An amateur photographer captured the unusual sight of an alligator launching itself out of the water the way a dolphin would.
Tim Smith says he has never seen a wild alligator behave like that before and remains unsure as to why the reptile jumped out of the water in that way.
“There is no way for a photographer to orchestrate such a thing in the wild,” Smith tells PetaPixel.
“It is the result of seeking out the best opportunity at the best time and place and then being patient, praying, and hoping for an epic opportunity of some sort.”
Smith shot the photos in Myakka River State Park in Southwest Florida where he hiked for 45 minutes to get to a sinkhole spot where there is a large population of alligators.
The photographer says he was able to capture the strange moment because the alligator jumped twice, the first time drew Smith’s attention so he was ready.
“I saw stirring in the water in front of the gator similar to a school of fish, but I have never seen a reaction like that,” he adds.
Jumping Gators in Florida
Smith shot the photo at 1/1000 of a second on a Canon Rebel T7i with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens attached.
“Unfortunately I had it on spot focus, not at the exact location. A wider focus would have latched on to the action perfectly,” says Smith.
Smith says his location in southwest Florida gives him great nature photo opportunities for other animals like eagles, owls, ospreys, and bald eagles.
“Some very close locations to me are sought out by people throughout the U.S.,” he adds.
“Working full time, this great location is exactly what I need with my limited time. I feel very blessed because of that and because so many of my captures seem so unlikely and unique beyond my expectation.”
Smith, who has only been a photographer for four years and bought his first camera from a thrift store, has his work currently exhibited at The Cottage Art Gallery in Nokomis.
More of Smith’s work can be found on his Facebook.
Image credits: All photos by Tim Smith.