Calm Your Fears
You find that perfect landscape shot. But as you plant your tripod in the soft turf, out from the grass slithers an unexpected visitor...
There are creatures that lurk in the dark… creatures that make our skin crawl… creatures that evoke fear. But what is the source of that fear? Is it truly the long, slithering serpent itself that brings these untamed emotions to the surface? I’d dare say “no”. It is actually fear of the unknown that makes us fear. It is our ignorance of the creatures around us that drives our irrational thoughts.
If you want to get the good nature shots, there are some things you may have to face. When we enter the wilder places, we are encroaching upon critters we may not feel too fond of. But calming your fears through knowledge of the possible wildlife you may encounter not only makes for a more peaceful life, but can make for some great photo opportunities as well!
The majority of the snake calls I receive through my animal control job are, in fact, harmless. Although every caller thinks they have a copperhead or “water moccasin” in their living room, ninety-nine percent of the time it turns out to be some species of rat snake or water snake.
Yes, the water snake genera (Nerodia) are thick, heavy keeled snakes just like the Cottonmouth or Copperhead. And they too prefer and overlap in wet habitats. But a little bit of study of a few key features can turn someone’s uncontrolled hysteria into a mild caution. Both the Cottonmouth and Copperhead have vertically elliptical pupils; the water snakes have round pupils. “But I’m not going to get that close to look at its eyes!”, most people say. So studying the range of each snake and pattern is also a key to identifying.
But either way, stay calm, back off, and let it be. There is no need to go chopping off the head of a harmless creature because of an irrational emotion borne of ignorance. And since it is impossible to get a good nature shot as you run in fear leaving your tripod and camera behind, go ahead and learn a little of the critters in the area you'll be photographing.
Photo credits: William Wise.
Nature and Wildlife Photography
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