Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Camera Brain & A Big Fat Lapse in Judgment

Sometimes I am so busy trying to capture a picture that I don't see what's going on right in front of me. This weekend at the river, I was taking pictures of the low water.

 I was trying to get pictures of all the little frogs and fast-moving water spiders that are normally concealed, but are totally exposed because of the drought. My current lens isn't meant to zoom from afar, so I have to get very close to things and people to get a close-up or to capture detail.
 Let me just preface this by saying that William was safe on shore in the golf cart with his grandaddy, pretending to drive.
 I was trying to take a picture of a teeny tiny frog, but he was so small that I had to crouch on the riverbed and lean over the water to get a picture. Even then, you can barely see him. He's in the middle of this photo, and he was about half an inch big. Tiny. I was so focused on this frog that I wasn't thinking about anything else. Like the fact that no one should ever hang out in the tall grass by a riverbed. Or that it was dusk, when many snakes like to eat. Or that I was chasing frogs, and frogs are good snack food for certain poisonous predators.
 I looked for a place to squat closer to the frog. I was squatting on my knees (did I mention that I was wearing shorts and flip flops?) when I noticed movement in the water about 11 inches or so from my leg. Oh, goody! A frog.
I stood about 30 feet away and took this picture of the cottonmouth. If you can't see him very well, too bad. He's in the middle of the photo, largely concealed by the marshy water.
Not a frog. A water moccasin. A very poisonous Texas Cottonmouth snake all curled up, waiting for the movement of prey. I saw a flash of solid black snake and I knew it was a cottonmouth. I have heard plenty of stories from my cowboy father about these aggressive snakes, one of the only snakes who will actually chase down humans to defend its territory. It took about, oh, one millionth of a second for me to fly into the air and run screaming up the riverbed. Note to my foolish self: do not take pictures of prey at dusk unless I feel like becoming prey at dusk.

Number 22: my cowboy father, who taught me about cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, opening gates, and paying attention (even if I don't remember all of his lessons simultaneously)

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