Over the years I've wasted so much time photographing alligators. "Tinderbox" illustrates that time and effort eventually pay off. This image is the result of dedication and lots of trial and error. The world doesn't need another image of an alligator from an airboat or - god forbid - one of those alligator farms. Those images are great to show back at home on your iPhone, but these artificial encounters are mostly hackneyed pulp.


The sawgrass and proximity of only a few inches to this ancient predator change the whole dynamic. It brings a visceral sence of "Honey, I shrunk the kids"-perspective to the image with actually a selfie of me in her eye. This alone will make it stand the test of time. Only seconds after this image was made, she decided to release her full fiercefullness on - thankfully - my wide-angle lens.

The remote and monopod didn't survive... And I've probably never been more grateful with Nikon’s perfect equipment; I've got the teeth marks to show for it on my lens...

Jochen van Dijk
Everglades, USA