“That Icy Stare”

“That Icy Stare”

“I hate and fear snakes, because if you look into the eyes of any snake you will see that it knows all and more of the mystery of man’s fall, and that it feels all the contempt that the Devil felt when Adam was evicted from Eden. 
― Rudyard Kipling

Unlike Kipling, I have a strange yet respectful fascination with the snakes I encounter on my many hikes. None of the snakes in my area are poisonous, though they will bite when bothered. There is something about the eyes of a snake. They are so focussed, unblinking, and cold. Truly a predator

This particular snake, found on the trail at Secord Forest, where I hike quite frequently, is a common Garter Snake and was on the path sunning itself when I heard it move as I crested a ridge and the snake remained on the path as I approached, affording me a great opportunity to make a few photos.

For this particular image I had to lay down on the ground and get quite close. I expect the movement made the snake rear up for a look, which made for this lovely shot. It took a few attempts to get the tongue flitting out, but was worth the wait.

It’s hard to believe, but just last week I encountered two Garter Snakes basking in the sun right next to ice patches, which are now merely a memory, but they slipped off before I could get a good shot.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm

1/160 sec, f/8.0, ISO 500 

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

23 Comments on ““That Icy Stare”

  1. Great shot. You are a bit modest in stating how how hard it is to capture the tongue like that. Timing, patience, and a fair amount of luck are needed as well as a high degree of skill. Nice job. I share your fascination with snakes.

  2. I used to be a professional reptile keeper and adore garter snakes in particular. They calm down very fast, only bite (in my experience) the first time you pick them up (who can blame them?) then they are tame, gentle and curious. lol I used to collect them during summer camp then let them all go at the end. Never lost my love for these little beauties. Great shot, by the way. Made my morning!

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