Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Later, Alligator

The week before last, my girlfriend was out of town and on vacation with her family in South Carolina, courtesy in part of the sweet two days we got off for the 4th. Imagine my surprise when her mother (who I had not met) called me up and asked if I would be interested in vacationing with them on the beach? It's not clear if this concept translates across cultures, but my general take is this:

If a southern mom wants to meet you, you don't say no. ;)

So, off I went on a last-minute trip to Charleston and the nearby Kiawah Island. Very pretty, but also incredibly hot and muggy (which of course is why modern human history is measured in years A.C.). Charleston is an incredibly old city, and is full of historic French and southern architecture, and was a great place to do some shooting out on the street. I didn't have a lot of time for this, but I did have an interesting situation develop with the denizens of Kiawah Island:

Later, Alligator

This fellow would show up in the little inlets near our beach house around sunset -- probably moving from the shade to a warmer patch of water.

Naturally, I wanted to photograph it.

Problem: Every time I stepped out of the house, my lenses would fog up, as I transitioned from a civilized 70F, 30% humidity, to an exterior with 97F and near 100%.

So, it would go something like this:

Betsy> "ALLIGATOR!!!"
Me> (Snatches up d700, replaces 35mm f/2 with 70-300 in 2.3 seconds, and rush outside) "This is my big chance to do some nature photography! Rawr!!"
(10 seconds later)
Me> "Crap"

I experimented with leaving my camera outside in the evening, but invariably would bring it inside to take pictures of the little nephew, Betsy being goofy, etc. On my last night there, we saw the alligator again, and I  ran inside, got the camera, and followed the alligator down the creek until he parked himself right under the shade of some dense undergrowth. I still had to wipe down the lens with my lens cloth to clear off the fog, but I managed to get this shot.

By the time I realized what I was doing, I was about six feet from the alligator on the shore. Not really that dangerous, but I'm not sure if I would have been willing to bash the thing on the head with my lens if it grabbed my leg or something.


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