A first for the records
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 a 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 stopped to stare at us. I took a handful of images and then let him be.
We can never be totally 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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