Kissed by a Gator
The American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) is my favorite wildlife subject. Many of my friends call me Gator Bait because I do things they think is crazy and will one day actually turn me into gator bait. Like in the below photograph when I crawl close to an alligator for a photograph (resulting photograph is the one above). A gator will typically hiss or outright take off into the water if it feels you are too close. When they do hiss at me (every gator is different in how close it will allow you to approach) I back off and respect their uneasiness.
A Gentle Reminder
I got to my favorite alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) photography park (Brazos Bend State Park, Texas) over an hour after sunrise because I accidentally slept in. It is the middle of mating season and I can hear them down in the swamp bellowing as I get my gear together. Unfortunately by the time I made my way to 40 Acre Lake they had finished establishing their territory for the day and there was only the occasional bellow. This time of the year the park is full of Yellow-Crown Night Herons (Nyctanassa Violacea) hunting crawfish and it didn’t take me long to come across one on the hunt.
I am a wildlife photographer who likes to get close to my subjects since that is where the details are. The downside to getting close is dealing with a narrow Depth of Field (DoF), like the photograph above, when I can’t stop-down because the light is low and it will raise my ISO beyond what I’m comfortable with. There are also times when close with good light that I can stop-down to capture all that amazing detail like the image below.