Well…It Started Out Quietly Enough…

Yesterday evening there was one large alligator feeding in a side cove section of the marsh and basically taking the entire area as his own territory, acting like he owned the place. And he did own the place until another, slightly larger alligator came in to impose his own agenda.

At first they were in a stare down and complete stand off and I was not at all sure where this was headed. I had the camera set for a slow shutter speed and small lens opening to get both those large heads in focus when suddenly the new arrival burst up out of the water! The movement was so fast it blurred my initial photos and the first gator jumped clear out of my frame!

The attacker lunged at the previous occupant of the fishing hole and sent him under water in full panic and self defense mode. This did not deter the aggressor who proceeded to crash through and across the water in full pursuit. Luckily I thought quickly enough to change camera settings so that I would be able to catch the action that was happening just a short distance from my location at the edge of the marsh.

It was quite a thrilling sight and rather humbling experience to have the privilege to watch this wild aspect of nature unfold in front of my eyes.

Alligator Fight in the Marsh

Alligator Fight in the Marsh

Alligator Fight in the Marsh

Alligator Fight in the Marsh

Alligator Fight in the Marsh

Alligator Fight in the Marsh

Alligator Fight in the Marsh

Alligator Fight in the Marsh


43 thoughts on “Well…It Started Out Quietly Enough…

  1. It’s astounding you had the presence of mind to change the shutter settings. True pro photographer! This is scary, but really thrilling, stuff. What a privilege to be see it in person. These guys are big, heavy, and very serious about it. And it looked SO quiet in the beginning!

    • As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m a bit surprised too that I had the presence of mind to change camera settings. I don’t really even remember doing it and also didn’t think I remembered to focus, but guess I did.
      I had to quickly change shutter, lens, and ISO settings instantly after the fight started and my heart was pounding the whole time. These guys were close and the whole thing (even the smell coming from the stirred up water) was amazing and almost sensory overload.
      That one guy that came in second was super serious. So much so that I was more then a little shocked at how it all played out.
      Thanks for checking these out!

    • The crazy thing is that I only maybe slightly even remember changing the settings, it all happened so fast, but glad that I did. It all had to be so different from where I was to get the two heads at first. There are still a couple things I would have done differently if I had more time to think about it, but that’s typical.
      I needed to catch my breath at the end too. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed these gator shots and thanks for commenting!

    • Occasionally I get things right (well almost right) but there are always some that get away.
      I appreciate you looking and commenting and glad you liked these shots!

  2. Fortunately, you had good light to work with. Lots of practice and familiarity with the equipment makes the difference when you have to make changes in a hurry. The gators put on a wild and exciting show. Did they do any damage to each other or was all of the lunging and splashing in the name of intimidation?

    • They sure did put on a heck of a show! No actual damage was done, they ended up going their seperate ways. But the one big guy couldn’t leave until he scared the heck out of a little four footer that was a nearby spectator! 🙂

  3. Thank you for reminding us of the smell of the water -adding that and the sound of the thrashing water to your extraordinary action shots gives us a terrific ringside seat to nature in the raw! Did the animals make sounds as well, Phil?

    • The biggest sound was the intense splashing and rushing of a significant amount of water that was displaced as they moved through it. The one looked like he was walking on water he was going so fast!

  4. The marsh birds certainly were wise to steer clear of these two that day. Thanks for the sensory spectacle, Phil!

    • There were no birds in the area at that time but there were several 3-4 baby gators that started as spectators but ended up swimming for their lives later when the big guy took off after them!

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