Photo Break: American alligator

Herpetoblogging some more, but on a slightly larger scale.  Full story behind this photo (and you know it must be a doozy) below the break.

American alligator

American alligator

This was taken back at the Ding, and believe it or not, I took this one with a pretty run-of-the-mill, point-and-shoot camera; certainly no giant lens or autofocus or gyro-stabilizer or nothin’…not even a DSLR.  I’ll let you in on the secret to the terrific perspective on this one:  it comes from accidentally finding yourself insanely close to your subject.

There is a short land bridge connecting two parallel trails at the Ding; the two trails are separated by water, and the land bridge slopes downward on either side to a narrow, sandy waterline.  I was making my way along this waterline on foot, but my camera was trained 90 degrees to my right, straight offshore toward a small mangrove island where some heron and ibises were hiding; I was hoping to catch one of them at a moment where they peeked out.  I don’t know how well I’ve described how I was walking; suffice it to say I was not looking where I was going.

At one point, I heard someone up the rise trying to get my attention.  I stopped, lowered my camera, and looked back over my shoulder up the slope of the land bridge, and saw a nice, grandfatherly gentleman gesturing rather urgently toward a point about eight or ten feet in front of me.  I followed his finger-pointing, and saw this character sunning lazily not three paces away.  Yikes-a-Roni.

Whew.  If that nice gentleman hadn’t been so kind as to bring this man-eater to my attention, I’d likely have stepped right on him, and he would likely have returned the favor multifold.

Needless to say, I wasted no time in backing away slowly from this bad boy.  That is, after I’d circled around him briefly to grab a few good shots.  I mean, c’mon, I’m not stupid!  Actually, I probably had much more to worry about from the Park Rangers who, miraculously, were not on the scene at the time.  If one of them had caught me, I’d’ve earned myself the tongue-lashing of a lifetime, and I’d likely become persona non grata at the Ding.  Hopefully they’re not reading this right now…

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