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Thread: Watersnake eats fish

  1. #1
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    Dec 2009
    Memphis, TN
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    Default Watersnake eats fish

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    I was photographing a dragonfly on the dam at a lake in my neighborhood when I heard a thump near me and looked up to see this snake with a sunfish in its mouth. The snake seemed to be using the rock to push the fish up against it to help get it down the snake's throat. The snake struggled with the fish for a few moments at this point and at first I thought he had captured more than he could swallow. This is shown in the first three images. He then took his meal and disappeared under a rock by the lake's shore. I went back to photographing dragonflies. Several minutes later the snake came back out from under the rock with an obvious lump showing he had successfully devoured the fish. The last two shots show him still working to get the fish fully down. He seems to let out a nice belch in the last image.

    As far as photographing the action, this occurred on the lake dam which was a hill covered with rocks. I would have liked a little lower perspective for the images but this was the best I could do given the terrain. As far as settings, I shot the first image as soon as I saw the snake with aperture still on what I was using for dragonflies, f11 (1/500s). I was shooting in Aperture Priority at EV -1/3 which I often use for dragonflies. I usually shoot in manual otherwise but chose to stick with Aperture Priority in this case. For the second image I moved to f6.3 (1/2500s) wondering if the snake would thrash around with the fish. He was staying fairly still though so for the third image I chose to move to f9 (1/1250s) for a balance of DOF and shutter speed. The last two images were shot at f8. All images were shot at ISO 400.

  2. #2
    Story Sequences Moderator and Wildlife Moderator Gabriela Plesea's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    South Africa
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    Hello Allen,
    Seems you went to the lake looking for for dragonflies and ended up with those stunning behavioural images of this snake and its massive prey - congratulations, well seen and taken

    I understand your desire for a lower perspective but realise it wasn't possible under the circumstances. I still think POV is quite good and happy to see you got some nice detail on the snake as well as prey. Colours look good to me and so is sharpness.

    Amazing how such small creature can swallow a fish of that size! Fantastic capture and I like the order in which you chose to display your frames - the narrative is there and you told the story so well.

    I also think your processing is good and you clearly understand the different sections of a narrative - beautiful work!
    Thank you so much for sharing, a pleasure to view. I enjoyed this even more than the single frame posted in the Wildlife Forum, nothing like a good story told well

    Warmest regards,
    Gabriela Plesea

  3. #3
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Indian Lake Estates, FL
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    Hey Allen. These are really well done. I am glad that I peeked. The first one is my fave because of the neat somewhat head-on perspective.

    with love, artie
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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  4. Thanks Gabriela Plesea thanked for this post

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