Stephen Kirkpatrick

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Song In My Head

Monday September 12, 2011
Moonrise, 7:06 p.m. Sunset, 7:11 p.m.
Clear sky, calm water.
Perfect conditions. Now for the hard part.

I spent yesterday afternoon scouting at the Ross Barnett Reservoir. The water is currently low, so a lot of exposed roots and snags were certainly possibilities for an abstract shot. They come in every shape imaginable; finding the right one to shoot silhouetted in the moonlight was my task.

As I was walking in the sandy shallows, I spotted an alligator about 50 yards off the shore. I had a good idea about where the moon would rise so I set up and waited. For 30 minutes the gator never moved, floating in the water watching me. At 7:11, I finally saw the full Moon. I only had to move about 10 feet to line up the gator and the moon overhead. I dropped the tripod all the way down so the lens was only inches above the water. I looked through the gator. He was gone.  

In a state of panic unique to wildlife photographers, I searched for him, realizing I had the perfect set up but no Plan B. Just as I was about to pull up stakes, he appeared. My gator was about 40 yards further to the left, but  he was slowly swimming back toward the moonlight. As I laid in the water and sand, the moment came at 7:20 p.m. "Click."

I won't know for a while if I got a good shot On A Roll or not, at 1/13 of a second it's certainly not a sure thing.

Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and Moonrise

But I did leave the Rez with a new song in my head. With my apologies to the Zack Brown Band...

                                                   "I got my boots in the water
                                                    Face in the sand
                                                    Gator and rising
                                                    My heart's in command
                                                    Life is good today, life is goood today..."

30)  Alligator and Moonrise - (V)
Madison County
September 12, 2011, 7:20 pm
Clear,  78 degrees
500mm, 1/13@f4, Tripod
(photo shot with Nikon P7000)

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