Sunday slide 38

juvenile American alligator Alligator mississippiensis with just head showing among reeds
I think the reeds give a pretty good indication of scale, but just in case, the first thing I’ll point out is that you’re looking at the head of an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis,) and a small one at that – much less than a half-meter in length, probably closer to 35cm. Most of the gator is submerged, and you’re seeing just the top of its head and snout, and the reflection of the same.

It’s getting to the point where I don’t remember where I took every photo anymore; this is not so much a function of age (I don’t think,) but of numbers – there are just too many images in the folders, and no small amount of them are gator shots. Since I’d scanned this one a long time ago for other purposes, I had to go back and find the original to spark my memory, which worked nicely because it not only had a date, it had a selection of other images from the same session. So I can confidently say now that this was shot in 2002, on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge (immediately adjacent to Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center,) and my sister and her husband were standing nearby. I’d taken them up there specifically to see Florida wildlife, alligators chief among them, but my sister was unimpressed with the small size of what we found (including another twice as long and much closer,) despite them being completely wild. A day or so later, she opted to visit one of those ridiculous tourist traps which promise live alligator shows so she could see big ones, and of course all of the shameless pandering to yokels that this entails. So much for authentic experiences…

Regardless, I’ve always liked this image for the abstract nature of the ‘floating’ reeds and head, perhaps slightly confusing at first but easy enough to fathom once one looks closely enough. Having the viewer want to spend time on the image is always a plus.

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