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Lazy Yawner

Lazy Yawner
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: 2008-10-10
Categories: Mammals
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, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Travelogue: Kruger NP & Mpumalanga - 2008
Theme(s): Great cats - Grandes felinos, Felidae of the world: Second series, Wild Life, Lions, 70-79 Puntos (chapter 2), Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Africa, Mammals of Southern Africa II, Wild cats portraits, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, 90-99 Puntos (chapter 1), Wild Cats, Kruger National Park 2, Dedications at treknature: Part Five, My Dedications ;o), CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-10-27 2:20
Viewed: 14297
Favorites: 6 [view]
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Lion - Panthera leo

One hot afternoon, Saturday 11 October 2008, Anna and I were sitting and watching some zebra and impala at the Transport Dam, between Pretoriuskop camp and Skukuza camp. Suddenly someone said: "Loot & Anna Eksteen". For a moment there I thought the Tartars are upon us, but then I realised it was only Robin Du Bois (robindb). It was a real pleasure meeting Robin under this circumstances and the next week we actually met again, this time with Robin and his charming wife (also a photographer), Carín, when we enjoyed a lovely evening at a cosy restaurant in the picturesque little town called White River, in Mpumalanga. It was great meeting you and your wife and this lion I dedicate to you two.

A couple of postings back my notes explained the phenomenon called the "Flehmen response". It is the curling of the upper lip (looks very similar to a yawn) found in ungulates, felids, and many other mammals. It is done to facilitate the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ, also called the Jacobson's Organ. However, what you see here on this posting is just a plain old yawn. Ok, maybe it's not such a plain yawn judging by the size of the yawn and by the teeth sported by the yawner.

Earlier during the morning we were travelling westwards on the S114 route coming in from the Crocodile Bridge area approaching the Berg-en-Dal region in the Kruger National Park. As we moved towards the crossing, where the S114 and the S110 meet up with the H3 main road, we found this "Dozy Lion", doing what lions does best, sleeping most of the day. During the day we actually saw this guy on a number of occasions as he moved about from one shrub to another, from one side of the road to the other side, to find a comfortable and shady spot to continue with his extended siesta. Unfortunately he wasn't much interested in playing along with all the eager photographers piling up to get a better shot.

If you've never been to the Kruger and witnessed the event of a lion sighting (leopards have the same effect) then you haven't experienced the frenzy of "lion fever". This is when some otherwise normal and sane people go rather nuts, cuckoos or crackers, while jostling and frantically pushing and fighting for the best spot to see and photograph the lion/s. Amazing traffic jams ensue within minutes. Suddenly all manners and decency are lost. Road rage in the city is a minor compared to what one sometimes witness at a lion sighting. Crazy is not the word to explain the carnage when 10-30 drivers want to park their cars on the same spot, which is normally almost on top of the lion. People pop out of their sunroofs, hang out of their windows, climb on top of their vehicles or even honk the hooters of their vehicles to try and invoke some reaction or action from the animal. Anything goes, just to get a better vantage point or an action shot showing something else then a sleeping lion. Sometimes safety and good manners are the least considered aspects when it comes to "lion fever".

Frequently I would remain a little distance away from the scene of such a sighting, just to be able to observe the madness going on. The interesting part is that the lion/s normally don't bother much with all this activities and just carry on sleeping until later the afternoon when they might get up, give a couple of calling roars to find their mates and then stroll off to join the pride to see what's on the menu for the night. So, there is really no need to carry on like explained above. The lion/s frequently remain on a specific spot for quite some time (maybe even a whole day as was the case with this one) and then everybody can get a fair chance to see and photograph the animals. If they are just patient and await their turn to approach closer, when other onlookers depart from the scene after having had their fill of the lion/s, then everyone can get a fair chance to look at and shoot some photos of these amazing carnivorous felines. Please see the workshops that show some of the "evidence" of the hustle and bustle one may find at a lion sighting.

During the morning, when we initially saw this lion, we couldn't get any acceptable shots of him, but much later the afternoon we saw this lion again and that was when we managed to captured some better shots of him, including this photo. The late afternoon sun actually enhanced the yellowish colours of the lion and his lovely mane.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2

Miss_Piggy, ellis49, PeterZ, gannu, thor68, nardophoto, robindb, nglen, JORAPAVI, Alex99, anilnediyara, manyee, bahadir, Adam73, Maite, albert, uleko, boreocypriensis, xTauruSx, bobcat08, Tamrock, betsie, pvs, Aaltjie, ImageMaker, marhowie, banaei_nikon, peter_stoeckl, BobH, mlines, Rehanna, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To FunkyMunky: Lion or hippo yawningloot 1 10-28 19:22
To manyee: Strong urge?loot 1 10-28 19:13
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Loot
Fantastic shot. I am quite jealous because not one of my shots taken from the same lion and scenery came out as well as yours. But just watching the king doing his thing is reward enough. (Even if he was sleeping the most of the time.) You have captured this male lion with great precision and true to its characteristics. Detail of various aspects of the lion is supersharp and very much noticeable. The pink of the huge tongue, the golden brown colour of the mane, the 6 whiskers alongside his nose, the huge teeth, the piece of shrub clinging to his head, even the tissues on this paws are clearly visible. I can go on and on. All together is just super photography. Thanks for an enjoyable holiday, and sharing this dedication to Robin and Carin.

Hello Loot,
I hope you and Anna are doing well.
It seems that you had a great time in KNP.
A well composed picture with fine pose and POV. The colours are warm and beautiful, Sharpness and exposure are on top.
And the note are great as usual.
Great Work, old friend.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-10-27 3:38]

Hello Loot,
What a great moment, photographed in perfection. The warm colours, the incredible sharpness, the composition, POV and DOF are all amazing.
I was more than 10 times in African countries, but have never seen such a crazy situations as you describe in your note and showed us in the workshop, lucky me. And..birds are everywhere.

jeez, loot, he really has a big mouth! :-) the teeth and the pink tongue are very impressive. perfectly timed shot - showing
how i am feeling this monday morning *yawn*. lovely details, excellent sharpness and nice warm tones.
well done as usual & wish you a wonderful day, thor.

hello loot,
seems like you are having a great time there and it must be a very nice experience watching these animals in wild. You have captured this shot very well, the timing to click is perfect,
well composed shot with a fine pov,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hi Loot,

Thank you for the message and dedication. Sorry we could not organise better weather and more animals for you to photograph more excellent shots like this. Good early morning colour and good composition, action, detail and DOF. The background shows the dryness of the veld and this highlights another problem with some of the visitors. A cigarette or still burning match in that long grass and many hectares of veld can be destroyed.

Responsible visitors however are always welcome here and I hope any one coming will experience good hospitality as well as our beautifull nature.


Hi Loot,

I'm up very early in the morning because I just can't sleep. When I opened this shot I couldn't help but yawn. ha ha ha . I actually feel a bit sleep now! It is a great capture. We experience the same type of photo frenzy when a grizzly is sighted in Yellowstone. The "bear jams" are legendary.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-10-27 5:30]

Hi Loot. They say its a small world. It must have been nice to meet up . This is a first class close up of the king. very good detail and warm colours. Your POV lets us see the huge mouth and teeth. well done TFS. Interesting notes too.

Hi Loot,
wow - what an amazing moment, I only know this from the zoo, but that's not the same.
To see the "wild" nature is wonderful and your shot is realy perfect.
Thanks so much, I'm glad to be back here after so many months, I missed you all and also your fantastic shots.
Bye and greetings
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-10-27 9:54]

Hi Loot.
Tremendous shot of an amazing lion. You managed to freeze the most impressive scene. Simply great details of all image. DOF is superb, square framing also is the best. I like wonderful warm sunlight and pictorial colour palette. Well done and TFS.

Hello Loot,
This a lovely picture and a great dedication. The late afternoon light is gloriously reflected and made His Majesty look even majestier. You ahve captuers the yawn at its peak and makes it even more dramatic. The notes as usual infromative and thought provoking.

Hi Loot,
He's a real show of. You can yawn or you can YAWN. I am sure that you and the lion made a deal for a better photo....just kiding but that is a very huge yawn.
I like the warm light in this photo and the totally relaxed pose of the lion. I am also impressed and disapointed with the two WS photos. It seems that where ever a flok of humans arrive they try to do the most stupid things to capture a wild animal. I've seen it in Yellowstone and those stupid people pissed me of a lot. I hope that the rangers will start shooting the stupid tourist instead of the wild animals. Its their home.

Before I forget, I did notice some color noise just below the head.

OK, some people have all the luck, in more than 30 years of going to Kruger I have never been able to photograph either a lion or hippo yawning! This is a really great shot, pin sharp with perfect lighting, what more coulod one possibly ask for? Well done!

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-10-27 23:01]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
This has to be the most dramatic yawn I have ever seen!
This is hilarious, especially coming from the "King".
Lovely warm light and super sharp details.
I have a strong urge to put my head inside that gigantic maw.
TFS. : )

Hello Loot a funny capture of this lazy beauty:). I loved this capture. TFS and regards,

Hola Loot,
Impresionante captura, el momento captado es fantástico, la composición muy bella, excelente definición y detalles, gracias por compartirlo,
José Ramón

Amazing capture in its natural habitat. I think for us Humans sake it's great that the lions are pretty much lazy until its time to feed. :) Gives chances to get beautiful shots like this. Beautiful warm light, Exposure and lighting is perfect, captured the yawn at its peak to show intensity, and sharpness and details are perfect. Beautiful shot.

oh my god raely good shot.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2008-10-28 13:33]

How great!!! What a fantastic capture, Loot!!! You did the click just in the perfect moment! It's a extraordinary shot, perfect in all senses. I love the light and colors as well as the lion's yawn.
Thank you very much for sharing.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-10-28 15:02]

Hi Loot,
what a superb shot!
The pose is excellent!
Very sharp and crisp.
Great light.

Well done,

Hello Loot

This is a fun shot to view.
I can almost hear him as he makes a tsup ,tsup sound like he has a coated tongue in a totally disinterested with life sort of way.
Wonderful POV and DOF.
I am glad you made it back safely,but with such lazy kings of the jungle lying around I can see you were in no danger.
Lovely lighting and rich colours.
Funny you and Anna both come back and post yawns! ho hum.


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  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-10-29 0:56]

Hello Loot - he looks very bored with all those cameras stuck in his face. Well, I think it's all the lens stuck in his face that's boring him. And after looking at the workshop pics I can imagine the cars must annoy them too!!
Superb shot with the afternoon sun low in the sky. It has certainly brought out his colours. Superb sharpness and details - it's an excellent image
Best regards

Pragtige foto Loot. Dit was vir my ook opvallend hoe die son die kleure van die Leeu uitbring. Hoop jy word gou gesond.

Hello Loot,
Great capture, it pays to be patient!
Very nice warm colours
All the best

Hi Loot

Great shot my friend. And a great note too; I wish I had time to sit and write decent notes like yours. Unfortunately I barely find the time to post and make few rushed critiques. Anyway I always enjoy reading your material, keep it up.
Classic shot really, but it's beautifully sharp and perfectly composed considering the madness that goes on.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-10-29 5:00]

Hello Loot,
It sounds like you had a fantastic holiday in Kruger! How lucky to get such a superb close view of this mighty male having a big yawn! (Interesting note about this behaviour too!) Excellent timing in beautiful light. Great sharpness and lovely colours and a very fine composition.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

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  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-10-29 6:09]

Hello loot, Excellent body language and superb presentation. nice view and good composition. Ganesh smiley tmrw

Hi My dear friend Loot,
Welcome back from the Kruger NP and I felt sad that I heart you have a trouble with hernia. Hope you get your health soon my dear friend!
On your splendid capture, a great timing to catch such funny and beautiful lazy lion. Compo, details and moment are excelent!
I wish you a good luck for surgery once more my friend!


Hi Loot,
The African warm ambient lighting has given you an excellent exposure. The POV couldn't be better and I really like the nice tight frame around the subject. I hope your operation is successful and without complications so we can soon see some more of the African window through Loots eyes. Get Well soon!

Hello loot, what a funny and lovely shot of this sleepy lion:) Perfect capture. Great timing.
TFS and regards, Deniz

Hello Loot,

What a mouth with big teeth and tongue. This is really a wild animal. Splendid.

What a superb shot. Regards and tFS BOB

hi loot!
this is a great pic with a
very nice situation!
good quality!
very well done!

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2008-11-01 12:04]

Hello Loot , What a beautifull close up ,and a great composition ,exelent sharpnes and details , tfs ,good weekend ,greetings teunie .

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-11-02 2:09]

Hi Loot,

Just returned myself from a krugertrip together with my mother (viv),we had a great time with lots of great sightings,in my opinion the sightings were even more as my last visit (although this was in februari and the vegetation was dense),luckely we have not seen the kind of behaviour as shown in your ws photos,but seen in the hall of shame (sanparks webpage),this happens a lot,the only thing that bothered me the people that were feeding monkeys and birds at the restaurants of the restcamps,although this were only small nits of course,hope to visit this tremendous park once again soon,


Hi dear Loot ,
As always great shot at interesting moment.
Excellent details.

Kind regards

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2008-11-04 17:31]


Dit is lekker. What a capture. As usual the exposures are perfict.



Dear Loot
My friend
Is it you and the lions again. Did you remember my fear the last time? At least this time it looks as if you were slightly further away.

This is a dam good photo, of a dam ‘ol’ lazy bugger. I remember we also saw them, sleeping their days away. Just as you think they are going to do something exciting or give you some photographic opportunities, they just move a few meters and lay down again.

Everything in this image is just groovy. The teeth, the tongue, the mane, the ….ag man everything. I like it a lot. I won’t fight with you this time around. I love you to much as my friend and I am glad that you doing so much better after the operation.

Thanks for this great story.
Warmest regards
Aaltjie and Hettie

Hello Loot,
Great you actually met Robin in Kruger:-).
Secondly about your lazy king...
A well composed photo as well as a precise focus and DOF. But what I do like most is the wonderful light. I was convinced it was sunset light. Doesn't matter. Very beautiful light and photo.
Last year, I also experienced this lion fever. You described this very well:-)
Well done
Thanks for sharing

Really awesome portrait of the Pride. You captured it superbly Loot. Great in all aspect of photography.

Hi Loot,
Well even if it's a "plain old yawn", it's the best darn yarn I've seen in awhile :)
Great detail and light. I like the warm color, nice POV of the lazy boy here..
Excellent note on this also.

Hello Loot,
Great capture, it pays to be patient!
Very nice warm colours
All the best


Dear Loot,
a great portrait, perfect in every aspect.
Seeing someone yawning can be quite contageous. Not to me in this case:
Seeing your wonderful, intensely lively wildlife presentation gave me a kick of vital excitement on a rainy lazy cold and rainy sunday afternoon. Thank you!
With all my best wishes to you.

Hello Loot,
this is very interesting expressive portrait of lion's male! I like it!

Best regards, Leonid

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  • BobH Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)
  • [2009-04-11 2:22]

Hi Loot-

Fabulous shot (hope Anna can cope with her jealousy!). I will have to show this to my two mini-lions (house cats). They yawn like this all the time on a smaller scale, but their appearance is nowhere near as regal! Based on the mini-lion comparison, this looks like a legitimate yawn, rather than a flehmen response. Thanks for a terrific image.


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  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2009-08-26 13:25]

Amazing, realy amazing! I dream taking some shot like that.
Best wishes,

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  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2009-11-07 22:27]

Hi Loot, An unusual and most entrancing shot of the yarning lion. It shows just how long those incisor teeth are as well as how large the mouth can open, easily large enough to go around the throut of it's prey. Good clarity and colours. TFS. Murray.

hello Loot

WOW ! i see these wild animals ony in TV documentarys,
a great photo of the KING of all wild animals and telling
to other animals « i am the King » (lol), i am without words,
a superb photo of the Lion, TFS


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