Unexpected nice weather + repost

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.

Description

This grass snake was tempted by the unusual mild and sunny weather to leave the hiding place, end of October. The snake is held captive, there is a large natural area where it can hide and stay in winter time, surrounded by a circular water basin where it can swim. They can be hard to find anyway, but this one more or less traveled the whole space and gave ample opportunity to shoot a couple of frames.

Specific Feedback

Is the framing OK? All other comments welcome as well.

Technical Details

Pentax K3 Mk. III, Pentax 150-450mm @450mm, ISO1600, f/6.3, 1/400s.
Nothing special in post-processing.

Quite unusual to see a snake so late in the season. Must have been toasty out. Is this in a zoo or something where it is captive, but has a naturalized habitat? We have a wildlife refuge in the south central part of the state that is fenced, but everything in it roams freely. Maybe this is something similar?

Anyway…I’m a bit torn at wanting the snake facing me more and liking the way its looking where it intends to go. Tough dealing with the vegetation, but maybe toning down the light stems behind it will help. The scales have such a great texture and sheen and I like the little collar on display. Nice view of the heat pits on the face, too, at least that’s what I think I can see here.

This is not a zoo, but in a part of the NP Bavarian Forest (Germany) some fenced areas have been established, where animals that were common to the area but extinct or very rare nowadays can live in a protected environment. Some species are wolf, wisent, moose, lynx. The areas are large, but because they are fenced the animals are dependent and are fed at irregular intervals and places, to prevent zoo-like behaviour. It is a nice place for photography, because you are certain that animals are somewhere, but there is no guarantee at all that you are going to see something. Moreover, it is a beautiful forest area as well, with a lot of old rotten wood with all the small life that you can expect there.
The snake lives in a basin with water at the circumpherence, and in the center rocks, bushes, other vegetation etc.

The snake was firmly on the move, so therefore the look in the intended direction. I agree with your comments on the light stems and changed the image a bit in that direction. Not really perfect, but I think this is more or less what you mean.

Nice image of this snake, Han. I’m with @_Kris on whether or not to have it facing us more-not that you had any control over that. I love the sprinkle of dead vegetable matter on the top of the head. I would seriously look at removing the bright out of focus stem that comes out of the head as it’s a really big eye magnet. The other bright spots are more out of the way and probably aren’t a serious issue. The rest of the vegetation I like.

Oops! Your repost crossed my critique, Han. I like what you did to the other bright spots, but I still think I’d try just removing the bright one coming out of the head.