Humans aren’t the only animals who enjoy sunbathing. In the case of alligators, it is a matter of survival. As the temperature drops in the Florida winter, alligators spend a part of the day warming up their blood in the sun. For photographers, it is a great season. When the gators are cold and first emerge from the water, they are a bit sluggish and easier to approach.
This big guy was warming himself in the sun when he was spotted by a photographer in the area. While I was waiting until the other cameraman got his photos, I photographed him, photographing the gator.
If you have ever watched an experienced photographer work, they seem to become one with the camera. The rest of the world is excluded from their thoughts, sometimes to the point of doing dangerous things. It really is not a case of reckless behavior; as a photographer works at getting a great image, the camera seems to insulate him from any danger. It is hard to explain. Most pros will tell you that they will take more risks and do things they would normally avoid, when they are in the pursuit of an image.
That certainly was the case today. I talked to the photographer, after he got the images he wanted. I asked him if he realized just how close he was to the gator. He said he really was not paying that much attention to the distance. I offered to email the photo above to him. I also told him that my camera was ready if the gator attacked him. We both chuckled about that.
An alligator can lunge across the ground very quickly; enough to catch an careless photographer. However, gators are much more likely to dive into the water, to avoid a confrontation.
Fortunately, both of us got nice images of this gator and the reptile was able to continue enjoying his afternoon in the sun. All’s well that ends well.
Interrupt my nap and I’ll show you how fast I can lunge. Well, maybe not lunge, but moan and growl pretty loud.