In my last photo trip to Florida (winter 2014), I captured some of my favorite Florida residents, the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Resembling dinosaurs, you mostly see these large amphibians either sunning along the banks of water pools, or with just a head sticking out of the water. However, I was able to capture a lot of walking alligators on this trip. Here are a few of my favorite images from that trip:
When watching these behemoths “lumbering”, rather akwardly, towards the water, one gets the sense that these are slow, clumsy creatures. But I once photographed a large alligator (at this same location) with a soft-shelled turtle in his mouth. Since alligators cannot chew their food with their head in the water, this gator emerged from the water with the turtle in his mouth. One of the gator’s tactics to break the shell was to throw the turtle up in the air and place a crushing bite on the turtle as it landed in his mouth. After doing this several times, the gator missed and the turtle quickly “ran” back into the water (I never knew turtles could move so quickly, either!). Reacting to his “miss”, the gator quickly turned and “ran” into the water to re-catch the turtle. This certainly gave me a first-hand sense of their quickness! (Unfortunately, the images I captured of this behavior were back in the slide days, so I have no digital files to share. But one of my winter projects is to round up my best slide images and have them scanned into digital images so I can share and print them).
Photographic Equipment Used:
- Canon 7D body
- Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 400mm
- Handheld, with IS “On”
- ISO 250 and ISO 400
- Aperture f/8 (all images)
- Shutter 1/50 sec. to 1/320 sec.