young calf will within time comprehend that it is to be used as an extra hand to pick up items, to scratch with, to drink with, and much much more.

It is the close contact and relationship between adult and calf that allows knowledge to be acquired and processed. A very interesting study published in the National Geographic Research Journal by Phyllis Lee delves into the early social development among African elephant calves. Interestingly, mothers have been found to care and to interact differently depending on whether it is a male or a female calve. Also, males sucked more frequently than females and moved away from their mother earlier. They were found to leave the local family unit to interact and play with non family members.

On the other hand, females stayed close to their mothers and engaged in more friendly and aggressive interactions. They also interacted more within the family unit. These patterns lay the social foundation for the future lives of the two distinct sex groups. This difference of lifestyle between male and female elephants is more prevalent in their adolescent and their adult lives.

The major activity infant elephants are involved in is feeding, resting and travelling. This actually accounts for well over 80% of general observations in time sampling. As the calves get older (12-60+months), they spend less time resting and travelling and much more time feeding. Also, as can be expected the time spent suckling decreases with age. Elephants typically are fully weaned at around 5 to 6 years of age.

Within the first three months of birth, a young calf's food intake is typically provided solely by the mother. Up to two years, the calf is very nutritionally dependent on the mother. After two years of age, the shift of emphasis is upon independent feeding despite the fact that the mother's milk remains an important part of a calf's diet. Main Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

jurek1951, PaulLees, anel, KOMSIS, manuel75, PeterZ, pegos, Luis52, Argus, marius-secan, siggi, Mamagolo2, bungbing, PeakXV, manyee, tuslaw, Dis. Ac., BREARD, kapildk, amal_parambath, maurydv, Pitoncle, corjan3, peter_stoeckl, Ingrid1 has marked this note useful
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Little pink thingIngrid1 1 07-02 01:52
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Anna,
Yes I think this little guy is adorable. Really well shot for somebody hanging out a car window. That little pink tongue is something. I was wondering where was mom in all of this? You would have gotten a real charge out of that! You are really lucky to view such great African wildlife. Well done.

Hi Anna,
Excellent portrait of this baby,
Tanks for sharing!
Best regards, have a nice weekend

Hi Anna,
very nice shot of african elephant, nice frontal point of view, very good pose, nice natural colour tones,
well done,

Hi Anna,,
What a beautiful moment you have captured.
Excellent work and timing.
Wonderful colour and sharpness.
Thanks for sharing.


  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2011-08-20 0:42]

Lovely baby in an usual posture. Great capture, indeed!

Well done!


Ciao Anna. Grat portarit in excellente DOF for the cute friend against the wild OOF environment.


Hi Anna, great capture of this fine moment with its trunk thrown over his head, (a bit of a scary moment hey?), splendid sharpness, good exposure and very well done,
Best regards,


Hi Anna
lovely shot with just perfect pose
imho cutting away the bg in the upper frame of the image would even improve the compo

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-08-20 2:58]

Hello Anna,
It's really cute and very expressive your baby elephant. And we already can see that it has character. Lovely portrait, well presented and shown in a natural surrounding.
Thanks and kind regards

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2011-08-20 3:45]

Hallo Anna,
Baby Elephant, a very cute ..
Good sharp, details and a nice portrait.
Have a nice weekend,

Hi Anna,
Nice portrait for this little elephant!
The natural ambientation is fantastic and the sharpness is perfect.

Hello Anna
I see the young elephant you hello!
He is very friendly, and your shot is very well framed
thank you

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-08-20 7:16]

Hello Anna,
What a fantastic photo. Yes I understand the reason of adrenalin through your body. It's amazing and very impressive when an elephant is coming to you car in this pose, even when it is a youngster.
Excellent photo in beautiful natural colours and good sharpness. Great DOF and timing.

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2011-08-20 7:45]

Hi Anna,
great portrait of this beauty of nature.
The expression of the baby elephant is fantastic!
Very nice and natural color; excellent light and detail.
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2011-08-20 8:01]

Dear friend Ana.
I have always dream taking a photo of an elephant like this one. Gona save some money to travel to KNP some day and i give you a call.
TFS Ana. Love this photo. I really do.

Ciao Anna, fantastic portrait of lovely baby elephas, splendid natural ambientation, excellent sharpness and fine details, very well done my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-08-20 10:06]

Hello Anna,
The title reminds me of an old song 'you've got the cutest little baby face'
Though not little, this could apply to this baby elephant, in this nice frontal shot with the trunk raised. Excellent pose, clarity, colours and BG.
A real cutie!
Thanks and enjoy your weekend,

Hello Anna,
Superb portrait of a baby elephant.
The clarity, razor sharp details and sharpness are very good as usual.
Splendid natural details and colors.
Thanks for sharing!

Hello Anna
Beautiful scene with interesting composition wonderful colours and good sharpness.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-08-20 13:39]

Hello anna.
This is a very good close up of the amazing lookin young Elephant. The detail in the skin and colours are top work .Very well done TFS.Best regards Siggi

Hi Anna,
Nice an very eloquent baby!... Good shot! I like a lot the great sharp in foreground baby elephant and the goog recorded surrounders.
You still making great shots with your bridge camera!

Hello Anna,
lovely capture of this cute elephant baby with natural colours and good sharpness. I especially like its pose with the open mouth and the ears in the front.
Best wishes,

Hello Anna,
As you know I see a lot of elephants on a daily basis and take a lot of shots at them but I've never seen anything like this. This is absolutely fantastic and what an experience you had. Yes, and I can believe your adrenalin was pumping because the strength in even this little cutie can bee seen. And I believe you would've had a few dents in your car if he did collide with you. But I have to ask you where the mum was because surely she would have reacted fiercely to your presence. I would love to know. Even with all the adrenaline flowing you've taken an excellent clear and sharp photo with a lot of detail. Very well done my friend

Hello Anna,
Lovely picture of this baby elephant, excellent timing captured, great point of view, good details sharpness and very nice natural colours,
Thanks for sharing and have a great week,
Best Regards,

Hi Anna,

A perfect pose from this pachyderm! He is looking aggressive in his demeanor & yet, somehow, curiously pensive through expression. Amazing how the background camouflages so well. Very well captured!



  • Good 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2011-08-22 11:10]

Oh my gosh, Anna! What an incredible shot!
Adorable for sure, but also unique in its POV.
How often do we get to look inside the mouth of an elephant, small though this one may be.
I am very surprised that the tongue is so small in relation to the rest of him.
A really stunning perspective and amazing moment!
Well captured in great sharpness and excellent light.
Love it. Thanks for sharing. : )

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2011-08-22 19:45]

Hello Anna,
What a precious image of this tiny elephant. I can almost feel your mixed emotions as he made his mock charges. It must have been an exciting time trying to capture all the action that was going on.
I'll bet you have plenty of really good shots, so it must have been trying to pick just the best one to post.
Your notes about how they have to learn how to use their trunks reminded me of a childrens book that I've been reading to the grandkids. It tells the story about a young elephant who learns all the special things his trunk can do for him. Great work!!

Hi Anne,

wow an fantastic close up from this elephant.
good of sharpness and pov with great details.
Fine colorors.
You let us been seen in every photo that with simple camera exellent photo's can be taken.


Bonjour Anna.
Merci pour tes commentaires.

Le portrait de ce bébé éléphant est superbe.
Détails et couleurs splendides.
Merci à toi
Je t'ai inscrit dans mes photographes favoris.

Hi Anna & hi Baby,

This baby is really cute & you've captured it very well in this nice pose. Well done & TFS.

African elephant is looking really beautiful and the kind of framing in the photo and the posture of the elephant makes it elegant.

Hallo Anna,
a fantastic portrait of this young elephant, spectacular point of view, very good sharpness, marvellous natural colours, a superb visula impact
Best regards

Bonjour Peggy,
Splendide et impressionnante image prise sans aucun doute dans des conditions particulièrement difficiles imaginant, entre autres, la présence de sa mère à proximité.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Anna,
The elephant is my favourite animal from Etosha days and this is very cute. Your account of its behaviour is very interesting and entertaining. Thank you for that (I also enjoyed Natley's comments - amazing that she sees elephant so regularly). The rest of your note also is very informative. Well done and best wishes.

Interesante "plano Americano" , con parte de las piernas del elefante cortadas.
Me encantan los colores y el poder ver parte del hábitat de este gran mamídero.

Un abrazo y buen Domingo Anna: Josep Ignasi.

Hi Anna,
a baby in furious attack would hardly miss the attention. Now this baby here weighing probably up to 500 pounds in frontal approach really would have raised my heart beat, too. Excellent documentation of behaviour, and a most unusual and monumental portrait. Great notes, as usual from you. With thanks, and all my best wishes to you!

A great honour to me to find my latest contribution to TN a few weeks ago taken into your PPP collection. Thanks a lot, Anna.

Hi Anna
Lovely shot of this litle guy! The "movement" in this picture makes the shot. Nice true colors and good sharp detail, truely a great capture.
Well done!

Dearest Anna

It is a heart warming experience to watch a young elephant to learn spraying himself with water or dust, whatever...

Thank you for sharing and contributing this photo to my theme. It is very kind of you to go through your archives. Interesting Notes too.


Adorable and beautiful.

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