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Spotted Aristoc(r)at

Spotted Aristoc(r)at
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: 2006-10-10
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, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2006
Theme(s): Great cats - Grandes felinos, Mammals of Southern Africa, _Fotos adicionadas por 5 ou mais membros II, Animal Portraits II, 70-79 Puntos (chapter 2), Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Africa, BEST OF: Cheetahs 1, 5 favs. and up - PART 3, Wild cats portraits, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, 90-99 Puntos (chapter 1), Kruger National Park 1, Wild Cats, Intimate Portraits [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-11-13 14:46
Viewed: 12472
Favorites: 6 [view]
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Cheetah - Acinonyx jubatus

Early one darkish, cloudy, and rainy morning (our 2nd day in the Kruger Park) we were traveling towards Pretoriuskop on the H2-2 Voortrekker Road and near Komapiti pan we encountered a coalition of 3 young male cheetahs. They must have had a kill earlier in the morning as was evident from their rounded bellies. They were lying in the middle of the road acting like traffic cops. No cars passed (or wanted to pass) because you don’t often see this sight, even in the Kruger. They seemed to enjoy all the oohs and aahs and the zealous attentions of the prying spectators while they paraded with aristocratic poise as the cameras clicked away. These guys sure know how to create a traffic jam.

After ±20 minutes they suddenly lost interest in us, stood up, and started to walk all along the grass and shrub on the verge of the road. That was when I took this photo. I can assure you that it is not easy to steer your car on a dirt road trying to keep in line with a moving cheetah while shooting photos with a 500mm hand held Sigma zoom lens. The car is shaking, the animal is constantly stirring, adrenalin is rushing through your veins, rain is pouring through the window, and my wife's head is continuously in the way because she suddenly had an urge to eat some potato chips. What? I think a zoo in a golf cart would have been a far easier proposition, but not nearly as exciting

Some interesting facts about Cheetahs
Animals have gender specific names, like 'bull' and 'cow' for elephants or 'rooster' and 'hen' for chickens, but the name 'cheetah' applies to both sexes.

Rarely will a male cheetah live alone. Generally 2-3 cheetah males, often brothers, will form a coalition. This small group lives and hunt together for life and usually claims a large area or range which may overlap several female territories. The average size of male territories is 173-438 square km. Young males seek out an area at a great distance from their parent; sometimes as far as 482km.

Females/Family Group
Young females usually occupy the same range as their mother although ALL females are solitary except when they have a litter. Average female home ranges extend to 833 square km. A female raises her cubs alone since adult male and female cheetahs mix only to mate. The average life span of wild female cheetahs is 6.9 years compared to 11.7 years for females in captivity.

Gestation lasts ±93 days. A litter may contain 2-8 cubs. At birth cubs are about 30cm long and weigh 250-300g. Their fur is grey with a longer mantle of hair along the back. This mane-like growth, which possibly helps camouflage the cub in grass, begins to disappear at 3 months but may still be seen even at 2 years of age. Only a few cubs reach adulthood (mortality is very high, up to 90%): lions and hyenas are their greatest threat. Source.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

magal, PhilC, Alex99, rufous03, blakitan, scottevers7, manyee, horia, Pentaxfriend, ramthakur, Janice, Aaltjie, SkyF, jmp, peter_stoeckl, jeanpaul, Fisher, marhowie, SunToucher, OdetteVN, RAP, John_F_Kennedy, PDP, dantor, Dyker, aido, Watershed, delic, coasties, thor68, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To aido: Hopefully one dayloot 1 01-21 14:56
To Evelynn: Metering modeloot 1 11-21 22:57
To Fisher: You should have told me before I posted ;o)loot 1 11-18 23:04
To PhilC: Un-natural PP?loot 1 11-18 13:33
To pvs: Make lots of picturesloot 1 11-18 13:10
To peter_stoeckl: Imitating Sebastien Loebloot 1 11-18 13:04
To wkshelton: I'm doing fine thanksloot 1 11-18 09:22
To marty: Critiques vs Commentsloot 1 11-17 20:15
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • magal Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 224 W: 0 N: 313] (1251)
  • [2006-11-13 15:03]

Hi Loot,
Excellent portrait of this beautiful specimen. Beautiful colors and very good detail. Very nice POV with the feline in perfect profile.

  • Great 
  • PhilC Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24 W: 25 N: 117] (551)
  • [2006-11-13 15:26]
  • [+]

A nice study Loot. I think the framing is good and the OOF background does the subject justice. Something seems slightly unatural about the eye though, have you done soem post processing?

Regards Phil.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2006-11-13 15:50]

Hi Loot.
Very nice portrait of my the most favorable animal. Cropping of your shot is perfect as well as the reproduction of the hair texture and colours. I like how you have selected DOF, excellently blurred, colourful and delicate BG. The lights, exposure and contrast are very well too. Superb done and TFS.

  • Great 
  • reina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 257 W: 1 N: 330] (2032)
  • [2006-11-13 16:40]

Hi Loot, good to see you made it to the kruger. Nice post of this fantastic animal. We saw them at the rehab centre, but its much better in their own habitat. You came amazingly close. Nice details and good filing of the picture.

Another image of my most favorite large cat. Well done! Nice color and detail. Nice eye color. Perhaps a bit more DOF needed and less sharpening.

Hi Loot,
Your cheetah is spot on. Your note is very good to. Got to go to Africa some day.

Hi Loot!

Long time since I've commented on your postings and I'm glad I came back to see this one of your cheetah. Dtails are very nice all with a cool side profile shot. :)

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2006-11-13 19:28]

Hi Loot,
What lucky you have been, great shot, sharp and detailed, at that day I was on the road from Skukuza to Pretoriuskop so may be we crossed each other. But I did not see the cheeta´s. So I have to go again I love the krugerpark.

Hi Loot,
Beautiful side-view potrait of this gorgeous cheetah. Great sharpness and nice details. Neat BG.
Excellent close up shot.

Ben Lakitan

Hi Loot,
A very nice frame filling portrait shot on this Cheetah. Superb detail and colors in the exposure. Perfect seperation from the nice OOF backround. Awesome shot my friend!

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2006-11-13 23:18]

Hello Loot

A very nice portrait of this cheetah.Excellent POV and DOF.The details are sharp and well focused.Nice vivid colours and well composed.TFS


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-11-14 3:07]

Wow, Loot.
Just totally awesome!
To get that kind of "close-up" shot on a cheetah in the wild.
An absolutely wonderful shot of my favorite big cat.
I love it.
TF. : )

Excellent profile of this fine-looking cheetah
Really good details in the fur and good OOf background.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-11-14 5:16]

Hi Loot

Ahh...another photo of my favorite mamal :) Abosutely adorable!
The POV is excellent here and also surprises this specific pose of the cheetah - with its mouth slightely opened and breathing a bit harder.
The eyes are also very well captures - i love its look! :)
Lovely natural colors and great light manageent only enhance the features of this magnificent animal.
Great work!

Bravo and TFS

Hi Loot,
First of all IMO you wife should not eat potato chips while you are handling a 500. That is the only critique I could find here..:-)

Hi Loot,

Superb shot
Exellent sharpness, composition, colours, details and POV
goos DOF, BG and notes

TFS Thijs

Superb capture of the fierce expression in the animal's eye, Loot.
Seems to be focused on something.
Thanks and take care.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-11-15 2:56]

Ah Loot! A REAK cheetah, and not one of our spoilt pampered ones that we have in our zoos.
It is an excellent shot, captured in very trying circumstances. You must have ben thrilled to have seen them in the middle of the road.
Well done my friend

Hi Loot,
This is a beautiful portrait!
Great quality, very nice colour, sharp and clear detail, excellent POV with nicely framed.
Very well done and thanks for sharing!

Uitstekend! Het is een zeer goed ogenblik u hebt gevangen. De details van cheetah is van hoge norm. Goed-gedaan. U hebt een uitstekend werk met deze opmerkelijke foto gedaan. Zeer aardig portret van een fantastisch dier! Ik ben jaloers. Sommige mensen hebben al geluk. Dit is echt een mooie grote kat, met scherpe details op het gezicht. U bent een terrific fotograaf, en ik hield ook van uw nota's. Dank voor het onderwijzen en het delen. Als ik uw vrouw was, zou ik meer dan chips uit zuivere opwinding gegeten hebben. Ik wil een andere kritiek of twee schrijven, alvorens ik in probleem, voor zich slechts het concentreren op uw portefeuille krijg. Maar ik kan enkel niet het helpen.

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-11-15 12:05]

Hi Loot,
great capture, the intense look on its face is fabulous. It seems to be ready to sprint away any moment. Great portrait with very good sharpness and good colors.

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2006-11-15 16:33]

Hi Loot

Wonderful portrait, he certainly looks like an Aristocrat (Aristocat?). Wonderful details, I can see every strand of his fur. Lovely natural colours and great POV. He stands out well from the OOF BG.



Hello Loot,
Nice to see you again in TN.
I´m wonder with this beautiful portrait of a majestic cat (I love them); the texture, details,and colours are wonderfuly fine.
Your trip to Kruger N.P. was succeful only if you take this only picture.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-11-17 12:29]

Hello Loot , This shot is a fantastic portret from this Cheetay ,good light and fine point of vieuw ,good background thanks , Greetings Teunie .

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-11-17 12:39]

Hi Loot,
Great sharpness for a hand held 500 mmm lenses! Wonderful texture, light, details, compostion and background. Great 3D sensation.
Best regards, José M.

Hello Loot,

It great to see some activity from you. Hope you are doing well. I have learned from you when you critique photos other than mine. I really like your direct and honest critique. Great work, Your photo are the same. This just love the portrait and the POV the colors and DOF are spot on. Great work and welcome back.

TFS Kyle

Hello Loot,
How can you get so close? This is amazing, what a great story! This zoom seems to do magic! Those details are so sharp that we feel we can almost touch him. What a great pose in a very good composition. I think that you are very lucky to have witnessed such a nice moment. Well done with very interesting notes. Thanks,

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2006-11-18 10:23]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,

Many thanks of your advices of our forthcoming trip to the krugerpark,which we have (me and my wife)appreciated a lot,I had read it was/is one of the hottest months,but this months is the most convenient for us,as about the car we chose a VW Touran with airco which I hope will work well in the heat),we are looking forward to our trip and to make lots of pictures,you captured this cheetah very well with good colors and sharpness,I like it a lot,


Hi Loot,

excitingly vital capture, taken from apparently very close distance at eye level. Excellent details with focus spot on - on the right spots - and with slight motion blur on some parts that increases the dynamic vitality of this capture.

Excellent, very elaborate and instructive notes - and, in your unmistakable and unique personal style, very amusing to read, too. Man, you seem to have nerves like crosscountry wires, the eyes of an eagle, Niki Lauda's driving skills, the sure hand of a prize winning sharp shooter, and the patience of Buddha in contemplation - I'd love to see that picture, but I can well imagine it from your excellent description: the scene with you steering a car on a muddy road, fighting against the rain and a potato chip munching loved one while singlehandedly taking teletube pictures of excellent quality of the fastest carnivore on earth.

Thank you my friend. Have a very good day.
With best regards,


Hi Loot
Excellente photo,les détails sont bon et l'éclairage parfait.Il semble porter son attention au loin avec son regard de chasseur
Merci pour cette belle présentation
au revoir et a bientôt et bon week end......JP

Hi Loot,

Beautiful portrait, excellent shot and well done on the composition.
try +5 on contrast slider only, what do you think.?


Hallo Loot
Wow! Awesome shot. Very nice detail and the out of focus background works great. POV and the composition are perfect.
Well done!

fantastic head Loot,
the quality is great of this wild shot, the capture is good and the details are realy super, very good job my friend.
gr. jaap

Nicely done Loot.
You have maximized your F/5.6 with good DOF throughout the head. Very well exposed with natural colors. Sharp detail..an excellent profile capture/composition..(I would flip left).
A great note explaining how you got the shot, with anecdote :)
Have a Great Day!

Hi Loot,
I wouldn't mind being stuck in this kind of traffic jam, even if it is during a vacation. I had an almost simular experience when I visited Yellowstone. A herd of Bisons crossed the road and did what ever they wanted to do on the middle of the road.
Funny to read that you wife has more interest in potato chips then a Cheetah walking by.
The result of the wait is beautiful, with great clarity and colors and excellent sharpness. The shallow DOF really helped to bring out the colors and details of the Cheetah.


Dit is 'n baie goeie foto - nie net omdat dit my rugbyspan is nie. The colors are beautiful and the details are great.

Well done.

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-11-20 13:38]

Excellent comeback my friend with superb capture.

I like it a lot: POV, composition, sharpness, DOF, focus, color, lighting, background, framing, notes and great PP.

I don't like it: nothing to argue.

An image with almost features of a hand portrayal.
My best wishes... Ricardo

This is another super, close shot of your beautiful animals. Saturation and sharpness look good to me. I noticed that you used pattern (evaluative) metering. My husband and I are just beginning to take animal shots. We were thinking that center weighted may be the way to go on most shots. Do you have any advice on metering?

Evelynn : )

Hi Loot,
this is a lovely portrait of the cheetah. The DOF is great, the whole cat within focus and the BG nicely blurred.
The exposure and sharpness are spot on. Beautiful colours, good POV and pose.
Beautiful work, my friend.
I wish I could vist the KNP once in my life but it will presumably stay as a wish it I don't have luck in the lottery;-)

  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-12-06 18:07]

Hi Loot, very nice shot. I like the composition here and you have captured the cheetah's intent very well. Good all round, my only nit is that there appears to be some (sharpening?) artifacts above the eye. Well done.

Hi Loot,

To me, this portrait stands out by its texture and its nicely saturated colours. Good detail, too. Well done. Very interesting note. Best wishes for 2007.


  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-01-09 8:40]

Hello Loot
very nice portrait you took here. You must have been very excited when you got this excellent oportunity. It is strange how animals sometimes run away from cars when it is so close and sometimes it looks like they can't care at all. I think the colors are very nice and the focus is very sharp.

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2007-01-21 13:23]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
It must be quite something to see these animals in their own environment, hopefully one day I'll have that chance. It's a great shot and given the circumstances in which you captured this image it's a fantastic effort, a perfect profile. Great detail and good light in the eye. Great camera work.

  • Great 
  • sily Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 239 W: 6 N: 395] (1934)
  • [2007-02-09 17:32]

Hi Loot!
Superb profile of this beautiful animal (my favourite). Excellent POV, lovely colors, nice sharp details and have a nice weekend!

Hi Loot,
That's a very nice shot of my favorite big cat!!! I really hope that during my next trip in ZA I could see one in his natural habitat. The details of the photograph are really good. Very well done Loot!
Thanks for sharing :-)

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-02 3:16]

Hello again,
I reached this beauty following the link in your latest image. What an amazing portrait! The sense of closeness is almost intimidating to the viewer. Superb exposure job holding all detail. Regards,

Hi Loot

Wow.... I love the close crop. Such a fantastic animal. I can't add anymore to what has already has been said.... Brilliant camera work my friend. Thank you! :-)

Hallo Loot
This just remains a beautifully created animal. The markings and patterns on the face are just amazing and you have captured this one with great clarity. The hypnotized stare is really something special and fabulous. Superb detail and colours captured especially the clarity of the whiskers, snout and its huge slaughter teeth. Once again excellent photography and the proof of a master at work. Thanks for sharing.

Hello Mr.Loot,
Excellent picture.It seems real...
Thanks for sharing,

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