Posts Tagged ‘reptile’

One evening this past week I was photographing lotus flowers at a local pond in a quasi-meditative state, enjoying the calm after a thunderstorm had passed.

The life cycle of the lotus, from bud to flower to seed pod

Suddenly a woman screamed out in my direction, “Snake, there’s a snake right behind you.” My first reaction was one of disbelief, because I was standing on a flat rock partially surrounded by water that was flowing rapidly between two man-made ponds. All at once I saw the submerged snake swimming strongly against the current. Then to my surprise the snake lifted his head out of the water.

My next reaction was to spring into action to take his picture. My camera was already on my tripod and I swung it around and snapped a couple of shots without having time to adjust my exposure or shutter speed. The image below is far from perfect but it gives you an idea of the cascading water and the snake poking his head above the surface.

Swimming snake lifts its head above water

After that brief photographic opportunity I returned to my peaceful pursuit of the lotus flower.

Sidewards-facing lotus (a variation of the lotus position)

It was only much later that I wondered whether I had encountered a poisonous snake. An article entitled “Snake Mistake” by Christine Ennulat in Virginia Living helps readers distinguish between the harmless brown water snake (Nerodia taxispilata) and the venomous water moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus). I am pretty confident the snake I saw was “only” a brown water snake.

Maybe I will react more quickly the next time someone tells me there is a snake right behind me. I might even get a better photograph!

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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After some thunderstorms yesterday evening I went a local garden with a pond (Green Spring Gardens) and encountered this very large snapping turtle (at least that is what I think he is). He was just lying there on the grass.

I started creeping up on him with one eye in the viewfinder and the other on him. I was pretty cautious because previously I had read what Wikipedia says about snapping turtles, “Common snappers are noted for their belligerent disposition when out of the water, their powerful beak-like jaws, and their highly mobile head and neck.” There were a few blades of grass in front of part of his face and I would have liked to remove them to improve the shot, but there was no way I was going to risk my fingers for a mere photo.

I decided to share this medium range shot because it shows the mud and dried grass that made up his “camouflage.” It reminds me a little of the ghillie suits that snipers wear to blend in with nature. Eventually I hope to do another blog posting showing the progression of my shots as I got closer and closer to him, ending up with shots in which his face alone fills the frame.

Stay tuned for coming attractions!

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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