A first time sighting, no matter what the species, is always a great experience for a wildlife photographer. And yes, it’s more rewarding if you get a few photographs too.
We spend a vast amount of our time researching species, understanding unique behaviours and life cycles all the while watching weather forecasts. This allows a mental picture to develop of what the encounter could be like. You need to have few visual photos already created in your mind. You don’t want to be thinking about the best way to capture a species when the action kicks off. It could be long gone by the time you get a decent shot. Have a few good banker images in your mind.
And now the confession. I’ve never looked at a single photo or read a single article about the British Grass snake (Natrix natrix). Being from Africa means I have seen and photographed many snakes, so I knew what to expect. Still, I was surprised when a little male hurried across my path. I’d just finished a session at Bushy Park and was walking back to the car. He cut across me at speed and headed away from a pond towards a patch of well-trodden bracken.
I followed, and once he had sensed my presence near him, he came to a stop. My photography brought a few surprised dog walkers to a stop as they stop to stare at us. It took a handful of images and then let him be.
We can never totally be prepared for what nature will throw our way. These first-time encounters are the reasons that we keep going out there to get photos. I think I’ve walked that path a hundred times in the past ten years and am confident of more encounters like this.
Here are some of the images
Winters are a special time in Bushy Park, and I have spent many cold hours there. CLICK HERE to see more images of this quaint little London Park.
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