Spotted Bush Snake At Night

It is autumn at Sabi Sabi and we can clearly feel the evening temperatures dropping. With winter around the corner we have some interesting seasonal changes taking place, including the cold blooded reptiles searching for safe and secure places to hibernate during the cold winter months.


Coming back from Earth Lodge one night I saw eyes reflecting in the spotlight and I thought it might be a nightjar; but to my surprise it was a beautiful Spotted Bush Snake.

I decided to make use of my 105mm f2.8 macro lens to get a nice close-up image of its face, trying to capture some action of the snake’s sensing tongue.

Due to the darkness and low light I decided to push the ISO up to 1600 and set the camera to “spot metering” mode. To ensure that the shutter speed wouldn’t be too slow and to create the effect of only the head of the snake being in focus, I set the aperture to f5.6 and under-exposed the image by -2 stops.

Ideally with such close-ups and in such low light conditions it is advisable to use a tripod for stability, but with the snake moving around I rather hand-held the camera and hoped that the built in ‘vibration reduction’ system in the lens would do what it was designed for.

Be sharp out there!

Wim Vorster

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