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The Battle Of The Horns

The Battle Of The Horns
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: 2006-10-24
Categories: Mammals, Bushveld
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 100, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2006
Theme(s): Mammals of Southern Africa, Wildlife of Africa, Mammals of Africa, !Horns; big, long or otherwise, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1, 80-89 Points I, Kruger National Park 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-12-28 11:23
Viewed: 9257
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Greater kudu - Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Press F11 for full view.
Photographed on the H4-1 about half way between Skukuza and Nkuhlu picnic site. These kudus gathered on a little dry island in the river bed of the Sabie River. It looked like the 3 magnificent bulls were comparing "hardware" and after a while they suddenly trotted off, each one in its own direction. I would judge the one in the front to be the winner as his horns sports almost 2 complete twists.


They are considered to be the most handsome of the tragelaphine antelopes, which includes the bongo, eland, nyala, bushbuck and sitatunga. Their beautifully shaped horns have long been prized in Africa for use as musical instruments, honey containers, and symbolic ritual objects. Some cultures believe the horns are the dwelling places of powerful spirits, and others say they are a symbol of male potency.

They have five to six stripes and some spots on the body, and a chevron of white hair on the forehead between the eyes, with a long mane below their neck. Their ears are large and coloured red inside. They have spectacular long, spiral horns that can grow as long as 1.83m, making 2½ graceful twists. The horns are seldom used in defense against predators; nor are they an impediment in wooded habitats as-the kudu tilts the chin up and lays the horns against the back, moving easily through dense bush.

Male kudus sometimes form small bachelor groups, but more commonly they are solitary and widely dispersed. Dominance between males is usually quickly and peacefully determined by a lateral display in which one male stands sideways in front of the other and makes himself look as large as possible.

Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Habitat includes mixed scrub woodland, acacia, and mopane bush on lowlands, hills, and mountains. They disperse in woodland in the rainy season and in the dry season they would cluster along rivers and the bases of hills where the nutritious, evergreen growth is found.

Herbivorous, browsers; Kudus eats many kinds of leaves, herbs, fallen fruits, vines, tubers, succulents, and flowers, sometimes varied with new grass.

Only during mating season males join females, who form small groups of 6-10 with their offspring. Mating annually, calving February and March when grass is high. Gestation 9 months; females may conceive at age 2. Males mature at age 5.

Predators & Threads
Many predators, such as lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, eagles, and pythons hunt kudus and their young. Humans affect their numbers by hunting them for their meat, hides, and horns, or using their habitats for charcoal burning and farming. Kudus are highly susceptible to the rinderpest virus, and ostensibly the disease has reduced kudu populations in East Africa. Source.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

ellis49, horia, marhowie, peter_stoeckl, janhendrik, vanderschelden, wkshelton, Hil, blakitan, manyee, Janice, Luc, RAP, Dyker, saeedabbasi, nainnain, jeanpaul, Alex99, dew77, saguzar, XOTAELE, livios, snowfalken, oscarromulus, valy67, SkyF, soccer, Aaltjie, Shoot_Score, Leace, 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 Evelynn: Love those hornsloot 1 01-10 17:36
To snowfalken: Diverse wildlife in Africaloot 1 01-10 17:28
To soccer: 3 Kudus out in the openloot 1 01-10 17:10
To dew77: Thanksloot 2 01-01 13:41
To nainnain: Thanksloot 1 01-01 08:40
To marhowie: Magnificent hornsloot 4 12-29 11:00
To wkshelton: Strange BGloot 2 12-29 07:41
To fragman: Thanksloot 1 12-28 22:59
To vanderschelden: Thanksloot 1 12-28 22:57
To janhendrik: Baie dankieloot 1 12-28 22:55
To peter_stoeckl: Harmonyloot 1 12-28 22:44
To wuta: Thanksloot 1 12-28 22:30
To horia: Thanksloot 1 12-28 22:29
To carper: Thanksloot 1 12-28 22:25
To kodiak1: Thanksloot 1 12-28 22:23
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
magnificent animals the beautiful horns and I agree the one in the front is maybe the winner.
The picture is very sharp with good POV and composition.
The shallow Dof makes them standout well.
Great work, my friend.

Loot, these guys are fantastic, and it is wonderful that you could find three bulls standing together like this. Great job. I am itching to return to Kruger.....

a very nice shot Loot,
a quality job you have captured this very well, the pov is great the light is good and it's nice to look at, very good job. For you and your family have a good years end an a very good start from 2007.
gr. jaap

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-12-28 13:29]
  • [+]

Hi Loot

What a nice change in the "temperature" from the gallery. This photo really spreads the word "heat" :))
Your subjects here look great nd i really like the DOF used.
Also the exposure is very well managed, the natural colors are charming and the details very nice and sharp - as always.
Just a question: the BG looks a bit hazy...a bit qierd; is that also because of the heat?

Anyway, great job, so Bravo, TFS and Happy Holidays!

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-12-28 13:38]
  • [+]

Hello Loot, Fantastic photo ,beauty animals with horns , good compositie details sharpnes light everithing is good tfs ,Good Weekend Teunie .

Hello Loot,
Very nice in the wild capture. Excellent detail, exposure, natural colors, and DOF that isolates all three well. I like the comp and the bit of red you've managed to squeeze in top left frame ;)
Beautiful animals, and the horns are spectacular of course..
Happy New Year mf.

Hello Loot,
beautiful transparent backlight in this image, and some remarkable motion in the background that looks good like done by elegant brush strokes. The group of kudus are well isolated, and shown in perfect pose and harmony.
Thank you, and all the best to you!
Kind regards,

Hi Loot,
Good shot. Great sharpness...
Real wildlife shot.

Hallo Loot,

'n Baie mooi foto hierdie, jy was gelukkig om die drie jong bulle wat omtrent ewe oud is so saam aan te tref. Ek stem saam dat die voorste een lyk of hy net-net die oudste is. Interessant om te sien hoe die drie al die rigtings dek soos wat hulle vir gevaar uitkyk. Tegnies is die foto bo verdenking, ek gaan nie alles aframmel nie. Ek wil egter een aspek uitlig, en dit is jou mooi diepte van veld. Ongelooflik dat jy dit met 'n stop van 5.6 kon regkry. Ek se nog altyd dat hierdie website nie 0, 1 of 2 punte moes gee nie, maar 1, 2, 3, 4 en 5. Op daardie skaal sou hierdie foto 'n vier wees. Baie mooi werk.


amazing triplet ! why the green background is atrange ? TFS Ori

Hi Loot,
Those horns are very interesting, long and twisted.
Superbly capturing these group of kudus.
Light was very nicely managed.
Superb shot.

Ben Lakitan

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-12-29 1:34]

Those horns are truly magnificent, Loot.
You managed to capture them in a wonderfully artistic composition.
You also managed to capture them in three different angles: full front, full back, and sideways.
What gorgeous animals!
You did it again, my friend.
TFS. : )

hi loot,
nice capture,
well composed, nice pov,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-12-29 5:27]

Yes, they are handsome young fellows Loot! You shot them well, and I can see that the one in front is ahead of the others. It's a good composition, as if you lined them up there yourself. They might have been talking about you I think!
Well done my friend,

Hi Loot,
They are really look superb. You have managed the bright light extremely well. Detail is superb, and the soft backround created by the perfect DOF keeps you focused on the Kudus. To get three males with such great looking horns standing together was a real special moment. Simply amazing! Great shot!
Happy New Year to you and your family my friend,

Hello Loot,

Excllent work, great details on the triplets, Th e Bg presents it self as if their was some digitaly bluring their, but works, excllent details very crisp nicly composed and capture excellent JOb

TFS Kyle

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-12-29 10:56]

Hi Loot,
Magnificent scene! Very natural colours, very nice light, excellent natural background, wonderful pose and group of animals. Excellent notes,... A complete and beautiful document!
TFS, José M.

  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2006-12-29 11:56]

HI Loot!

I am very happy that you found your alterego with these antilopes: "They have spectacular long, spiral horn(s) that can grow as long as 1.83m, making 2½ graceful twists." Notes are more easy to write when we are apeaking about ourself :--)

I am very impressed by the attitude of the "Trois Grâces".

What could I wish you for 2007 that you not already have?
That the sky falls on your head and in your heart, my friend! Maybe you already have that too...


  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-12-29 13:36]

Una bella captura estimado Loot, por el punto de vista captado, por el adecuado foco sobre los 3 especímenes, con bellos colores y apropiado encuadre, con las patas del primero bien abajo y los cuernos del segundo sobre el margen izquierdo.
Tal vez el fondo de la escena no sea el ideal por la distracción que produce, pero la belleza de los animales y de su composición, ameritan su publicación.
Mis mejores deseos para el 2007... Ricardo

A beautiful capture esteemed Loot, for the captured point of view, for the appropriate focus on the 3 specimens, with beautiful colors and appropriate framing, with the paws of the first very below and the horns of the second on the left margin.
Perhaps the bottom of the scene is not the ideal for the distraction that produces, but the beauty of the animals and of its composition, deserve the publication.
My best wishes for the 2007... Ricardo

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2006-12-29 14:43]
  • [2]

Hello Loot
I looked through your portfolio and I want to congratulate you for advertising our South African fauna & flora in such a lovely manner. Your notes read like stories filled with information and interesting observations. These three kudus look like they paraded just for you. I have never seen this before. Very nice photo.

Hi Loot ,
very nice shot.
great details.
nice colors and good sharpness.
thanks for sharing this nice shot.

je crois que je visite cette galerie pour la première fois.
et ne suis pas déçue car je vois cette photo magnifique, bonne capture, excellente couleurs
bon travail, bravo, amitiès et merci du partage

.....excuses points demain.....

Bonjour Lott
Très joli cette jolie composition , les détails et les contrastes sont réussis très jolis couleurs de ces cerfs ,avec la forme de leurs cornes qui est très spéciale avec leurs spirales.

Bravo et merci ...JP

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2006-12-30 9:35]

Hi Loot.
Happy New Year and best wishes for holiday time. Thank you for your perfect pictures, notes and really great comments.

I like this shot as your previous pictures so much. Its great lights, crisp sharpness and perfect details, nice captured moments and amazing scenery. Its quality as always is superb. My compliments and TFS.

Hello Loot,
I´ve returned after a week and more days without visiting your gallery and I´ve found, as usually in you, a marvelous picture.
I´m wodered by the strang background effect and by the beauty of these antelopes. It´s a good composition.

I wish to you and yours a good 2007.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2006-12-30 22:28]

Hello Loot

A nicely composed trio,well balanced in the shot.They certainly have all angles covered.Good POV ,and DOF.The colours look natural and well saturated .A very exotic shot,especially to a guy who lives in Canada in wintertime.A very Happy 2007 to you and your family.TFS


  • Great 
  • mrcrow Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 422 W: 98 N: 194] (3008)
  • [2006-12-31 10:42]

a tidy grouping and all with something on their minds..you really managed to bash the background well and gives more apparent sharpness to the main subjects..
high sun well handled
have a good new year old chap

belle photo

Hello Loot,
I really like this POV and great composition. Those animals are wonderful. They seem so proud! This is a great capture with excellent details on the tree of them. Thanks for sharing this nice picture and those great notes. Have a Happy New Year filled with health, love, joy and many other superb pictures :-)

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-01-01 13:36]
  • [+]

Hello Loot,
Magnificent capture.Everyone is looking different direction.POV,lighting,details and composition are wonderful.Excellent work!Happy new Year to you and your family.

I think these are my favorite African animal. One has to love those horns. It is a great composition with the three of them...each of them on look out to a different direction. It is a wonderful capture and a nice sharp image with good color. Thank you for all you critiques and support this past year. I wish you lots of great photo opportunities in 2007.

Evelynn : )

Presentación estupenda la de estos preciosos animales.
Me encanta el fondo que has creado.
Una maravilla de la naturaleza y otra tu imagen.
Saludos Loot.

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2007-01-03 12:47]

Hi Loot,
I appreciate to admire this kind of magnificent animals. Great and impressive horns.
The "+++" : subject, POV, sharpness, light, colors, environment, composition, useful note...
The "-" : strange effect in BG...
Congratulations my friend and TFS.

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2007-01-03 15:13]

Hi Loot,

Well done on the capture and composition. Nicely done.


  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2007-01-03 22:44]

Loot, another winner.

Great title, great image.

I like colors, saturation, contrast and sharpness.

Fine pov and poses, lovely contrast between the main subjects and the bg.


Hello Loot,

Here is another sample from the diverse wildlife in Africa! It's a well seen and captured moment from the daily life of these beautiful animals.
The composition you achieved here is very dynamic due to the upside down triangle formed by the kudus' heads. Placing the ground level (in the foreground) close to the lower third of the frame also helps the composition a lot. The large aperture created a blurry background which isolated the subjects from the rest of the scene, while keeping them under sharp focus. Exposing the scene perfectly, you managed to render superb details in a well controlled light. Note how the shadows follow the shapes of the Kudus' bodies without hiding any details. This is a great achievement since you captured this shot while the sun stood high and without using a (fill) flash! Excellent work here my friend!
There is one more thing I would like to point out. While most of us tend to look at the picture and analyse it thoroughly from a photographic POV, we sometimes fail to notice certain aspects about the scene depicted in the photo (TN is also about "learning about wildlife"). I am not a wildlife expert but I found a very interesting behaviour of the Kudus in your picture. Note how the animals positioned themselves with their eyes and horns facing outwards from the group they formed. I think they did it instinctively (even if they trotted off after a while), so they cover 360 degrees of the view field in order to defend against predators. As far as I know, heavily hooved animals (horses) that don't possess horns, position themselves facing inward the group when they sense the peril, so that the hooves are facing outwards, ready for defence. I hope I'm not wrong and just publicly made a fool of myself.
Thank you for this lesson (completed by your notes) and for showing us a tiny bit of the magnificent wildlife in your area.

With Kind Regards,

My dear friend,
Its WONDERFUL to count you as a friend; because, you are.
Great notes.
This image & other ones you have registered take me back to mysterious Africa. You are surrounded by BEAUTY
& the survival of the fittest. Best regards, Mario.

  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2007-01-04 15:28]

Hello Loot !
These antelopes are so beautiful, with their big twisted horns ! I also like their pose, each one looking in another direction. Excellent details, beautiful light and colors, wonderful composition. Very well done !

PS : All your Africa photos make me dream, wish I could visit your country some day - please keep on posting your wonderful pictures ! :-)

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-01-07 10:29]

Hi Loot,
looks like they have all sides covered, they seem to be very alert and aware of their enviroment. You captured that very well, a well choosen POV shows of this trio very well. Colors, sharpness and composition are great.
It's wonderful to see those eanimal in an natural enviroment.


Well composed pic that has an OOF BG, no foliage to distract from the subject and the sharpness is great too. Not always easy to get 3 kudus out in the open! TFS,

I wish you Health...
So you may enjoy each day in comfort.

I wish you the Love of friends and family...
And Peace within your heart.

I wish you the Beauty of nature...
That you may enjoy the work of God.

I wish you Wisdom to choose priorities...
For those things that really matter in life.

I wish you Generousity so you may share...
All good things that come to you.

I wish you Happiness and Joy...
And Blessings for the New Year.

I wish you the best of everything...
That you so well deserve.


Hallo Loot
Three lucks in one shot. I mean three bucks in one shot. Really impressive. I wonder if it is the first posting of triplets on the site? You caught this pose being just at the right time at the right place. These kudu males surely have majestic horns. A lovely shot of these beautiful antelope, each facing another direction. The details on the kudu are wonderful, the setting is beautiful. As always your notes read like stories filled with information and interesting observations. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day.

Hello Mr.Loot,
Excellent picture.Nice colour and light...
Thanks for sharing,
Sorry,I don't have any Smile left,

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