GATOR HOOK 1 © 2009Western Everglades
I set out into the swamp during the winter dry season, when water can only be found in the deepest holes, to capture the textures on the exposed bases of the cypress trees. As I set up my camera, an alligator lying at the end of the pond eyed me suspiciously. This small water hole was the animal’s only source of water for miles around, and he didn’t take kindly to me invading his territory. While I ducked under the black cloth focusing my camera, my wife, Niki, kept watch. She stayed ready to alert me if the gator started moving because gators can move fast when they want to. Gator Holes The American alligator is an architect and the apex species of the Everglades wetlands. Alligators excavate deep holes in the muck for their comfort. In the dry season, these excavated areas, called gator holes, hold the last remaining waters until the spring rains return. These depressions create aquatic habitats that allow fish, turtles, frogs, and invertebrates to survive the drought-like conditions of the dry season. Some of these small animals become the alligator’s prey, yet many survive to repopulate the wetlands when the rains return. Gator Hook 1 was taken with a Deardorff 5×7 camera on T-Max 100 film. This photograph is hand-printed in Clyde’s darkroom on fiber-based paper, selenium toned, then mounted and matted to current archival standards. The photograph is a limited edition and signed by Clyde. Camera settings f/64 | 120mm Nikkor SW lens | 10 seconds. Disclaimer – Cropping, contrast, and image density may vary. To learn more about the darkroom printing process, click here.