This is an extraordinary picture of a snake. Normally a snakes eyes appear solid black no difference between eye and pupil etc. - one solid glittering color. Here you have captured the snake's eye which as is with almost any creature a very expressive part of the body. Beautifully done - Culpeo - really.
& this is coming from someone who isn't the biggest fan of reptiles in general. Not terrified or phobic....just not overly fond.
I do understand the fear that people have for snakes. Unlike fluffy tigers or cute pandas they are not so easy to humanise and if that wasn't enough already many of them can either kill you with venom or strangulation. Reason enough to run counter when meeting one.
Thus, it means even more to me when someone like you says this about my photo. Thank you.
This is a fantastic photo! Like a lot of people, I hate snakes and am terrified of them but I'm also fascinated by them. Did you photo this snake in the wild or in the zoo? These guys are extremely poisonous but apparently not usually aggressive, or so I read... How did you feel getting this close to it?
While you hate snakes i obviously find myself on the other side and dearly love them, always did (plus being overall fascinated by them) yet i do understand the hate/fear that other people have for them: no fur, no "emotion" (though, i hope that this shot in particular can tell different), no limbs and if that wasn't enough, some are either venomous or large enough to kill you, so one does indeed better to keep a healthy distant at first.
Since my early childhood i had contact with snakes and i guess that is where my appreciation for these critters is coming from. Never kept them as pets since my parents hate snakes with a burning passion (sadly, there also is no fascination whatsoever They did their best to make me hating snakes as much as they did and could never understand why i was so different in that matter) but i spent a lot of my early days in Thailand where the largest venomous serpent of the world (the king cobra) and the largest constrictor of the world (the reticulated python) literally meet each other at the entry door and there were many occassions where i would find myself eye to eye with them. A meeting with a king cobra is such an occassion that i will never forget. This snake, i tell you, this damn big sublime thing. Racing heart, freeze, awe, fear. If you ever doubted about the intelligence or "soul" of snakes i can recommend you a meeting with a king cobra. It was one of my most formative experiences ever...which would be my reply to your question how it feels to be so close to a snake, without any glass inbetween.
This fellow, however, was photographed in a snake farm and there was of course glass between us - quite thankful for that, really, since mambas have some extraordinary venom in their fangs. And yet, it is true, they normally aren't aggressive but quite calm actually. This guy would just rest there and quietly think about whatever snakes may think. My king cobra would have been just as quiet if it wasn't trolled back then (ehem) - most snakes prefer getting away before they will make an attempt to bite you. They'll only make flip your shit if you're stupid enough to grab or harass them.
Did you read "The Snake Charmer" about herpetologist Joe Slowinski? I read it - it was a great book. Slowinski apparently loved all animals but especially amphibians and reptiles and most especially snakes. The more venomous and dangerous the snakes were, the better Slowinski liked them. I was struck by a thought I had while reading the book. My thought was about experts in any field of study - they have to love the thing they're studying, and in order to love it, they must have no fear of it. So, if you want to study venomous snakes, you have to love them and that means you can't be afraid of them, which is the only way you could want to be around them all the time. And, obviously, that's the only way you can learn about them. But the flip side is that they're so dangerous that just by being around them so much, a bad incident is bound to happen. To get to know them, you have to interact with them a lot.
I was impressed by three episodes in the book. One was when Slowinski was a boy he chased down and caught huge rattlesnakes without any fear of them at all. Another was how he would go out in the wild and collect venomous snakes and put them in buckets and bring them home and then just go to sleep - the guy would actually sleep with these snakes slithering around his apartment! There was a third story about how Slowinski ordered a live cobra on eBay and had it shipped to himself at the University of Miami where it got loose - he was chasing it around a lab with no fear of it. He was bitten a few times but went on studying un-phased. He came to a bad end on a Southeast Asian expedition studying krait snakes. He had the same fascination we all have with snakes - they're just inherently interesting. But you have to be careful every second you're around these guys - there is zero room for error.
I think these dangerous snakes are a little like horror movies - you're scared, but you have to SEE! You're exhilarated but terrified at the same time. Anyway, the book is a great read - it's by Jamie James. Your shot is so great because in it the snake looks so confident, sort of regal, almost majestic, but also passive and elegant in a strange sort of way. I just really liked the image!
"My thought was about experts in any field of study - they have to love the thing they're studying, and in order to love it, they must have no fear of it."
They sure have to love them and interact with them. The fear, on the otherhand... I think that having no fear at all isn't all that appropiate. Fear is a natural thing that exists for good reason. Meeting a dangerous snake with no fear whatsoever can quickly lead to thoughtlessness which is something that can absolutely kill you when it comes to handling with snakes or any other dangerous animal. I don't say that one should be fearful. But what i say is that there should be at least a healthy portion of respect. Everytime. Some of the best and most experienced snake handlers died because of negligence. "The snake never bit me and is always so calm, thus there is no problem". Wrong. One should always be aware of a possble bite. No matter if dog or snake or rat - animals can be unpredictable little shits, which should be especially considered when you're handling with a species that can kill you.
Anyway, the book sounds interesting enough to look after it. I might check it out once in a while, thank you for the recommendation!
In Europe's largest snake farm - die sich praktischerweise auch noch in Deutschland befindet. Du kannst Monsieur Mamba also tatsächlich in natura sehen, wenn du dich mal in Harznähe herumtreiben solltest.
Lovely picture! I do love your style with photography- like your art, it's quite original. Snakes in general have always fascinated me as well as frighten. Of course the worst you get where I am are Copperheads, so not too much of an anxiety there, haha
Wow, that is quite the compliment you made here. My skills as a photographer bear no proportion to my art skills (say: I'm a bloody armateur who still has a lot to learn) what makes your comment even more encouraging. Thank you for that! (copperheads are awesome, i love their pattern. Also have some shots of copperheads lying around, i might upload those as well sooner or later)
Not a problem at all! The thing about photography is that anyone can practice at it and become very good, but its something I lest see in most others whereas they have a distinct feel to their work, much as your art has a distinct feel to it. I'll always set you apart from the norm I see- which is a good thing, of course! And yes, I agree. I stumbled across one during a hike not too long ago- sadly I didn't have my own camera on me to take any pictures, it was intriguing for sure, though, haha. You certainly should upload if you get the time, anyways.
It depends. Sometimes i have enough luck and get a background like that all natural but more often it needs some extra edits. Mr snake here was resting in a very dark patch already so i had to darken only some minor areas.
I love mamba's. Stunning snakes. Had a Black Mamba creeping up next to my bed once when on an internship in South Africa. Looked him (or her) right in the eye. Damn scary, but I had a good close up look. Beautiful.
I can totally feel that, i love mambas, too. Even though the black ones are said to be quite calm if kept in captivity (that's what i've been tol at least) i probably would have shit my pants if i would have been in your situation - it's this weird mixture of respect and awe that i always get when meeting a snake whose bite could kill me. I remember my time when i was next to a king cobra without any glass between. I shrinked down to a nothing in the presence of this literal king, he was just awe-inspiring.
Eeek that had to be scary as hell. I was also really scared but luckilly I stayed calm (thank god I don't have a "squeel-flail-with-hands"reaction when I get a scare). It was awesome to see a wild mamba so close. Most people tend to believe they rule over everything on the planet, but when you come face to face with a lethal snake or any other animal that can kill you in an instant, you just become tiny and there is nothing else you can do than respect the animal in front of you.