…morning light is magic…

Baby Alligators

Didn’t have high expectations from a photography perspective last weekend with cloudy weather but sometimes mother nature comes through with a few surprises.  Headed to Brazos Bend State Park and eagle eye Doug ended up spotting a baby gator swimming near the 40 acre lake trail.  Jackpot!  We ended up spending a couple of hours on Sat and again on Sunday sitting on the bank with one eye on the babies and the other on momma.  We ended up seeing about 16 small gators, which were around 8 to 12 inches long and +/- 9 months old as they typically hatch in August.  We were hoping for a “baby on momma’s head” shot but no luck.  Got some of those shots a few years ago and it would be fun to see it again.

The conditions posed a few challenges.  As a general rule, I don’t typically shoot over ISO 500 due to the 7D noise.  Didn’t have much choice on Saturday as I forgot to bring my off-camera flash cord, so no flash for me.  Therefore, got to play with ISO 1600 and ISO 800, which turned out not to be the disaster that I was anticipating.  The noise cleaned up nicely with Noise Ninja.  I’m really glad that I couldn’t use flash on Sat as I didn’t like my flash shots as much on Sunday.

The little buggers were very cute and fun to watch and photograph.  Luckily there was a small log in the water near them and they would climb up on it to sun themselves.  I was very happy with the IS performance of my 500mm lens as the second shot was at only 1/30 sec.  I’ll post some of the group “pile-on” photos later.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod with Wimberley II head

1/400 sec @ F5, ISO 800, evaluative metering, 500mm, no flash

Brazos Bend_06805182013-2

1/30 sec @ F4, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, 500mm, no flash

Brazos Bend_01105182013-2

1/500 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm, no flash

Brazos Bend_44305182013-2

15 responses

  1. Beth Goetzman

    Nice shots Tim…and they’re not even birds!

    May 20, 2013 at 5:39 am

    • Thanks Beth. I have the capability to photograph other critters too. Now if the baby gators would have had wings…I would have been right at home.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm

  2. Doug Haass

    It was fun Tim. Hopefully we can catch them again soon, before they get too big! I would still like to get a baby gator on momma’s head. Files cleaned up nicely.

    May 20, 2013 at 5:56 am

    • I’ll be going back, no doubt. I didn’t get chiggers like you but 6 fire ant bites on my left leg.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm

  3. Doug Haass

    Forgot to say that I like the shot with momma in the background.

    May 20, 2013 at 5:58 am

    • Thanks. I’ve got another version with the littles ones on the log and momma in the foreground that I took at F32 that I’ll post later.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm

  4. Roselyn

    I love the middle shot of the small baby!

    May 20, 2013 at 6:38 am

    • Thanks Roselyn. I’m going to post more of the little ones.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

  5. Nice shots and very impressive one for 1/30 second.

    May 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    • Thanks Lyle. I was very happy with how the lens performed at 1/30. I wouldn’t have got that shot with my 100-400 lens.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  6. Real nice set Tim. Favorite would be the mama in the background. I guess you and Doug are Forcing me to check it out this Friday. I hope they are still there. Beginning of the trail?

    May 20, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    • Thanks David. It’s worth a trip out there. Sent you an e-mail with the exact location.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  7. All three are wonderful images, Tim. 1/30th and baby sat still….awesome.

    May 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    • Thanks Jim. I’ll post some better ones soon.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm

  8. Similar to my cousin Brian Boyd’s photos.

    May 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm

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