Indiana Bats, Arkansas, USA

To get this shot, I met a biologist who was doing a bat census. I crawled three-fourths of a mile on my knees with a backpack that scraped the cave ceiling. The cave opened up into a large chamber where approximately five thousand hibernating bats hung from the ceiling just five feet above the floor. Because the heat from our bodies could wake the tiny two-inch Indiana bats from their winter slumber, putting them at risk in the cold temperatures, we had to work fast. I was permitted to shoot only one roll of film in a ten-minute period. The biologist quickly counted the bats using a yardstick that he held near their heads, calculating three hundred bats per square foot. I photographed them with a macro lens and two flash units while bending backward under the low cave ceiling. I like this image because it takes a while to realize that you are looking at little bat noses and mouths. It is such a tight shot that it becomes an abstract.

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