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Archive for Sunday, June 27, 2004

Trick yields slithery photo sans bite

June 27, 2004

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Photographer: Thad Allender

Camera: Nikon D1X

Lens: 17-35mm

ISO: 200

Shutter: 1/320

Aperture: f9

The great photojournalist Robert Capa once said, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough."

That theme ran through my head again and again as I drove west to Sharon Springs in May to photograph the 13th annual Rattlesnake Roundup. The assignment posed one giant technical problem: How do I photograph the poisonous snakes up close without getting bit? Shooting the snakes from a safe distance would only be interesting for a short time.

I decided that, in order to get "close enough," I would need a remote trigger to trip my camera's shutter. I found a long metal pole nearby, secured my camera with a clamp to the pole and attached my remote trigger to the camera. I built what is referred to as a "camera on a stick."

As a Western Diamondback slithered through the grass, I maneuvered the camera standing 6 feet away. The photograph above was shot with a wide-angle lens about a foot away from the snake's head.

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