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Surprise Visitor - TBN 1

Surprise Visitor - TBN 1
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: 2006-02-15
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon 60mm EF-S f/2.8 Macro USM, Digital ISO 400, UV 55mm Marumi
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/60 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Animal Portraits II, Reptiles of Africa, Reptiles - Monitors, monsters, & dragons 1, A study in Herpetology (reptiles) 1, Touched by Nature [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-02-16 12:41
Viewed: 8905
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Water leguaan/Nile monitor - Varanus niloticus

The 1st delivery in the "Touched by Nature" series.

Sometimes we get touched by nature in strange or unexpected ways...
Last night while typing away on some critiques for TN, the sound of somebody screaming suddenly distracted me and I went outside to investigate. It turned out to be my neighbour and her friend. I was told that they had found a water leguaan inside her washing machine. The poor little animal was totally stressed out and I couldn’t help but feeling pity for it. I too would have felt that way had the two women started screaming just at the sight of me.

To cut a long story short, I had to remove it really carefully as this guy was ready to bite at anything that presented him with some flesh to sink his teeth into. The obvious decision was to return it to the river, just outside town, but first I had to jump at the opportunity to photograph the surprise visitor. I can report that he did not seem to mind the shoot too much and is happily returned back to nature.

We obviously had to hold on to the creature and could only take a couple of facial close-ups for if we were to put it down for some full bodied shots it surely would have disappeared like Flash Lightning.


Of the lizard family water monitors are second in size only to the Komodo Monitors. They are covered with round and protruding scales. Their coloration is usually drab grey or olive with yellow spots arranged in circles and a few stripes across their backs. The tail is extremely long composing half of the total body length and can deliver a powerful whipping blow.

They are equipped with powerful limbs and sharp claws which are good for climbing, digging, defense, or tearing at their prey. They have a greatly enhanced sense of smell which they get through a special organ called the Jacobson's organ, also found in snakes. Like a snake the water monitor will move its tongue in and out to smell the surroundings. When it is alarmed it will puff up its body, hiss loudly, and lash about with its tail.

From the Nile Valley in Egypt down to South Africa.

Water monitors are found almost wherever there are permanent bodies of water, from grasslands and desert fringes to rainforests, along rivers, swamps, pools, lakes and seashores. They will readily inhabit human settlements and cultivations where they are not persecuted.

Monitors are carnivorous and will devour anything they are capable of dismembering and gulping down. Crabs, molluscs, fish, snakes, turtles, birds, frogs, lizards, rodents, eggs, monkeys, small deer, and carrion.

To 2.1 metre (7 feet) although they are normally about half this size. Source.

Camera settings
ISO setting – 400
Aperture – f/2.8
Shutter speed – 1/60
Focal length - 60mm

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

ellis49, wallhalla15, aido, SkyF, liquidsunshine, bikernjeeks, cdplayer, Dyker, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
LikkewaanJakkals 1 07-08 09:29
To cdplayer: Opportunityloot 1 03-12 18:13
To manyee: Chivalry is not deadloot 5 02-18 17:23
To wallhalla15: Thanksloot 1 02-17 04:47
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
A nice portrait wiht good details and nice colours.
Maybe the DOF is a bit shallow.
Well seen from the dark BG.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • deons Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 0 N: 55] (595)
  • [2006-02-16 13:18]

Hi Loot

Lovely shot, it photographed well in spite of the recent stress that it suffered.


  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-02-16 15:32]

Hi Loot,
Nice portrait, very good detail and good note. I agree with Gert, DOF is a bit shallow and detail has suffered a little. Nice shot though!

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-02-16 18:31]
  • [+]

What a wonderful story, Loot. I enjoyed your washing machine heroics. Chivalry is not dead. But best of all, you got to take a great picture of this lizard quite uncommon to us. Sharp details and good light. Thanks for risking life and limb to share this capture (no pun intended) with us. : )

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-02-16 21:54]

Incredible sharp details and wonderful colors. Great presentation on the black background.

Hi Loot, this is a very nice portrait shot. Colorfull with very good sharpness and very good details. Very good job. Well done.
Thank you.

Hi Loot,
Good detail, colours and very sharp.
Composition and exposure are good. Good POV and excellent notes.
Thanks for posting, have a great weekend.

Hey, Loot

Great portrait of this scaly fellow. I'm sorry to say that I would have probably yelled at it, too (or, what's more likely, just stood there frozen and unable to move or make a sound). Anyway, nice crisp photo. Thanks for sharing.

Wow Loot!

Remarkable image well captured! The sharpness is amazing! It really like the black background. It really helps bring out the vibrant colors of this fine specimen. Your positioning is perfect!

I must admit that I would have ran away from the opportunity to grab this shot!

Thank you for your story Loot! It adds another dimension to your image. Excellent composition!

Hello Loot

Ek kan jou verseker, as ek een van hierdie nommers in my wasmasjien kry, dan het ek verseker skoon onderklere nodig. Daar is nou nie eens 'n vraag oor die uitkoms van die storie nie. Ek wonder egter of ek ooit weer my wasmasjien sal kan oop maak daarna. O my swak hart.

Jy het egter jou kanse goed benut en 'n pragtige foto geneem. Daar is soveel detail sigbaar hier, tot diep binne in die reptiel se bek. Met die skubbe, die neusgat, die oog, alles in die fynste besonderhede. Ek het nog nooit 'n likewaan van so naby gesien en ook nie besef dat die ding sulke besondere kleure het nie. Ek snak skoon na asem.


Wat 'n ongelooflike dier!! Ons het mos een in ons erf gekry wat die parkeraad moes kom haal. Ons het hom in 'n voelhok gevang, so ek kon hom mooi bekyk. BAie kwaai dier! Kan opblaas soos 'n padda voor hy vir jou "blaas"

Nice shot! Yje bright yellow and the sparkling eye stand out well against the dark black bg.

Dear Loot
This is a great portrait of a Water leguaan captured perfectly, and you came up close and extremely personal. The focus is remarkable; especially on the scales, the details are beautifully seen. The dark background is great as it helps to bring out the features of the leguaan as well as the colours of this lovely specimen. The light in the shot is wonderful and it has a great full framed composition, just to my personal liking. Thanks for sharing image as well as very interesting note on the subject. Your story is also very entertaining. Love.

Hi Loot,
Fantastic detail and clours. Even the eye pigmentation is clearly visible.

Calibration Check