Spellbinding Image Of The Setting Sun Reflected In An Alligator's Eyes
n 2012, Larry Lynch took this un-doctored photograph shortly after a Florida sunset, creating a haunting image and winning several awards in the process. From a description given for UK Natural History Museum award for animal portraits:
"One evening, while walking along the riverbed of the Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida, USA, one evening, Larry came across a group of alligators. It was the dry season, and they had been gorging on fish trapped in the pools left behind as the water receded from the river. One big alligator had clearly eaten its fill. ‘It wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry,’ says Larry. ‘So I set my tripod and camera up about seven metres in front of him and focused on his eyes.’
Just after sunset, Larry set his flash on the lowest setting to give just a tiny bit of light, enough to catch the eyeshine in the alligator’s eyes. Like cats, an alligator has a tapetum lucidum at the back of each eye – a structure that reflects light back into the photoreceptor cells to make the most of low light. The colour of eyeshine differs from species to species. In alligators, it glows red – one good way to locate alligators on a dark night. The greater the distance between its eyes, the longer the reptile, in this case, very long."