Baby alligators like to sun themselves and they are determined to climb over one another to do it. Hense, the “gator pile” syndrome. Unfortunately, the pile can only hold so many and one usually shows up to spoil the fun for the rest of them, which results in the “falling gator pile” syndrome. The babies that we spotted at Brazos Bend State Park were keeping near the weeds but eventually came out to warm up on the small log. One of them would climb on the log and the others would then pile on.
Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod with Wimberley II head.
1/160 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, 500mm, no flash
1/80 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, 500mm, no flash
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
1/30 sec @ F4, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, 500mm, no flash
1/500 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm, no flash