Portrait of Alligator mississipiensis

© Robert G. Stalnaker

Portrait of Alligator mississipiensis

Robert G. Stalnaker April 09, 2008

Alligator attacks have a higher death rate for the victims than shark attacks, 4.3% vs. 1.5%.

In 2006, three Florida women were killed in separate attacks all in the same week.

Not all attacks occur in the water. One of the three women was a jogger near a canal. A man was killed in 2001 at an internationally favorite for photographers, the J.R. Darling NWR on Sanibel Island, FL. He was killed on land between two wetland areas.

Alligators are agile on land and can run swiftly for short distances. That is why it was not smart to shoot this photo, and why we hear about people getting attacked on land.

I was happy to see the detail of the markings and patterns on this alligator. From a distance, you don’t realize they have these markings. I entered this into the “Details and Macro” category for the details.

Jennifer Burt April 10, 2008

Beautiful capture Robert, you are a very brave man.
I can relate to photography getting in the way of common sense as I have found myself taking pictures of things I would normally not get close enough to to look at. I feel like once I have the camera to my eye it's almost like a sense of security. As if the camera is my armor to shield me from any unwanted attacks. It's a strange feeling but the urge to get that perfect shot is just to overpowering at times. #5770388

Robert G. Stalnaker April 10, 2008

You phrased that well, Jennifer--I too feel that when I have that camera around my neck, it is like I have the right and the ability to do anything to get that photo. If I did not have the camera, I can assure you that I would have made a wide turn around that alligator. I don't think I was "brave" as much as I felt that camera gave me (psychologically) a degree of impunity from harm, which can be a dangerously false feeling. #5770646

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It was not very smart shooting this photo. Sometimes, one's passion for photography gets in the way of common sense. I was about 12-15 feet away. I think next time I will move away like the rangers instruct. I was pleased, however, with the detail and texture in the image helped by favorable lighting.

f/9, 1/250, ISO 200, AWB, spot, lens Canon EF 400mm L, handheld, Orlando Easterly Wetlands, FL, 3/12/08.

Exif: F Number: 9, Exposure Bias Value: 0.00, ExposureTime: 1/250 seconds, Flash: did not fire, compulsory flash mode, ISO: 200, White balance: Manual white balance, FocalLength: 400.00 mm, Model: Canon EOS 40D

Uploaded on April 09, 2008

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