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Oops, That's A Croc

Oops, That's A Croc
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: 2006-04-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 100, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Acrobat animals, Birds of South Africa 1, Birds / Aves, Birds of Africa, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-06-04 7:23
Viewed: 6632
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 72
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African jacana - Actophilornis africana

I photographed this surprised bird at the Thulasihleka Bird Sanctuary at Richards Bay. It was on "Freedom Day" 27 April, a public holiday in South Africa, which commemorates the first democratic post-apartheid general elections, held in 1994, when we saw Madiba (Nelson Mandela) elected as the first President.

There was a crocodile lying in the patch of grass which you can see just behind the jacana. The croc was obscured by the long grass so, I could not get a good photo of it. Please see my workshop to view a crocodile in that gras.

I stepped over to the other side of the bird hide, hoping to find some birds to photograph. While there I heard a splash from the side, where the crocodile was lying, so I rushed back there only to find Mr. Croc had disappeared into the water. I noticed a jacana coming out of the reeds behind the long grass and I readied my camera to try and shoot a photo of it. At that point in time two more jacanas flew in to touch down and I frantically started shooting these birds landing. That was when it happened… I don’t know who got the bigger fright, the jacana or me. The croc was all the time lying in the shallow water and the jacana nearly landed on top of it. This caused the croc to wriggle and the jacana almost made a summersault. Needles to say, it gave a hop, another hop, and it shot into the air like a supersonic jet aircraft that had just open up its afterburners. Gone, out of view, which left me rather upset with the croc for it just chased away a lovely bird which I would have loved to photograph. No need to say I was as excited as could be to get home to see if the hurried shots would be of any use. Well, I hope you all agree that it came out pretty useful.

Some time ago, when I posted my first butterfly photo "Speckled Fire" I added a workshop to show you one of the bird hides at the Thulasihleka Bird Sanctuary. I then mentioned that the photo was taken from one of the other hides which are mounted on the bottom of an overhead conveyor belt. I made the promise that I would still post a workshop to show you this 'high rise' hide and in my second workshop for this posting today you can see that promised photo. If you are interested and you have not yet seen it, you can read more about the Bird Sanctuary in my posting of the elegant grasshopper "Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat".

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.
Determined & set the 'Black & White' points. Selected the bird with the 'Magic Wand' tool and added 'Saturation' at +7, 'Brightness' at +4 and applied the 'USM' filter at 250, 0,2 & 0 settings. Inverted the selection and used 'Neat Image' at default settings to remove slight BG noise, and finally I cropped and resized the photo for TN specs

SkyF, markula, timonejoon, marhowie, elefantino, ramthakur, jchemas, Zeno, wuta, Dando, manyee, scottevers7, soccer, sandpiper2, Evelynn, gerhardt, SunToucher, valy67, firelord, TAZ, thistle, aido, ellis49, thor68, jeanpaul, Dyker, oscarromulus, Miss_Piggy, betsie, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Callie: Anytime - anyplaceloot 1 06-14 16:27
To Dando: 170-500 vs 50-500loot 2 06-08 12:25
To SunToucher: Wish you were hereloot 2 06-08 10:34
To Evelynn: Hand heldloot 1 06-05 05:19
To soccer: Busy bodiesloot 1 06-05 04:47
To scottevers7: Flight to freedomloot 1 06-04 23:55
To manyee: No MM storyloot 1 06-04 23:36
To jchemas: Appreciation for historyloot 1 06-04 16:18
To SkyF: Oh boyloot 1 06-04 16:06
To ramthakur: Thrillerloot 1 06-04 15:57
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-06-04 7:43]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
this sure is useful! In fact I like it more as if the bird would have just been standing there. Excellent action going on here, and with your information so much more interesting. A wonderful shot, superp sharpness with just enough blur to see that that bird was in a hurry to get away. Colors, POV and details are great.
Oh boy... no wonder that bird was in such a hurry, the croc is huge!

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-06-04 8:41]

Hi Loot,
Great action shot, with very good colors and pose. Exceptional note and WS's that show us the place very well.
TFS, José M.

Hi Loot

congrat, very sharp details and perfect POV. Funny pose which match the title. thanks for information.
well done


Nice action shot Loot, and well composed.
Very sharp and detailed, great DOF/POV..
Luv the burgundy color of the birds body.
Difficult exposure, handled well.
Very nicely done, and Thanx for the WS photo's :)

Hi Loot, amazing bird this Jacana.
Nice colors, details and sharpness.
Good light on the eye and sense of movement.

The croc is not visible in the shot but the eye of the bird says it all, Loot.
The story of your shoot reads like a thriller and it is but natural for the viewer to be face-to-face with the villain -- the croc. So the need to go to your workshop, which is a gratifying experience in itself.
I love the colours of this bird, especially the rust-red breast and half wings.
The image is just beautiful.

Another superb one Loot.
I like very much the colors and the details.
Great POV and DOF.
I also like very much the note that tells what it is happening in this composition.
Very well done my friend.
I like to see your shots because most of them have a history to tell and I think that that’s one of the reasons for this site.

  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2006-06-04 14:05]

Hi Loot,

This is real action. The wings of this bird are very sharp and detailed. The light is great and the satured reddish brown colour is super.


  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-06-04 16:09]

Hello Loot , A Very great action shot , beauty colours bg very sharp , details and the pov .tfs Greetings Teunie .

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-06-04 22:14]
  • [+]

Okay, Loot... I've heard some and I've heard some... Just kidding. *grin*
What an exciting adventure you had there. : )
Much better than being pelletted from above by angry birds. : P
You must have some pretty quick reflexes (no doubt aided by the adrenaline), for you caught a great shot of the jacana on the run.
Just LOVE the pose with the wings upright and the legs in mid-step.
He was in a BIG hurry. Yet the details are very sharp, and the colors are beautiful. I really like the rich rust plumage on his body.
Your story was very entertaining, as usual.
TFS. : )

Hi Loot,
An excellent shot on this African Jacana. It appears that the sunlight was very bright, but you have handled the strong light extremely well. Really beautiful and vibrant colors in the plumage. Tack sharp! You can feel the sense of urgency as he goes from hunter to hunted in a split second.
Those are some amazing bird blinds. Do they have all the amentites in them?? Mine is a small portable nylon tent. I am envious. I'll have to send you a photo of mine. Very well done my friend!

Hi Loot,

This is a great sharp capture and a good tale to go with it. I am assuming you were hand holding that big lens. I don't think I could get as sharp an image with my Sigma 80-400 and it is optically stabilized. Do you actually hand hold it and get shots like this???? No fair!

Thanks for sharing

Evelynn : )


Not easy to get pics of these guys because they keep on moving and very seldom stand still for long. The Lighting here is good as there are no visible shadows on the subject. The composition and detail are also great. Good action shot and thanks for the workshops and tips in the last week. TFS,

Hi Loot

Great post. Good timing. This colourful charachter wasn't going to hang around and be dinner! Look at the wide eyed expression! Excellent work. Thanks.

  • Great 
  • Dando Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 637 W: 32 N: 792] (3084)
  • [2006-06-05 5:44]
  • [+]

Hi Loot, sorry for the delay. Great action shot. You can see he is spooked by the crocodile and at the same time he is watching you also. The lighting on this shot brings out the beautiful colours of the plumage. I also like the the slight blur of the legs I think this adds movement to the shot, I think too often we can freeze the action too much by using a very high shutter speed but sometimes it can make the picture look false and lifeless and you don't get an true idea of what is happening. I like the details and the overall composition is well composed with good PP work. I noticed that you use the Sigma 170-500mm lens, how do you find the handling of this lens on the 350d. I am thinking of upgrading to an SLR in the near future when my piggy bank is full and I have read reports that the 350d is a bit unbalanced with the heavier ultra zoom lenses due to it's light body weight. I was thinking about the sigma 50-500mm lense but noticed that there is no image stabilisation. Do you find this a problem or is it a case of always using a tripod. Anyway great shot with excellent notes, I look forward to your stories, well done and TFS.

Stunning shot Loot. So beuatifully crisp. The sun has given you perfect light and the bird is well exposed.

Very nice capture of this cool looking jacana, this image has nice action and the POV is well chose. Well done Loot. :)

Aargghhh!! I don't have one yet... :)

Lovey action shot, Loot. Maybe a bit hot on the white but it could be my monitor. Great shot! I find the hides very interesting as well. Got the leave approved today. 11/09 to 29/09 down in your neck of the woods. I have family in kwambo and will visit RB, will keep you posted.

Hi Loot,
Reading your story, I got all excided and almost felt I was there with you.....such a great experience and so well written. This time the photo is complementary to your experience. And what a photo it is, such excellent action and still super sharp and exposed.

Hi Loot, very nice action shot ! Sharpness and details are excellent, as well as colors, composition and POV. The pose of the bird, with wings open and one leg in the air, is wonderful. Fantastic story behind this photo, it must have been a great moment for you, you're so lucky ! Very well done !

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2006-06-06 14:21]

it's a nice one Loot,
the good capture is fantastic, the contrast is realy nice in this fantastic photo, with a great pov and a good dof, very good job my friend.
gr. jaap


Baie geluk met hierdie foto. Fantastiese aksieskoot, en die beligting kon nie beter gewees het nie. Uitstaande.


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2006-06-06 22:57]

Very well done on this one again Loot, so sharp and clear it looks like it will pop out of the screen. Thanks !


  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2006-06-07 12:40]

Hello Loot,

What a capture you made!!! As Ram said, we can see the frightening sight of the bird: he wants to be out of there quickly!!! That natural instant gave you the opportunity to get a wonderful picture of a very nice bird!!! Look how colorful he is! "Blue sky" is not a color we see often in nature and you manage the exposition so well that the color is rendered magnifically! Great action shot and TFS,

PS. Take care when you take pictures!

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-06-08 1:50]

You made here an excellent action shot, with great colors and sharpness. The complementary note and the pictures (about mister croc and the place) in workshop are interesting.
Cogratulations Loot for this big and good work.

Hello Loot,
Very fascinating story and a great picture. You can actually see that the bird was in move. His pose is superb. The quality is amazingly good as for the condition of taking that picture. Love the colours and POV too. I just think that you could try to remove some noise from wings (especiually the one farther from camera). It's an action shot and it wouldn't be anything bad if the wings were a little soft. I find the noise a little distracting.
Overall, this is an excellent picture and very valuable too.

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-06-08 5:41]

Hi Loot,
Me again :-) Excellent note, a very interesting read. I looked at the workshops and have to wonder why we still call these structures 'hides' :-) You'd need a 747 to hide that :-) Great shot too, especially so under difficult circumstances. Nicely framed, beautiful exposure on the Jacana and wonderful warm light. It took me a while to work out his legs, specifically the one at the rear until I realised it was his foot! More great work from you.

Hi Loot,
you have caught a very nice action here, it look like he is in a hurry, pity we dont't see the crock.
The details are sharp and clear. Well composed and good POV.
The colours are just lovely. Only nit, a slightly OE on the white parts on the head, but thats a minor thing.
Excellent work as always, mf.

Hello master Loot,
timing, composition, colours, light, originality and aesthetis is superbe here...thank you
best wishes you
have a nice w end

  • Great 
  • thor68 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 795 W: 138 N: 1319] (5674)
  • [2006-06-09 14:33]

excellent capture, loot! :-)
what a beautiful and colorful bird.
superb timing on the action, rapid take-off.
i know, i´m mean, but what if the giant gator
had caught himself a jacana-leg?
what a photo that would have been...
anayway, this is a terrific wing-stretching
i like the "story" and information around
this photo and the bird sanctuary.
thanks & very well done, thor.

Hi Loot
Well met.
These are Very difficult customers to nail, and you dis a splendid job, with him giving you the go-away sign here. The eye is very well exposed - normally nearly impossible with the jacana, and the frontal shied not blown out. Well done.
I think you can play a bit with the actual calour, to give the pic a bit of a kick - I did a WS, I think it cures the slight OE on the white cheeks to. Have a looksee. I have learned a LOT in the last 6 months on Using levels, a ver powerful tool in PS.

Loot, my "very" dear friend,
The notes are OUTSTANDINGLY well done; highly, I mean, HIGHLY educative. The butterfly, the grasshopper, the "blind" for taking images etc: etc: ALL VERY WELL DONE.
I salute you. What a brain. You are AMAZING.
No wonder Mr. Aaltjie van Zevenster loves your work.
Best regards,
P.S. I took an image of a "carpet" spider. Dont know its real ID. Would you mind if I sent it to you FIRST, before I post it on TN? It is almost "microscopic" in size; however, I blew it up to "screen" size. You can even see its eyes.
Thanks in anticipation for your reply to: [email protected]

nice picture
i like the colours very much!
THE green is amazing
well done TOba

nice pic, TFS Ori

Hallo Loot
What a delightful and colourful image of this African Jacana. This is a beautiful bird and you have captured it in a perfect action motion.The different colours of the plumage are great, especially the royal blue at the tips of the wings. The framing and composition are pleasant. A pleasant image with great natural colours and light. The shine on the inside wings are really beautiful. The green coloured background of the moss and grass in the water is a lovely background and highlightes the baby blue colour of the beak. Thank you very much for sharing. Enjoy your weekend.

I think I make mention of the colours in your photos in every critique - but is is amazing! Well done

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