Persistence Prevails

One of the reasons I leave my tripod at home is because most of the time it is just an annoying and demanding bunch of aluminum pipes. Either I can't get the angle I want for the shot I want, or by the time I set it up, the moment is gone. Here's to seizing the moment!

This brown water snake was trying to figure out a way to swallow a lunker channel cat it had just snagged with it's fangs when a young naturalist friend named Dominique pointed it out to me. Quickly I sprinted to my truck at Brownville Park near Arcadia and dashed back to the edge of the Peace River where the optimistic snake was working his prize catch. The snake grabbed the fish sideways several times, perhaps to ensure the catfish was now dead or to loosen up his jaws for what was going to be one heck of a swallow. Near the tail fins I could see red marks where the fish was likely first grabbed.

Without a cumbersome tripod I was able stand, crawl and lay down in front of the pair, shooting from all angles -- including standing neck deep in the river where moments before the two were complete strangers enjoying a Sunday swim.

During the commotion, a man standing nearby came over to see what was going on. When he saw it was a snake he said, I hate snakes. I'd kill it.

I resisted calling him an idiot, mainly because he was bigger than me. Instead I heard myself speaking quietly, patiently...Aw, this snake's just trying to do the best he can like the rest of us. We're in his habitat so why not leave him alone? Perhaps if he was in my bathtub I might feel threatened but not here.

I hate snakes. I'd kill him, the man repeated, mumbling something about idiots under his breath as he walked away.

I stood guard until the snake finished dining and tipped the maitre d'.