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Thread: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

  1. #1

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    Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    This is the rattlesnake that I mentioned in this thread. Thank goodness that my wife heard its rattles before getting too close to it. Though the snake stands out from the background fairly well in this photo, that's because I post-processed it that way to make a more appealing image; in reality, the snake was difficult to see because it blended in with the background much better.


    Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

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    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Great shot, Mike. He is definetly at attention.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Great capture Mike, natures camouflage is about as perfect as can be. Your story reminds me of an interaction with a Cottonmouth Water Moccasin my wife and I had. Nice image of a something that will be remembered.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    That's a very good picture! I'd have needed a lot higher shutter speed to compensate for my shaking. Certainly glad you and your wife saw him before getting too close.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Thanks, everyone!

    About the shutter speed, Terri: I was shooting at 1/500 because of the lens I was hand holding. I was hoping to get some blur in the rattles but had no idea at the time what that speed would have to be. I learned later according to Wikipedia that anything above 1/60 would probably have stopped the action. Ironically, it didn't matter in the end because the snake rapidly got used to my presence and never rattled while I was photographing it. Perhaps it liked having its picture taken.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Very very beautiful picture.
    180mm. seriously???
    Wasn't that a bit near.
    Last edited by splashy; 14th April 2013 at 02:42 PM.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Little too close for my comfort...I HATE snakes of any kind!
    Very nice capture though. I know for a fact that I would have had motion blur as I ran away

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Good capture! I remember years ago in the California desert when a friend said, "Richard, don't move!" Luckly I obeyed him, there was a rattler coiled up to strike about a foot in back of me. My buddy killed it with a shovel! Lots of adrenalin rushed through me that day!

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Quote Originally Posted by splashy View Post
    180mm. seriously???
    Wasn't that a bit near.
    No, not at all. I was very safe, as indicated by the fact that the snake was not shaking its rattles. The snake shakes its rattles only when it feels extremely unsafe.

    I was probably about 8 - 10 feet (2.5 - 3 meters) away. Even if it had been the shorter distance, I had determined that the snake was about two feet long. (That was verified later when it relaxed and became fully extended.) It's striking distance is less than its length, so I and my wife were very safe.

    This image is cropped about 40% despite that the lens was mounted on a crop-factor camera.

    I would have preferred to have used my 300mm lens to fill the frame more. I didn't because I wasn't sure it would focus at that distance. The lens won't focus at less than about 8.5 feet (2.5 meters). I wasn't sure that it would provide sufficient depth of field for the image that I had in mind. It also would have taken longer to mount that lens and I was concerned that the snake might go away before I could take a decent set of photos.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 14th April 2013 at 04:28 PM.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Lots of adrenalin rushed through me that day!
    Better to have adrenalin rather than venom rushing through you. You were very lucky that day.

    I grew up on a ranch in central Florida where rattlesnakes are relatively common. My father always holstered a 20-20 pistol because of the occasional rattlesnake. Lacking a gun, it's a good thing that your friend had a shovel handy and didn't mind getting close enough to the snake to use it.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 14th April 2013 at 04:24 PM.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    I wasn't planning on posting this image, as I don't like it as much as the other one. However, the interest generated in the thread indicates that people might appreciate seeing it purely for documentary purposes.

    Soon after taking the photo, the snake became even more extended and moved straight toward me and my wife. Even though it wasn't moving aggressively (it's head was down), we quickly determined that it would be an excellent idea to move faster than it was moving.


    Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 14th April 2013 at 04:23 PM.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    beautiful photos Mike. I tried to photograph a rattle snake once and none of them turned out... very envious.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    I'd be more impressed with a macro. Seriously though, have you ever photographed one that did have it's rattle warning you? I've looked (only a little) but can't find a reference to the speed at which the rattle moves. Perhaps it's not a constant. (or perhaps it's not that important to anyone.)

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Continued thanks to everyone!

    I have only photographed one other rattler, Andrew. It was about the same size as this one. Despite that I was closer to it, it was so used to people being around that it didn't pay any attention to me. So, it was not coiled, much less rattling.

    I found one website indicating that a rattlesnake can shake its rattles 50 times per seconds for three hours. (You can believe everything that you read on the Internet, right? ) If that's true, I would have to shoot at less than 1/50 of a second using a long lens on a tripod or an otherwise completely stabilized system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    I'd be more impressed with a macro.
    You forgot to mention focus stacking.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Great shots Mike. I like the second one a lot, maybe because of the action. Nice detail you have here. 3 metres is still a short distance though. It seems that a rattlesnake moves pretty fast if he wants to at approximately 8 feet per second.
    Reminds me of my bear adventure...only afterwards I learned that the bear moved faster than I could (and he could climb as well).

  16. #16
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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Second picture is also very beautiful.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    It seems that a rattlesnake moves pretty fast if he wants to at approximately 8 feet per second.
    Wow! I have never heard that they move that fast except of course when striking, which is far faster. Even then, they won't be able to strike as far as 8 feet.

    Even if a rattler really can move that far that fast, my understanding is that it will do so only when trying to get away from prey or when chasing prey. Once it gets into rattle mode, which happened with this one, that in itself indicates that it's really scared and isn't about to chase after whatever is scaring it.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    I love these photos because you have captured the beauty of the snake... especially so in the first shot (but both photos are gorgeous)

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Very impressive, Mike, as the number of response posts on here would seem to confirm.

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    Re: Rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike

    Excellent job, mike. (safty first, not worth it for a photo. I believe they can strike 2/3 their body length, so keep enough distance.)

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