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And the buccaneer said . . .

And the buccaneer said . . .
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: 2004-12-08
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D70, Sigma 120-300 F2.8
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/2000 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): African Raptors, 40-49 Points (Chapter 2) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-02-02 10:22
Viewed: 6628
Points: 44
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I swear it was the biggest Cape Cobra I have ever encountered, and it just slipped away cleanly. You may help me to catch it if we are quick. The Cape Cobra is a very nasty customer, you can pursue the link to read a bit more.

I must clear-up some misunderstanding about the size(s) of birds. They are measured from the tip of the tail to the tip of the bill. This length is larger, to much larger than the actual height of the bird. The Secretarybird stands about 1.2 m tall, 4 feet in the old measuring system, but it is 1.4m in length. With this photograph, I was lucky to nail him just as he landed. The WS post shows the same bird, less than one second later, folding his wings. I like both of these, as it shows this bird in other than the standard pose normally photographed. This is VERY far away, about 100 m, and I was panning Big Bertha on top of the beanbags. Doing this with about 3.5 kg of camera equipment is not always easy, and the results are often “just missed”.

Although secretarybirds are known for killing snakes and do kill snakes, they feed mostly on insects, rodents, small birds and other reptiles as well. They forage for pray on foot, and cover many kilometres a day in this pursuit. They have to take a little run to get airborne.

I generally do not post the same species two days in a row, but this is for all of you who enjoyed the first Secretary bird, and a big Thank You, especially for the humour about “my” secretary, and this from the gals on site as well. I appreciated the bit of spice in my life.

Venue – Nossob Hide, Nossob Rest Camp
Date 8th December 2004
Time 15h46.43 WS shot at 15h46.44
Camera - Nikon D70
ISO 200 & -0,7 EV.
Sigma 120-300 F2.8 APO USM & 2X converter
Filter – None
Focal length - 600 mm.
Exposure mode - Aperture Priority – 1/2 000 @ F5.6
Flash – none
Support – Beanbags on hide window ledge.
PP – 50% cropping;.; Selective colour; Levels; Hue/Saturation; USM reduced to Site size.

Fisher, JeanMichel, NINIX, elroyie, liquidsunshine, PDP, marhowie, sergegagne, ellis49, red45, Nico, gerhardt, jhm, Luc, Janice, gelor has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To jhm: Dankie JohnCallie 1 02-05 10:11
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2005-02-02 10:43]

Comin' in for the big hug. I'm not sure what her kiss will be like, don't want to know either.
Excelent capture again. Well done on framing the bird within the image. Almost like my duck. Corner to corner.


This one is making my evening, Callie. Reminds me a very short movie made around 1900 showing a man running on a high cliff above the sea, with wings attached to each arm, then jumping, and of course... rescued by a boat. So, this beautiful Cape Cobra was the instigator of this unsuccessful trial. We shouldn't try to imitate birds :-). Great shot again, impressive image, another of your SA beauties. Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • NINIX Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 47 N: 355] (3001)
  • [2005-02-02 12:52]

Ha Callie,

Beautifull with those wings spread. Funny, as if he has shorts and sun glases.
Maybe the distance was a bit much and you lost some sharpness, but good shot.


  • Great 
  • willie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1023 W: 61 N: 648] (2083)
  • [2005-02-02 12:53]

Mooi werk Callie. The moment captured here and in the workshop is great. Good work especially at the distance you were at.

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-02-02 12:55]

Again a wondeful shot bird! You were at quite a distance. Well done!

It's hard to hold all that camera and lens rock steady...you have done well here for 100 yards away.

Again with this strange bird :)
Great catch with its wings wide open, it reminds me a stork with its wings like that.

Great one again Callie,
This bird rocks.
Thanks for posting

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-02-02 17:04]

Hi Callie, what a super pose. It's a good compliment to yestrdays image. I think it is a little soft in focus (unlike you to do that). Well done.

Callie, A grand pose captured. Well supported with your notes, An excellent post!!

Very good Callie.
I like the pose.
Very good colours, DOF and composition.
It's little soft but for a 300 X 2 X 1,5 crop I think this ok.
Great note like always. Great work.

Callie, I just love this shot, as well as the previous one of the Secretarybird. It's not often that we see images of that species here in our boreal country. We're lucky to be able to admire your pics and the ones of the other members from warmer locations. TFS

Great shot, perfectly caught, very well done.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-02-03 4:33]

Great capture. Its wings looks like taken from stork but rest not :-) I like its face with black on orange eye and beak. And of course crest.

Sooo big fish??? ;-))))))))))))
Great moment and very interesting bird. I love your photo!

  • Great 
  • Nico Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 199 W: 1 N: 335] (1321)
  • [2005-02-03 5:37]

Good shot! Have you noticed that they need a short runway to take off, but a very looooong one to land? You may have waited and this "secretary" could have ended in your lap!

What a pose. Really a magnificent bird. Thanks for sharing this with us. I love these birdies. Great shot!

So Callie, now your secretary is playing with your snake!!! What will your wife say! :) :)

For a long distance shot, you and your equipment captured this moment very well. The action pose and composition is great. The note is excellent. I can't believe you can be lucky enough to get this type of shot from a hide. You have two things a successful wildlife photographers needs; skill and luck. Well done Callie.

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2005-02-04 2:25]
  • [+]

Dag Callie,
Met wat geduld heeft u de vogel kunnen fotograferen met open vleugels, bij het opstijgen, excellent shot the colours and the sharpness are very nice.
My compliments Callie

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-02-04 6:04]

Great work, Callie. No time to write a lot but I really appreciate your works.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-02-08 23:01]

This ballet dancer is actually 4 feet? Wow, she's big. Good landing shot Callie. Looks like she wants a cuddle too. TFS.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-02-13 17:36]

Hi, Callie. Great pose. The bird is very beautiful. Besides, nice colors and POV. Despite the distance and the heavy equipment, excellent job.

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