Gila Monster

Jim Hatt

Gila Monster

Post by Jim Hatt » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:10 pm

On Jun 2, 2009 I was hiking down the old dirt road that leads to Tortilla Ranch from the Apache Trail. About 1 mile from the Apache Trail I came across something in the middle of the road that I hadn’t seen but just a few times in the 20 years I have been in Arizona.
A big fat Gila Monster!

When I first saw it, I didn’t think I would have time to get my camera out of my backpack and get a photo of it before it scurried off into the bushes. I stopped about 10 feet from it and stood perfectly still for about 30 seconds. He didn’t move. Very slowly I unbuckled my backpack and lowered it to the ground. Unzipped a side pocket and got my camera out. I got my photo and he still seemed to be unaware of my presence.

I took a couple of steps closer and got another photo, another step closer and a third photo. I switched my camera to preview mode to make sure the photos were there, which they were, and quickly switched back to photo mode. When I looked back towards him, he was gone.

I looked off to the side of the road and I could see the grass moving. That had to be him. I switched my camera to movie mode this time, and set out to follow him and get some video of him in motion. I followed the moving grass (not getting too close) until I saw him climb up onto a small ridge and out in the open where I could get some good video of him.

The three photos and short video are below
.


Image


Image


Image



I CROPPED AND ENHANCED THE THIRD PHOTO SO DON CAN SEE HIS HEAD
Image



Click on this link to see the video

http://s212.photobucket.com/albums/cc73 ... Mvideo.flv
Last edited by Jim Hatt on Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:53 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Gila Monster

Post by Desert Cruiser » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:40 pm

Cool photos, shame you couldn't get his head, but heck we've never even seen one, and do a lot of wildlife photography here. Nice going.

Don....

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Re: Gila Monster

Post by reptilist » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:54 pm

He sure looks big....Thanks for posting!

Jim Hatt

Re: Gila Monster

Post by Jim Hatt » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:52 pm

Desert Cruiser wrote:Cool photos, shame you couldn't get his head, but heck we've never even seen one, and do a lot of wildlife photography here. Nice going.

Don....

Wellllllllllll... I COULD have got his head Don. I was packing a .44 magnum.

But gezzzzzzz. He needed it a lot more than I did!

Jim

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Re: Gila Monster

Post by Desert Cruiser » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:47 pm

Jim I'm sure you know what I meant. A photograph of his head? And yes I'm sure he appreciated you leaving him with his head. LOL Some times it's hard to get the right angle, even impossible some times. Still nice shots, wish I'd been there.

Don...

Jim Hatt

Re: Gila Monster

Post by Jim Hatt » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:03 am

LOL... Yeah, I knew what you meant Don, But that was the first thought that came to my mind, and I couldn't resist. :D

Jim
Last edited by Jim Hatt on Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gila Monster

Post by reptilist » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:08 am

They are also an endangered and protected species. Legally, you can't even impede their progress long enough to get a good pose.

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Re: Gila Monster

Post by Kathy » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:28 am

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You have to be one of the luckiest desert dwellers in Arizona.
Amazing pictures.I have lived here in So.Cal. for 20 plus years
and have never seen a Gila Monster and I used to be an advid
desert hiker and then later on on my electric golf cart and ATV
mule.Seen a lot of animals but never a Gila Monster.Growing up
in New Mexico I did see a few of them but to young to appreciate
their beauty.Actually was scared of them and anything that got
on me or near me.Lol.Thank you for all your sharing.Kathy

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Re: Gila Monster

Post by Desert Cruiser » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:12 pm

Jim Hatt: I do appreciate you posting those photos, as like I said we've never even seen one in the wild. What kind of wildlife photographers are we anyway? After doing photography work for years I'm just to picky with my own photos. I like to have photos that are specimens giving complete detailed images of the creature your capturing and it's not always possible, at least not on the first attempt. Here's two examples:

This one is just barely ok to me, the snake didn't have his tongue out -- wouldn't enter it into any contest!

Image

This one is the whole snake with his tongue out but no head shot -- taken from the wrong angle:

Image

I never even showed this one to reptilist who was on the trip with us because I didn't think it was any good. Still don't, but that happens --- Linda says I'm to much of a perfectionist. I wasn't knocking your photos, I'm glad you showed them, just an explanation of why I thought it was a shame not to be able to see his head looking straight at him. But this is not always possible. Sorry

Don....

Jim Hatt

Re: Gila Monster

Post by Jim Hatt » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:04 pm

Don, I'm not that deep into photography. When I'm in the mountains, I am usually headed to a specific location for a specific reason. Taking photos is just something I do along the way if I see something interesting. My camera is just a little 6 MP digital with no external lenses or anything. I keep it set to ALL AUTO, because i don't understand how to use all the other setup options. Every time I try to do something in the way of special effects or shutter timing or Color/Brightness/Focus adjustments I end up with pictures that I can't even recognize what I was trying to take a photo of. ALL AUTO, Yup! That's what works for me. :D (Photography for Dummies)

I probably could of gotten a better photo of his head but I didn't want to impede his travel or invade his space. :ugeek: (Thanks for the "excuse" Reptilist) Besides that, I wasn't too keen of the idea of getting any closer to that end of him.

Jim Hatt

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