I’m not sure what to make of my “relationship” with this animal. I’m fairly sure its the same snake I regularly see along my driveway when I go for my evening walk. It’s rattled menacingly at me in the past, scared the bejesus out of me, fearlessly crosses in front of my house in the middle of the day, and also totally ignores me sometimes. I’m pretty sure it’s waiting for dinner to arrive here. It’s just after sunset and it’s motionless in the decorative gravel at the edge of my driveway looking slightly uphill at the rodent holes where mice probably come out of at night. There’s probably an action shot if I’d have the patience to wait for it.

My instinct is to want this creature killed or removed from the property, but I can’t bring myself to do either. It’s made a home among the rocks and cactuses around my house, and is a natural part of the ecosystem. I don’t have kids or pets around, though there have been some close personal encounters in the past that remind me to watch for snakes wherever I step. The zip code where I live has more rattlesnake bites than any other in Arizona. It’s definitely a threat, but it also seems to ignore me, like when I took this picture. There’s no way it could NOT have known I was close by when I took this picture.

So some mixed feelings at the moment. I think there may come a time when I’ve had enough, but I’d prefer to coexist if I can.

Specific Feedback Requested

This a bit of a stylized presentation. I tried to draw out the color of the rocks to provide some contrast to the snake. It actually blended in more than the image suggests. Maybe letting it blend in would make it look more natural.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No


Tony, I can relate to your feelings but with apprehension. As a kid I never went out into our open areas without encountering diamondbacks. I’ve also seen the destruction or injuries they can cause first hand. The back of one friends leg looks like a bad burn and another almost lost a hand to one.
With that all said I might lean toward a relocation project for safety. Not sure where you’re at but I also know the Mojave Greens are in AZ and read where a lady a couple years back died from one of those bites while on an evening walk with her dog.
Good luck on whatever route you decide. But I fully agree on not killing it. There are barely any around our open areas anymore due to over urbanization.

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Yikes, Tony!
It is interesting how you and the snake co-exist in near proximity, but I agree that it is kinda living dangerously. I like the idea of relocation. Hopefully there is a snake charmer nearby that can catch it and move it out to the wilds harmed.
Cool image, all coiled up like that. Reminds me of the infinity symbol in mathematics!

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You must really be able to read this snake to get this close for a photo! Sounds like living next to a grumpy neighbor! It’s really beautiful and a cool image!

I appreciate your efforts to coexist with this rattler. I’m not sure I could do the same, but thankfully they’re not something we have to worry about in CT!

As for the image, I do like how you brought out contrast to make the snake blend in less. I wonder if taking some yellow out of the lower right rocks would help add to that. Right now, those rocks are close in hue to the snake, and the two shapes start to blend together visually.

Great look at this fella. He sure looks like a decorative rock in the image. Dangerous for sure, but if you decide to do something, relocation would be a good thing. I hate the needless killing of our natural neighbors. Sometimes it is necessary but nice to avoid if possible.

Now you’re used to each other, it should be easier to coexist. Probably it’s keeping your rodent population in check. I love that you are trying to live peacefully together. Mostly it doesn’t want anything to do with you, but because they hide so well you can accidentally get too close. I have never one IRL and I am a little jealous.

I like the separation you’ve managed here, although I bet it blends in very well. Nice pattern on the snake and the pose is classic. Maybe you can get it face on sometime. With a long lens!

Wow. Very cool image. And your processing is spot on, sir. I don’t think I would be willing to get that close. I’d want to to use a 1200mm lens myself!

A stunning image Tony. A true “wildlife abstract”, this is one the most creative wildlife images that I have seen in a long time. I love it…

What a great story Tony! I love this! I love the similarity of textures in the scales and gravel. The colors of the gravel draw the eye away from the snake somewhat creating a more blended-in-to-the-landscape kinda feel. The L eye is showing and critical to the image success. I wonder if there’s a way to get a more facial view with better eye contact? They are loud and for that I’m grateful - I prefer the adrenaline rush of hearing the rattle to the pain and tissue damage of the bite.

In one of the Indiana Jones movies, Harrison Ford said “Why did it have to be snakes”!! That’s me. Not my favorite critter.

Very cool image from an image perspective. I like the presentation.

While you don’t have kids or pets, I would still be really concerned about other folks passing by that might have an unpleasant or deadly encounter. I’d have that snake re-located in a heartbeat to avoid any possible issues and knowing that the snake is there, while others don’t.

Thanks for the feedback and recommendations regarding the snake. I’m going to inquire about having it removed. There are people who walk on the nearby streets, and I don’t know this critter’s range. So it would be prudent to prioritize the community’s safety.

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Years ago a cinema photographer named Marty Stouffer climbed into a den of rattlers in the S.D. Badlands to film among the dozens of rattlers a courting or fighting episode between two of them with arched backs. It was for his wildlife series "Wild America’. After viewing it I pledged to NEVER crawl into a snake den or pit. Closest I came was 4 huge diamond backs coiled below a boulder I was sitting on. As usual the cold blooded group were coiled in the direct summer sunlight. It dawned on me to lean over the boulder and look as I suspected the thought of at least 1 nesting below me. Seeing the 4 made me retreat immediately.

Hi Tony,

A wonderful image and you must always worry about the snake that you don’t see. I have run into our Michigan native rattlesnakes and you don’t how close you are until you see one move away through your legs where you are standing. Relocating the snake might be your best option…Jim

And with that…… I’ll be sleeping less soundly thinking about snakes!!!

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A wonderful portrait! I hope it bagged dinner.

We have them here and we’ve both come way too close to them. Last summer some workmen were having lunch sitting on the ground on our deck, leaning up against the wall. After a while one of them spotted a rattler camouflaged up against a push broom that they had been using shortly before. After much discussion, it became apparent that it got to the broom by crawling through the space behind their backsides.

Very good image, Tony. It looks very comfortable and relaxed. Your depth of field and processing are spot on. The decorative gravel makes a great background.

I do not like snakes, so I would not have liked to meet this one! But a great image it is. I think the separation in colors works well.

Great image. Love it as is. Rattlers adapt so well to their environment. Camouflage experts. On the Colorado River some years ago one crawled into a rafting friend’s tent. (He failed to fully close the zipper). It was a beautiful pinkish red just like the surrounding rocks.

This is a great image, the colours are so nice! … the story that accompanies it though is what really stands out for me… kudos to you for not killing this beautiful creature, hope you will manage to relocate it safely for you and the animal ! … do keep us posted :blush: