In April of 2015, during one of my walks on a road near the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas, I came upon a Timber Rattlesnake. It was an exciting moment for me as it was the first time I had ever seen this particular species.
As soon as the snake noticed me, it coiled in the middle of the road, allowing me to take several shots of it. Despite its menacing appearance, this particular rattlesnake wasn’t very large, measuring in at around 3 feet (0.91 meters) long. Adult Timber Rattlesnakes usually grow to a total length of 36 to 60 inches (1.52 meters).
As a wildlife photographer, I regularly explore the roads in the Ouachita National Forest, looking for opportunities to capture the beauty of the animals that inhabit this area. I was specifically hoping to come across a Timber Rattlesnake during one of my walks, and I was incredibly lucky that day.
To capture the shot, I was sitting in the road, hand-holding my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with the Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second at f5.6, and the ISO set at 1250. I set the white balance on auto and used a single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering.
It’s worth noting that while Timber Rattlesnakes are fascinating creatures to encounter, they are venomous and can be dangerous to humans. These snakes are native to the southeastern United States, including Arkansas, and are known for their distinctive, rattling tails. It’s important to admire these snakes from a safe distance and to leave them alone in their natural habitat.