"Gus" - Portrait of a gopher tortoise, Florida

The simple portrait that follows is one of my favorite images from Florida. Not because it is the most inspired image I created on the trip, but because of the circumstances that led to it. This species, the gopher tortoise, is endangered and has long been on my list of most sought after reptiles to photograph. Every time I visited Florida I hoped to find one. On this day, out riding my grandpa's old Trek with my cousin (she was on my grandma's Huffy), we came across a beat up dirt path behind some motorhomes in my grandparent's retirement community. Quite a setting, right? I'm sure the images swirling through your heads are stunningly beautiful. Anyways, we head down there on our old bikes, and right in the middle of the trail is this big old gopher tortoise. After watching him from afar for a few minutes, I raced back to the house to grab my gear. When I got back, he remained in the same location nibbling on some grass. I focused on creating close-ups to emphasize his amazing scales and texture. After spending about 10 minutes with him, he went happily on his way. Now, I know I may be a little crazy over cool reptiles, but it was really an amazing experience. Thanks for looking.

"Gus" - Portrait of a gopher tortoise, Florida.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 168mm. 1/8th second, f/9, ISO 400. Tripod.