Some Days!!

04th June 2010
Well my trip to Stannage edge in Derbyshire turned instead to a trip to Woodhall Spa. I had in my mind a picture of old mill stones caught in the first light of the sun, but, it also dawned on me that as we are now in Summer, these stones could well be engulfed by bracken. I decided that my best bet would be postpone these trips until the autumn.

I considered Woodhall Spa a safe bet for snakes at this time of the year and If I got there early enough I could take some landscape images at Kirkstead Abbey, or what remains of it. I arrived at the abbey at 4.30am after a 3.00am alarm and all was going well. The sun really lit up the golden sandstone that is used in a lot of the buildings around this area. See gallery for example image.

I then headed off to the snake site. The sun was up and within an hour it had lit up the heather and gorse bank where adders usually bask. No adders where to be seen. I then proceeded to do circuits of the site, each time expecting the snakes to have appeared, and still no snakes. I was taking all the usual precautions, the main one being to walk with almost no footfall as the slightest vibration is picked up by the snake and they disappear. I eventually gave up at 10am and headed back home. I believe that the absence of snakes may have been due to the exceptionally warm weather of the previous day, I can only assume that they hadn't cooled off sufficiently to require them to bask and warm back up. If anyone can tell me if this is the case or other factors may be in play please drop me a line.

The good thing about the reserve at Woodhall Spa is that it does give you other options. I did happen upon one extremely grumpy Grass snake (see image below) Who flattened himself out and hissed at me! I then spent ten minutes following the Damsel and Dragonflies around. Images in recent work gallery.

The day wasn't a total waste as I am reasonably pleased with my Kirkstead Abbey shot and Grass snake. I would also note here that when imaging animals the welfare of the animal should always come first. I never remove or manipulate the animals in my shots in any way, although I have seen images in the past where this has clearly been done. I backed off from my Grumpy Grass snake as soon as he let me know he didn't want me there, and he was left to get on with his day. I will occasionally temporarily relocate insects to enhance the shot but they are always returned to their preferred location.

Enjoy the Galleries and your comments are as ever welcome!






Scott


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