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With or without the tail???

With or without the tail???
Photo Information
Copyright: Michel Pilon (pilonm) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-02-20
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Panasonic DMC FZ - 20 LUMIX
Exposure: f/4.6, 1/800 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Reptiles - Iguanas 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-24 8:03
Viewed: 6327
Points: 41
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

Here is my second picture of the green iguana we saw on the Margarita Island, Venezuela... We didn't see the green iguana often on the ground... Each time we saw it there it was because he was walking towards another tree to climb on... I have to be quick because the reptile was creeping towards me...

The kind of twig you see blurred behind the lezard it its tail... Usually I have no problem removing busy and useless branches on a picture. But I can't remove part of the animals I am photographying... I'm pretty sure that removing the tail will add more esthetic to the picture but I just can't dot it ;-)

What are your comments about that?

Comments on the picture?

Thank you very much once again!


Physical Description

4 to 8 kg; avg. 7 kg
(8.8 to 17.6 lbs; avg. 15.4 lbs)

2 m (high); avg. 1.75 m
(6.56 ft; avg. 5.74 ft)

Within three years, a young, 12 gram hatchling iguana can become a 1 kg adult (de Vosjoli, 1992). Upon hatching, the length of green iguanas ranges from 17 to 25 cm. Most mature iguanas weigh between 4 and 6 kg, but some in South America, with proper diet can reach up to 8 kg. These large lizards can reach head to tail lengths of around 2 m.

Although called green iguanas, these animals are actually variable in color. The adults become more uniform in color with age, whereas the young may appear more blotchy or banded between green and brown. Color of an individual may also vary based upon its mood, temperature, health, or social status. Such color alteration may aide these animals in thermoregulation. In the morning, while body temperature is low, skin color will be darker, helping the lizard to absorb heat from sunlight. However, as the hot mid-day sun radiates upon them, these animals become lighter or paler, helping to reflect the sun rays and minimizing the heat absorbed. Active dominant iguanas usually have a darker color than lower-ranked iguanas living the same environment (Frye, 1995). Most color variation seen in this species is exhibited by males, and may be attributed in part to sex steroids. Six to eight weeks prior to and during courtship, males may acquire a bright orange or gold hue, although coloration is still related to dominance status (Frye, 1995). Mature females, for the most part, retain their green coloring.

Other distinguishing features of this species include a pendulous dewlap under the throat, a dorsal crest made up of dermal spines that run from the mid neck to the tail base, and a long tapering tail. The dewlap is more developed in adult males than females. Extensions of the hyoid bones stiffen and support the leading edge of this structure, which is used in territorial defense or when the animal is frightened. This fleshy structure also serves in heat absorption and dissipation when it is extended.

The laterally situated eyes are protected mainly by a immovable eyelid and freely mobile lower eyelid (Oldham and Smith, 1975). On the dorsal midline of the skull behind the eyes is a parietal eye. This sense organ, although not a true "eye," serves as a meter for solar energy, and aids in the maturation of sex organs, thyroid gland, and endocrine glands (Frye, 1995). The visual effect of this "eye" is mostly limited to the detection of predatory shadows from above.

The scales or plates on the head are larger and more irregular than the scales on the rest of the body. Below the tympanum there is a large rounded scale called the subtympanic plate.

delic, JoseMiguel, vanderschelden, ellis49, ramthakur, Alex99, horia, deblink, Ken52, peter_stoeckl, dew77, livios, eruyanik, Evelynn, uleko, pierrefonds, zulfu has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To peter_stoeckl: Agree with you Peter...pilonm 1 05-25 10:16
To Proframe: The twig is its tail!!!pilonm 4 05-25 03:59
To vanderschelden: The yellow line is its tail...!pilonm 1 05-24 12:44
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-24 8:10]

Hello Michel,
Excellent colors, straight-on viewpoint and the noble pose of the iguana make this a fascinating picture. I was unsure about what may have been the tail until I read the note. You did well by not removing it for the integrity of the image. Great work! Regards,

Wonderful pose of the Iguana Michel. Composition, clarity and sharpness are spot on. Very well done, but like you already did mention, the twig in the bg is a bit distracting and not hard to get out of the image without harming the animal. I already did send you an email. Best regards, Harry

Bonjour Michel,
This is an excellent capture!
I like very much the clear and sharp details got, specially on the head of the iguana. Textures of the skin are simply amazing.
The composition made works pretty well, the dark background stands up the best of the animal and their vivid green tone.
Felicitacions et merci du partager.
Mes amities,

Very nice..You had taked it suciesfully,Wonderful shot!

Hi Michel,
Great subject photographed very well through an excellent point of view. Well exposed; good colours.
To the right the yellow line could be edited through cloning or so...

Hi Michel,
the pose are og the iguana is great.
Well composed and low POV is very nice. Good details and lovely colours.
Well done.

Hey, Michel, this is a fantastic image of a green iguana you shot in Venezuela!
What a daring point of view and what mind-boggling details! It is a masterpiece.
And removing the tail from the picture would be a sin.
Thanks for sharing this great work.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-05-24 14:15]

Hi Michel,
Superb shot of the green iguana. Lovely green colours and immaculate sharpness. Perfect lighting, POV and DOF. I like its majestic pose and the calmness of the eyes. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-05-24 14:25]

Hi Michel.
Your shot is simply terrific. Amazing low POV and great reproduction of this reptile. Fantastic impressive scene, vertical cropping and tremendous reproduction of all details of the animal. DOF is great and BG is wonderful too. Unique skillfully and creatively done picture. Bravo and best regards.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-05-24 14:52]

Hi Michel

This is really a fantastic shot! My compliments to you!
The low-angled POV here is exceptional and it really shows this splendid creature beautifully.
The details here are impeccably clear and the pose of the lizard is really greatly captured.
Even the tail in the BG suits the composition very nicely :)
What more can i say: my hat's off to you!


Hi Michel,
I am certainly glad you left the Iguana's tail, I am like you, I wouldn't be able to take it off either. Excellent POV, detail, colours and quality. Wow, I am impressed with this one. Glad it didn't think you were a tree.

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2007-05-24 18:35]

The details are outstanding. Great focus! Exposure is outstanding with good light in all the right places. Great natural colors. What I like most about this one is your low POV and the pose of your subject. DOF is also excellent. I agree, I would not remove the tail.

Hi Michel,
excellent frontal approach from very low position, perfect details, well saturated colours, impressingly dominant pose. Great.
Your question about removing the tail by postwork: Yes and No.
Spectators who do not know it that it is the animal's tail that is sticking out at the right would always believe it is a just a twig interfering with the picture, and would vote for removing it. The reason for mistaking the tail for a twig is the fact that the image does not show the tip of the tail.
But once the spectators know that the apparent twig in fact is the tail, they would never vote for removing it.
From the purely aesthetical point of view, I would definitely say: Remove that interfering "twig". That would add to the concentration of this powerful portrait.
But regarding that image as a naturalist's document I would say: Please leave it as it is.
Thank you my dear friend.
With best regards,

Nice shot of this iguana. Vivid colors. the green and white on the legs are especially interesting.

Michel, this one has an excellent point of view and excellent sharpness. I also enjoy the green shades all around.
Great dof.

In my opinion, one of the greatest parts about shooting these guys is the fact they always have nice poses to offer us.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-05-26 15:46]

Hello Michel,
Wonderful capture.Exposure is spot on,focus couldn't be better.Clear details,sharpness,3D effect and lighting are also excellent.

In my opinion one of the most interesting species in the world! and unfortunately i have no chance to see them in my country! Love that beautiful green on the skin! Superb exceptional pov and presantation you had! Green on the grass and iguana looked so nice!

Ps: if i did not read your notes, i couldn't notice that twig like tail on the bg! Impressive looking indeed!

My goodness! What a wonderful photo, Michel. I do understand about the tail. No one but you would have known the difference but the photographer must please himself first. I like all the details you did capture. Great color.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-06-28 12:32]

Hello Michel,
Great capture of this Iguana in a very nice pose! Excellent low POV, nice light, very sharp details and fine colours. Nice background too. Well done!
Many thanks, Ulla

Bonsoir Michel,

Une belle image de cet iguane, la photo a une bonne composition, netteté et de jolies couleurs. Bonne soirée.


  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-12-16 23:06]

Hello Michel, superb and amazing shot of this beauty in a fine pose with great POV, details and composition.
TFS and G's,

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