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Hanging Out With Mom

Hanging Out With Mom
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: 2007-10-21
Categories: Mammals, Bushveld
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 200, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2007
Theme(s): Great cats - Grandes felinos, Felidae of the world: First series, Wild Life, Baby Animals 4, Lions, Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Africa, Mammals of Southern Africa II, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, 80-89 Points I, Wild Cats, Kruger National Park 2, Family Matters 2, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-06 1:24
Viewed: 8041
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 86
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Lion - Panthera leo

It was our "last day" in the Kruger Park and we were slowly making our way towards the dreaded gate at Crocodile Bridge camp. Normally, on this day, one would travel as slow as possible without stalling the vehicle, or take some extra time to check out those spots where one normally just past by, or simply linger at whatever interesting scene or animals you might spot. Anything just to stretch the visit and so prolong that terrible and unavoidable moment when you actually have to leave the park.

Unfortunately, since there was still quite a stretch ahead (±560km back home) we did not intend to leave the park much later than 12h00, but as always, when visiting the Kruger Park, there is an immense resistance in passing through the exit gate. Once you cross that line (and I know this all to well from past experiences) there is a sudden heaviness that comes over you and your mind starts making quick calculations and thinking of convincing storylines to persuade the missus of the benefits in staying on for another couple of days. Alas, (or is it "sadly") life must go on and the dang "rat race" is calling ever so loud to once again entangle you anew until the stress and strain forces you to make the next booking to once more return to this beautiful place. Actually, thinking about it, I should really be thankful for the "rat race", because logically it seems like it is the very ingredient that persistently hounds and pressurise me to return to the Kruger Park every year. Nah, for crying out loud, the real drive is not for any other reason than purely for the love of it all. The tranquillity, the beauty, the wide open spaces, and the abundance and diversity of the fauna & flora, but then again I might be totally and irrevocably biased.

There can be few thrills in life that equal driving round a corner and encountering a pride of lions strolling along the road, unless maybe it is an elephant cow with her tiny calf crossing the road, or maybe a pack of wild dogs running down the road towards you, or a fish eagle perched on a tree right next to the road, or seeing a cheetah outrun an impala, or even a tiny male bee-eater feasting his little lady on a freshly caught grasshopper, or……well, I could go on and on, because I have witnessed all this and much more in the Kruger National Park. Without any doubt South Africa’s flagship game reserve.

We were parked near the "Duke" waterhole, watching the antics of a martial eagle high up in a tree, when a vehicle pulled up next to ours and the driver asked us if we wanted to see a pride of lions. Wow, wee, mister, do barbed wire have thorns on it? Isn't the answer pretty obvious? Who in his right mind would ever say "No" to such a question? I sharpened my ears to make sure I absorbed all the directions and with a quick "Thank you Sir" we were gone like Flash Gordon after stepping on a bar of soap in the shower. As I told you before, when someone tells you it is easy to find this or that animals because it is only xyz Km's down the road then you actually start peeling your eyes from about 2km's before the mark and up to 2km's after the mark, if you did not find it the first time around. Such was the case with this wild goose chase (sorry I'm getting confused - lion chase).

The man said the pride were on the left side of the road ±7km's towards the H4-2 from the T-junction where the S130 meets the S137. Yeah, hectic stuff I know. So, we started to check from the 5km mark to the 9km mark, but without any success. No problem, because one just double-up back from where you came and start searching again, this time from the 9km mark all the way to the 5km mark. Still nothing. Ok, we're not getting put off so easily so it only needs another U-turn and this time we made sure that if there were any lions within a mile on either side of the road we would not miss it.

Why didn't I just trust the good fellow? Exactly on the 7km mark from the S137 (i.e. 3km from the H4-2) I saw some yellow ears sticking out of the bush, ±100m off the road.

Ok, I am not allowed to say it out load, but it was time for the Nissan Tiida to do some bundu-bashing and demonstrate if it had the makings of a good rally car. I was not going to let this moment slip past me just because the lions were too deep into the bush and against my better judgement (and the rules of the park) I slowly made my way into the bush, taking care not to go over any large rocks that might have been hidden between the long grass or scratching the side of the vehicle on the dense thorny trees. Suddenly the bush opened up in front of us and there, in this exposed and uncluttered area of about 100m radius, we found this pride of 6 lionesses and 4 cubs. Obviously they heard us coming a long way off, but although they looked slightly fizzed about our sudden appearance at least they did not take flight. They quickly settled down and we could appreciate and enjoy all the fun of seeing lion interaction within the pride and obviously shoot away numerous photos in the process. Fortunately it was 10h23 and since we were not too far away from Crocodile Bridge it meant that we could spend quite a while with this pride before we had to push on to make the gate in time of our self imposed deadline at 12h00 noon.

PS. Btw, just in case any of you have perhaps missed it, please see the "Intro Page" and postings of the new member, Miss_Piggy.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2

PaulH, pvs, haraprasan, pankajbajpai, fartash, Alex99, uleko, jaycee, nglen, Hil, jhm, eqshannon, marhowie, manyee, Dyker, earthtraveler, Miss_Piggy, Aaltjie, scottevers7, jcoowanitwong, Rehanna, rsiliato, saguzar, Tobias__Ortmann, horia, oscarromulus, rcrick, Debz, thor68, peter_stoeckl, CeltickRanger, betsie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To thor68: Thinking of youloot 1 02-10 10:02
To Miss_Piggy: Better half of what?loot 3 01-09 23:35
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-01-06 1:39]

Hi Loot,
a wonderful family portrait, the eye contact you have with the Lioness is priceless. It must been amazing to stumble across this pride hiding in the Bush like that.
Perfect DOF and an overall great result from the 170-500mm (i have the same lens!)

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-01-06 2:02]

Hi Loot,

First of all the best wishes for 2008,hope that you get lots of photoopportunities in the new season even if you have now as I can read in your note will have to struggle for the camera now and than,anyway this is a fine capture with nice light,I can understand your feeling with leaving this park,I hope we will be able to return there soon,


  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-01-06 2:59]

Good morning Loot!
Very nice image of this pride of Lions.
I think your low-down POV is very effective.
Sharp and detailed with good colours.
Well done my friend,

Hi Mr. Loot,
A beautiful capture of this nice group of panthera leos. Very nice details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

hello loot,
beautiful capture of the family resting together, the warming sunlight looks nice here, liked the pov, composition and the perfect dof you have achieved,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hello Loot
Very intersting scene you show us here,
Perfect focusing,exposure and DOF,Superb shot.

Best wishes for 2008

Hi Loot,
nice view of the family,the colors and expression of the beasts are really good.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-01-06 5:20]
  • [2]

Hi Loot.
You managed to catch, may be, the most cute scene. The poses of the babies and head turning of the mom are so touching. Especially I like blurred a bit grey BG and perfectly eliminated, crisp sharp with bright colours main scene. DOF is really precise as well as the framing and composition and, of course, the note. Bravo once more for your creative work.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-01-06 6:21]

Hi Loot,
Just marking this wonderful post from you and will be back with a proper critique later.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-06 7:19]

Hello Loot,
I bet you were sad to leave the Kruger park, it must be a fantastic experience. But you're lucky to live near enough to go here once a year. The story reminds me of my dear husband - he always finds something exciting to look at just as we're about to part for home!! Great shot of Mum and her young ones enjoying the sunshine. Beautiful light, sharp details and lovely colours. It looks very peaceful!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-01-06 8:40]

Hi Loot,

A very beautiful family portrait. The mama and one of the cubs are staring right at you. The details of the faces are just wonderful. Perfect natural colors. This is the way to see wild animals - in their natural habitat.


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-01-06 10:54]

Hello Loot. First may i all the best for 2008 if not to late. one thing i like is to see lions in the wild . As to date i have never seen them in the wild but maybe one day when i retire which hopefully will not be to long i will get the chance.
Well your picture show the mother and her young all very relaxed. she is just having a glance at you. you have captured afine detail in the fur with good natural colours. I have enjoyed reading your notes too.

  • Great 
  • Hil Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
  • [2008-01-06 11:00]

Hi Loot

Superb shot of the family gathering, really nicely composed and I love the pose with the Lioness glancing over her shoulder just keeping an eye on everything, good level POV with perfectly saturated colours and lovely warm light.

TFS Hil :o)

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-01-06 22:38]

Yes, mama looks a little concerned about your crash appearance, but the babes aren't fussed at all.
Lovely family photo, beautifully captured Loot, it looks like you have set them up in this pose.

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2008-01-06 23:49]

Hello Loot,

Prachtige foto, zeker hoe de moederleeuw die juist omkijkt, en met veel aandacht haar kroost bewaakt.
Op deregelijk grote afstand fotograferen blijft altijd moeilijk, maar het is een fantastische foto.

Groeten uit België,

I wonder why you didn't take one home with you!?:-) It is as though they are saying goodbye..I have had eagles do that to me by dropping feathers a day or two before I leave. Old Indian tradition has it that this is teh way of saying farewell...A nice image and tour..

Hi Loot,
Ahh, more family oriented fun!
Sharp & detailed, great light & color. The DOF has isolated this happy family in the frame very well also..Reading your note, it sounds like it was most difficult leaving..Dang that rat race ;}
But you had a wonderful experience I'm sure..
I envy you mf,

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-01-08 19:15]

Hi Loot,
Beautifully composed image, with sharp details and great natural colors. One day before I become worm food, God willing I will make a trip to your country and see all the wildlife I only see in wonderful images from you and others from TrekNature. I suspect to cub on the left is a boy, look how he holds his head proud and strong. Thanks LOOT.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-01-08 23:17]

Wow, Loot, what a great family portrait.
I am really enjoying your "mother and babies" series, as you can probably guess. : )
Such a peaceful scene.
I can't believe the lions are so unphazed by your presence.
Wonderful eye contact from the cub on the left as well as the lioness,
who is seemingly not totally trustful of your intentions!
Great job and TFS. : )
P.S. Loved your story as well. : )

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2008-01-09 1:14]

Hello Loot
And so the ongoing series of the "Moms and babes" continue to entertain and thrill us. The various poses (body language/activities) from this family group are priceless. Mom doesn’t seem to be too much in a huff, but she's ready to react to any sign of danger (indicated by her hind legs that was pulled back completely under her body) while she gave you that look which said "I'm ok with you, but do keep your distance buster". The youngster on the left is midway between a state of blissful sleep and semi consciousness and he gave you that "What's up dude – please do not disturb" look. The youngster in the centre could not be bothered with you and seemingly gave you no second though as the pleasures of an early morning sleep far outweighed any other pressing activities. The last one, the one on the right, seems much more stimulated by something else (maybe another lion somewhere towards the side) and it had no interest in you at all. Possibly the peacefulness of the scene prevailed only because mom did not show any fear nor did she get all excited due to your sudden appearance.
The telephoto zoom showed the exact lines of the DOF very clearly. The morning light gave you a wonderful bright spot to capture. And as always it came complete with a note worthy to digest.

Ps. I see you're getting some stiff competition from Miss Piggy. She's really doing well with her first posting.

Hi Loot,
Great shot of the family gathering.
They look quite comfortable. I like the eye contact you got with the mother. Nicely composed with good detail and color.
Grand note, TFS

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-01-09 19:23]

Hello Loot,
Very nice capture of this beautiful family, great POV
and well composed picture, they look so peaceful just
laying down over there.. Well done


Hallo Loot
I remember this day as clear as if it was yesterday. I also remember me being quite nervous because I knew we ( I mean you) where not abiding to the rules of Kruger Park and driving into the bushes where we not supposed to. But it was all exited and the adrenalin where pumping, and while looking an admiring this pride of lion, my mind also worked overtime in thinking what are we going to tell the rangers if they saw us in the bush? Then I thought "ah man" what the heck, we are there and we must enjoy the scene. And did we enjoy the scene! We saw these lions from all angles. Every moment, a moment to remember. They really played along and made the last day of our trip very unique. Thanks for taking me along on your journey. It was most enjoyable and adventurous with you on my side.
(Your better half) Anna

Dear Loot
Reading your story and the critique that Miss_Piggy gave you I cannot others as to feel jealous and also sad that I never had the opportunity to accompany you on one of these adventures. It sounds like that Nissan Tiida will give any 4x4 a hard time.
This is like usual a stunning photo with lots of detail and story behind the story. The cubs seem to be relaxed and have all reason to be. Their mom is on her back paws for defense should anything happen or thread to happen to her offspring. They all look healthy and well care of.
I really love this baby series and will be coming back to award my smiley’s in due course if I should miss out on some of them.
Kind regards

Hi Loot,
An excellent shot on this mom and her young. The light here looks really great. Colors and detail are superb. I can understand how you feel about such an amazing place. I would love to visit there someday. I get that way when I spend time at the wildlife refuge in Florida. I would love to move up to a big game National Park.


Hi Loot,
Wonderful to see lioness and her cubs in the natural environment. You have a great pov and composition here. The note is informative and good reading.

Hello Loot

Dit lyk soos 'n klomp uitgevrete kietsies wat lui-lui rond lê as ek so na die lotjie kyk. Gelukkig weet hulle niks van die park reëls nie anders het hulle dalk jou bande kom stukkend byt omdat jy hul vreedsame oggend slapie kom verstoor het deur om so diep in die bos in te ry agter hulle aan. Toemaar, ek grap maar net. Hulle lyk te kostelik vir woorde en jou storie vertel weer vir ons presies wat daar aan die gang was toe julle die klomp gevind het. Ek kon ook uitmaak dat jy glad nie gelukkig was om huis toe te gaan nie. Ek dink ek kan dit verstaan, want so 'n vakansie gaan gewoonlik net te gou verby.

Nog 'n pragtige bydrae in jou "mamma en kleinspan" reeks. Ek hoop daar is nog heelwat waar hierdie vandaan kom aangesien ek hierdie reeks uitermatig geniet.


Hi Loot,
Awww this is sooo very nice, a beautiful family of cuddly kittys! (Big ones!) Excellent POV, color saturation and focus. A great family portrait! TFS

Great Shot Loot as always!

Hi Loot
Hierdie leeu wyfie met haar babas lyk nie of hulle juis enige notisie van jou neem nie. Jy lyk redelik naby aan hulle. Dis wonderlik dat sulke fotos vasgevang kan word - dit is 'n prentjie wat mens nie elke dag teekom in die wildtuin nie. Goed gedoen Loot.

Hi Loot,
You´ve did a very nice capture of these lion family, looks like they´re adapted well to human visitors. Composition is well made, but I see blurred parts at BG.. photoshop?
Best regards

Another amazing shot
very good sharpness and nice composition
colours and details are great
tfs Toba

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-01-16 8:07]
  • [2]

Hello Loot

Well...at least you did some "dakar-rally" yourself, if they canceled the real one :))
But sometimes it's good to break the rules. And i'm only saying this in a good way.
It's good to break the rules if you don't harm anybody, so that you can pursue your goals. It's good to jump over a fence or go a step closer to the cliff, if it gate's you closer to what you are aiming for and it it benefits the "bigger picture"
For example, my team and i, in our studies, must capture some specimens of different reptiles and amphibians in order to study them. No questions about it, as soon as we are done, we release all animals back into their habitat, but even so this is stressful for the creature and therefore a bit dangerous for them. However, you can't manage a good protection program for a species if you don't know sufficient things about that particular type of animal. In the end, it benefits them.

Now i don't want to strain myself too far from the subject here with this discussion, so i'll just leave it like that..for now :)

Congratulations for pulling out this amazing shot, my friend!
A splendid family reunion that has blessed you with some terrific eye-contacts and faces that surpass most studio shots, too :)
The mood in your picture is very evident, too - calm, relaxing, enjoying the nice sun...and that really adds to the quality of your photo.
Very well done - in all aspects - my friend!

Bravo and TFS

Your notes have QUALITY.
Image: MAJESTIC!!!
Mario with greetings.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-01-18 21:41]

Hello Loot

Wow I can see why they call them a Pride of lions.She certainly looks proud of them.Ok you are the guy to ask,why do they call them a pride?
Excellent low POV .
The lighting is very good and produces natural and well saturated colours.
Well composed in the frame.
I particularly like the pose and expression of the cub on the left.

Magnífica "reunión familiar".
Preciosos detalles y genial colorido Loot.
Muy buena nota.
Hasta pronto, JL.

Dear loot,
Just a wonderful portrait of this wildcat family, the look on the lioness face is just priceless, excellent composition and detail very nice work all the best Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2008-01-30 2:46]

Hi Loot, a fabulous scene of this Lion family. Great pov and perfectly focused. Wonderful eye contact from the cub and mother to the left of the shot. Grat light, colour and detail.
Great notes also.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2008-01-31 13:42]

Really delicious and lovely scene!! I love the magnificent point of view and the excellent focus with great sharpness, DOF and great contrast.
A superb job as ever!
Congratulations and thank you very much for sharing.

Hi Loot,
Excellent capture of this pride of lions, the lioness and cub look very content in there environment. You must've had lots of fun on this trip. TFS. :)

"Hanging Out With Mom" - is a nice title: looking at the great photo makes me smile,
but thinking of my personal situation it puts a tear in my eye, as i cannot hang out with [my] mom anymore...

hi loot, i haven´t been around too much lately to enjoy your great pics, but i haven´t been feeling too well the last 3
weeks, so i am just making a short stop to say hello.

as i mentioned, i like the title, and of course the low pov along the ground with the lions enjoying the sun and mom having her eyes on you.

i really have to visit africa once, to see all the wonderful animals "free" and in their natural habitat.
have a great sunday & take care, thor.

Dear Loot,
a really charming party that you have recorded here, expressing all the love you feel for Kruger Park and its inhabitants. Thank you, and all my best wishes to you!

hello Loot

what a lovely family image of those lions, WOW !
the young lions are cute and i love their mother's
eye contact with you, excellent luminosity of your image
with excellent sharpness and details, TFS


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