Monday, April 27, 2015

Photo Monday: Adventure with the snake

“To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” 
- Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind's Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

Oh, what a beautiful quote, the one above.  There are so many emotions at play during a photograph taking and this quote describes them quite nicely.

This past week my favourite capture was that of a snake.  Over the past several years I've tried to get a good close up of a snake.  I've been on many hiking trips and have seen many snakes in my travels but I've never been able to get close.  Whenever I've seen a snake it was usually just the tail end as the snake made his getaway.

Last week on Wednesday I went to visit the Smokey Hollow waterfalls to look for the first spring flowers.  I found them and immediately started shooting.  As I changed the position to take a better close up, something jerked feverishly beside me.  I jerked too and quickly got up on my feet.  As I stepped away I saw the movement again and realized it was a little snake.  

He wasn't big.  His head was just about an inch long.  He noticed me right away and I could see that he was observing me closely.  His little red tongue was making an appearance ever so often and I wondered if I'll be lucky to get that in the photo.  I lowered myself to the ground again and tried not to breathe or make any noise whatsoever.  The snake's head moved with every movement of mine.  A thought raced through my head: if I move too close will he try to strike my camera?  That would be interesting.

As I got close to the ground, I started shooting.  Closer and closer I moved, snapping non-stop, wondering exactly how close is he going to let me get to him.

In the end I got pretty close and I didn't even realized until I got back to the car, that in some shots I had captured his little red tongue almost perfectly.  Sometimes my camera likes to give me those little presents.  I am very grateful.

From the photos on the web I figured out it was a common, harmless garter snake.  Common or not, these little guys are fast and not easy to capture up close.  I'm glad I finally got my chance.  Click on the photograph to see the larger format.

And as to the flowers I came there to photograph?  They were there, they were beautiful and very numerous.  Despite the fact that they flower in March and April, many of them just started blooming now and there are a lot more to come.  That's just shows that we've had a cold, cold winter and slow start to the spring.

Their name is Siberian Squill or Scilla Siberica.  Despite the name they are not native to Syberia but native to southwestern Russia, Caucasus and Turkey.  And now they are in Canada.

I'm going to go back and get more detailed macro shots of these beautiful flowers.  I only got few shots in before I saw the snake and afterwards I didn't want any chance of stepping on the little fella so I just left.  I might stop by there today as a mater of fact.  It's still cold but the sun is coming out.

I was thinking that there will be a lot more blooming going on by the end of last week, but with the weather switching back to unpleasant cold, everything in my yard became shell shocked and frozen in time.  I've been watching my trees, especially the Juneberries and they have made almost no progress last week. Still, the little blossoms are beautiful when observed close up, almost ready to pop right out of their shell.

This week, starting tomorrow, we are back to seasonal temperatures and a lot of sun. That should make the plant life happy and spark a lot of blossoming in the coming few days.  The daffodils and tulips are out and almost ready to bloom.  The young dandelions have made their appearance as well. And then the bees are going to come... And the butterflies... Oh glory...

Let's have it Mother Nature.  I can't wait.



  1. Kamyria...stunning photos and beautiful close-ups...I am amazed and love that tongue!!! Wonderful post~


    1. Thank you Jan! I was floored when I realized I caught it... the fork and all! :D

  2. You are the brave one, getting so close to a snake,
    Wonderful post and awesome puctures.

  3. Well you really are quite the adventurer. I would never have been brave enough to get that close to a snake, but your pictures did turn out great, though.... :)

    1. Ha ha ha, I've been waiting for a long time for a chance... Fear or no fear :D

  4. You have the soul of an artist! Your pictures are magical! thank you so much.

  5. Kamyria, what FABULOUS photos. Oh my GOSH. You should try to sell them to a snake magazine! They are truly awesome. Susan

  6. Awesome photos. You wouldn't catch me getting close to a snake. LOL!!!

    1. Thank you so much Mary! When it comes to photos I lose my fear... I've had spiders charge my camera before.... lol

  7. Hello greetings and good wishes.

    Lovely photos with an interesting write up.

    You are very brave to take photos of snake at such quarters.

    Best wishes

  8. I will say that I'm terrified of snakes. I can't even look at them on tv or in your pics. In that aspect we are like night and day. I applaud you for your patience and for even wanting a pic of a snake. I would run for the hills but probably I would't even go to a place where there is a chance of a snake encounter. What comes to mind always is me possibly watching something about snakes on tv when I was small and from that time they absolutely give me the chills.