Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: A Rare Encounter

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: Canon 40D 100mm 2.8 macro -ISO 100 1/200 sec. f 2.8

I used to see Eastern Timber Rattle Snakes on occasion during my years of working for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, but I had not seen one since retiring in 2007...until Sunday evening.

I was waiting by the side of a meadow in hopes that whitetail deer or wild turkeys would appear, when I happened to glance behind me and saw a large rattler crawling across the access road to the field, only a few feet away.

I moved into the area he was crawling toward in the nearby woods and got in position with the Rebel T3i on the video tripod and the Canon 7D and 500mm F4 on the still tripod.  I also scooped up the 40D with 100mm 2.8 macro, and it was hanging from my neck.  The snake spotted me, stopped and coiled-up and I began filming and photographing him.  I do not like to shoot hand-held under any circumstances, but I tried one frame with the 40D handheld and did get spot-on sharpness--see first photo.  That photo is also cropped substantially as I was not moving that close to a rattler.

I also pressed the 500mm F4 into service and took several shots.  I did not have extension tubes along, so I had to back-up a bit to use this lens and then crop severely to get a satisfactory composition.

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: Canon 7D 500mm F4 ISO 400-1/500 sec F4

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: Canon 7D 500mm F4 ISO 400-1/2500 sec F4
Lighting conditions were constantly changing as the sun went behind clouds or as shadows fell across the snake as the sun shifted position in relation to trees in the area.  It was very contrasty light, but thanks to the local adjustments feature in Adobe Camera Raw 7, I was able to equalize this to a certain extent and get acceptable results from this rare encounter.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I am content to see the picture.I have no real need to see one crawling anywhere near me. LOL

Altax said...

Excellent shots and wonderful pictures.

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Anonymous said...

I hope never to have a close encounter with a rattler. That said, your photographs are fantastic!

Bob Shank said...

Thanks for sharing this encounter, Willard. I was just up in Elk County and had my own adventurous encounter myself--not with a snake but a black bear! Great photos!

JimB said...

Nice photos of something that gives me the shivers. I do not understand how I ever hunted those things as a teenager-somewhere I have lost my nerve :)

Nice job on them


Dina said...

Amazing close-ups. So glad you kept your calm and that the snake did, too.