Snakes … Why Did There Have to Be…

Okay so the title gives away the ending, but there are photos so indulge me. My plan for June included a trip to Arizona. Let’s just say almost nothing went according to plan. In fact I’d go as far as to say it would be hard to describe the trip without using the word “cluster.”

In spite of the problems I did have the chance to work in a few nice shoots. Near the end of my time in Phoenix I had the chance to work with Leanne, a wonderful model suggested by a friend. We’d planned a shoot in the desert outside the city. Everything went perfectly at first. It was hot, about 110 that day as I recall, but we’d scheduled the late afternoon past the worst of the day’s heat. We headed to the location and started to work right before the good golden light of sunset moved in.

The first shooting location went well. We found a nice rock formation near the top edge of a small canyon. The timing worked perfectly since we arrived as the sun started to set providing that wonderful golden light. This image comes from that first area and is probably my favorite of the outdoor images of the day.


We next moved to a new spot and worked for a few minutes. The sun really started getting a nice glow at this point leading to these two images.



Perhaps a minute after the second of those two images, I looked down before moving to my left to reposition. It’s a habit I’ve developed in years of outdoor shooting on occasionally iffy terrain. It also is something I’d drilled in while planning for some backpacking in the desert that had been planned to be careful where you put your foot or hand for any of the less desirable desert residents that might be around.

As you probably guessed from the title, in this case it was a very good thing. When I looked in the direction I’d planned to move I saw a rattlesnake coiled up about three feet away (a speckled rattlesnake to be exact). No rattle or threatening stance, but just the reptile trying to blend in and not be seen. I froze, told Leanne not to move either, and then very slowly move to a safer distance before more quickly moving much further away. Once out of danger we gathered our things and left the area to our new little friend.

I’m not overly fond of snakes, in fact I’d go as far as to say I have a phobia of them. Leanne also didn’t seem eager to continue working in the area after the encounter so that ended the outdoor shooting for the day. We did some more work indoors later, but those will come another time. The lesson here is to be aware of your surroundings when shooting outdoors. The snake was camouflaged very well against the rock and had I not taken the time to distinctly look around I would have moved directly toward him in my next step. Instead all escaped unharmed.

I have to say though, worst shoot crasher ever.

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