"That's a rattlesnake!" Words I didn't think I'd ever say. I was leading a one-on-one workshop out at Pungo back in June when we came across this beautiful canebrake "timber" rattlesnake. Stretched across the road slowly making his way towards the woods. The lady that was with me is not a real big fan of snakes so she stayed in the car and told me to take as long as I wanted. After walking up on it, the only thing I knew I had to do was get low. When photographing animals its best to be on the same level as their eyes. If not, you'll get the "tourist" shots as I call them. The snake wasn't in a big hurry and allowed me to lay down next to it and create some photographs.
Now I know what you're thinking, "What? You laid down next to it?" "Are you crazy?!" Well to quote a favorite tv show, "I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested". Spending so much time around wildlife I can tell when animals feel threatened and I may be pushing it. This particular snake was very chilled. The black & white image above was the second image I created and after about 30 seconds or so, the snake realized I wasn't going away. So it tasted the air with its tongue, got my scent and slowly backed up and began to rattle.
This was my first time hearing a rattlesnake rattle, ever. It was an amazing experience and I created as a many images as I possibly could have. The way it positioned itself while it was rattling allowed me to photograph it with its head and rattle. I used a slower shutter speed to be able to capture the movement with its rattle.
This snake did not chase me. This snake did not try to bite or kill me. These snakes are killed on the spot by most people because they're afraid of it. They will try to protect themselves, if I would've tried to touch it, pick it up or harass it would've struck at me. I gave it plenty of room & after photographing for less than 3 or 4 minutes, I let it go on its way. They are so beautiful to me and I was ecstatic that I finally found one. I'm going back to Hyde county in the near future to try to find my holy grail of snakes. The Pygmy Rattlesnake! Until next time,