News & Opinion | May 31, 2018 4:44 am

How One Photographer Captured a Close Crocodile Encounter

David Doubilet had to decide whether to intervene or take a picture.

An American Crocodile swims through the ocean off the coast of Cuba. (David Doubilet / Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
Barcroft Media via Getty Images

David Doubilet was scuba diving with his wife, Jennifer Hayes, in Gardens of the Queen National Park off the coast of Cuba. The couple — in both life and photography — had documented healthy reefs filled with fish, sharks, and crocodiles, so they went back 15 years later to see if anything had changed.

Hayes had her back to Doubilet when a giant American crocodile swam directly in between them. Doubilet made loud noises and fired a burst of flash-lit shots to let her know they were not alone. She turned around to find herself “face-to-snout” with an American crocodile. She says she didn’t feel threatened by this species at this time. She settled in to capture the moment, while her husband took a photograph of the experience.