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Monday, 22 November 2010


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this first image looks like the next one will be a flying croc... but I guess it was a bit too heavy to become airborne.

In picture 3 of the tug-of-war series, looks like the crocodile has let itself be dragged out of the river, and is pretty much underneath the adult elephant. Time for some stomping action! (I have to admit I strongly favor the elephant in this particular encounter.)

I suppose this must go on fairly frequently (if not in the presence of a photographer all that often). The Just So story could well be based on seeing this happen, or hearing about it.

You can also imagine the croc having a "Holy crap, what have I gotten myself into?" moment....

It's funny, I also had a rather strong feeling of siding with the elephant. Don't know why, exactly, except that maybe it's due to our usual anthropomorphic preconceptions of these animals. Or the clear sense of attacker and victim and rooting for the self-defender.

The thing that really gets me about photos like this (well, a whole lot of photos, actually) is that when you see the first photo by itself, it doesn't tell the whole story or give you all the information you need. There's a strong sense of wanting to know what happened, what the result was.

Then again, I also get very frustrated even by landscape photographs that don't tell me what I'm looking at. Captions are necessary for most pictures in my view. You need only look at the National Geo presentation at the Big Picture to have that point driven home.


Shame it wasn't shot with the Muybridgizer app developed for the show at the Tate Britain!


Is the *number* of photos an American thing? 47 pictures... I see lots of tweets with '100 amazing Lightroom tips', '50 amazing sunset photos...' etc etc. 47 though, that is classy

Yes, the "trail names" are a long distance hiker tradition.


Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories were a staple of my childhood, but it wasn't until years later that I figured out that "How the elephant got his trunk" AKA "The Elephant's Child" was a condemnation of Queen Victoria and colonialism, even though it's obvious when you read the poem at the end.


It's remarkably current today unfortunately.

Kipling, Orwell, and Twain all seem to share the distinction of being identified with exactly what they were against as well as being kick ass writers.

Oh well, just another day in the woods... YIKES!

erm...I think the $25k bet part of the story is apocryphal.

Oh, now you've don it, Mike. I have got to hike the AT. But what to do for a nickname?

It's true, Stanford's actual motivation is not known. The bet story has wide currency, however.


Yes, the trail names are a well known tradition on the AT.
I suggest you read Bill Bryson's book "A walk in the woods". Very funny, strongly recommended!
Are there any interesting photo books about the AT?
Thanks for the link to Ben Benvie's blog, I think he deserves a lot of applause for carrying this heavy camera gear all the way from Georgia to Maine!

I made a 2 days hike in Pyrénée Mountains back in summer, at the end we had made 2000m of cumulative climb about 20hrs of walk and I did not regret to have taken my Gitzo tripod + Pentax 20D at least just for this image:


Having wonderful cameras is a treat only when we use them ^_^

It was my first time in a mountain, my first time on a real hike, my back hurt for a week, but if it was to be done again, I would leave the tent behind, not the camera...

I love it when the baby elephant does an elbow drop on the crocodile, all WWF style.

(And BTW, am I only the only one who wondered if the croc came out of it OK?)

Just me but I don't want to see this kind of photo. There's enough cruelty in the world as it is without looking for it. I'll take the incredible wildlife photos of Nick Brandt over this any day. Nick said he won't photograph kills. He said he would rather show animals for what they could be and not what they sometimes can be. (crude paraphrase)

Thanks for mentioning the blog "Tell my Mom not to worry." I have never been anywhere near the trail, but I have been fascinated by it since my teens. Back then I read a great little book on the trail: "Mountain Adventure" by Ron Fisher. It was published by the National Geographic Society and it featured the photography of Sam Abell. I found the subject matter engrossing and the photography was, well, noteworthy! For the first time I really noticed the photography. From that point on a looked for Mr. Abell's work. He was my first photographer hero, and remains one to this day. Thanks for digging up those memories. The blog looks great! I'll have to follow it.

Those wildlife shots are amazing but I think I can top them. Walking down the canal one day in my home town in northern England, I came across a shark stranded on ice. I've seen Jaws ten times so I'm somehwhat of an expert on these matters, I knew there and then it was a dreaded Carcharodon carcharias aka A Great White

Like the trail pictures but sometimes really does not like any of the national geog. one mentioned. Not those pictures not good. They are excellent. But somehow it is ... how to say it ... not telling a story, too good, ... somehow not as good as the trail pictures.

May be the elephant picture turn me off of any such exploitation of the nature. If a man cut another woman's nose off, should it make it as a picture!

I really do not like the elephant pictures as I guess the elephant mother would not survive due to lost part of its trunk and the wound results. Poor baby elephant would not survive as well.

RE:"THE OPERATIC EPISODE" mentioned in Stanford Magazine
"The Photographer is a chamber opera by composer Philip Glass that is based on the homicide trial of photographer Eadweard Muybridge."

Saw it at the Met, and it's great.

"May be the elephant picture turn me off of any such exploitation of the nature. If a man cut another woman's nose off, should it make it as a picture!

I really do not like the elephant pictures as I guess the elephant mother would not survive due to lost part of its trunk and the wound results. Poor baby elephant would not survive as well."

I very much doubt that the elephant would not survive. Animals are far tougher than a lot of people realize. The fight and get injured constantly and carry on.

Also, I'm a little surprised at the attitude of not even wanting to see these (with other posters as well). A constant with animals is that they hurt each other. It's not a "bad" thing. Much as I love Brandt's photos, I disagree with him. Talking about what animals "could be" is entirely pointless. They aren't doing anything they aren't meant to, and thinking otherwise involves a LOT of anthropomorphizing of morality onto animals.

One of the interesting things on the recent National Geographic "Great Migrations" TV series was that it was relatively gory compared to most series. Not exploitative, but the kind of things you see if you spend time with the animals. Seals and walruses gets chunks taken out of them by sharks. Raptors pull baby birds apart. It happens constantly.

Well I was going to show the shot where I put an oxygen tank in the sharks mouth before blowing it to smithereens, but I'm not sure I should now.

Benvie's trail photos are great, many thanks for that link. The NG Photo Contest pictures on the other hand; there are some nice images there, to be sure, but the captions are some of the most prosaic I've ever read. In almost every case, less said would have been better.

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