home     galleries     new     equipment     links     about    contact

Red diamond rattlesnake        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Red diamond rattlesnakes (Crotalus ruber) are found in rocky hills and deserts in a small region of southern California.   Although one of the largest of the rattlesnakes, they are -- usually -- rather mild-mannered.   Still, caution is the rule when dealing with any venomous animal, and I used long focal length lenses to get these shots (especially the 'portraits') from a safe distance without unduly alarming the snakes.   Most of these were not rattling, but some were showing their tongues in a stereotyped warning display.   The very angry snake immediately below at left, however, is reared into a high-intensity threat display and is ready and willing to strike (the tongue and rattle are blurred because this was a long exposure taken shortly after sunset)   The snake in the upper two images and at the bottom of the page was very placid.   It was coiled in ambush posture at the edge of a dirt road at a University of California field station (note that its coils are dug into the dirt to some extent).   Most of these pictures were taken in early spring, when 'reds' emerge from hibernation and bask in the sun in rockpiles.   All were taken in Riverside County, California.

  • Nikon F100, Nikon 80-400 mm VR zoom at 400mm, Ektachrome 100VS (2001)
  • Canon 1D Mk. II,r 1D3, or 1D4; 100-400 IS zoom lens, 500 mm IS lens (below left) , 70-200 f4 IS zoom lens, or Sigma 150 mm f2.8 macro lens; fill-in flash (2006, 2008, 2013)