I came across a prairie rattlesnake sunning itself on the road at Vermejo Park Ranch and got some nice images. I have posted three images here. I am not sure which one I like the best and would love to hear your thoughts.
I got down on the ground with him to shoot at eye level. I love shooting at or below eye level, especially for snakes. He rose up a time or two to take a look at me but never really moved very far.
He soon relaxed and let me get quite close. As I shot, the skies darkened and it started to sprinkle. I had to really increase my ISO.
After shooting the eye level image, I thought I would try a shot from above of the beautiful pattern of its coiled body, head and tail.
I stopped the image down to f/16 to get as much depth of field as I could. I wanted to make sure that the eyes and tail were both in the same focal plan. It worked pretty well, I think.
For all of these images, I waited patiently for the snake to flick its tongue. That added that little “something extra” to the image, as well as a nice, strong line, graphically. That is one cool-looking tongue, I gotta say.
I know that rattlesnakes are not everybody’s cup of tea, but I love them. They have character, just a touch of attitude, and are at least gentlemanly enough to try and warn you if you have gotten too close. Respect, bro.
That doesn’t mean I want one crawling into my sleeping bag with me, however.