The zigzag dance of rat snakes: Part 2

Auroville or at least where I stayed there, is full of snakes. One evening, after a long tiring day of cycling along the periphery of the township, I returned to my room to plunge my aching body into bed in my rustic room. I had barely closed my eyes when I heard a knock my door. A young, excited boy was asking me to please come back outside, “There are two snakes fighting, bring your camera, its amazing.” I darted out of bed even though this meant assembling my aching body parts into one moving unit all over again. In a daze, I grabbed my camera in whatever mode it was in and ran along with him to the spot. Alas the lens was my 50mm portrait lens. To get up close to the slithery creatures meant courage which I did not have. It was dusk in a shady spot under a large banyan tree, the light was fading, I was sleepy and feeling a bit creepy as well. I took a few shots and then decided this act would last more than a couple of minutes. The room was a five-minute sprint, so I dashed back to and fro with my zoom. That way I could be at a safe distance from the creatures and go about my job with a little more peace of mind. I just wish I’d kept my calm and done a better job.

This was the sharpest in my lot of 20 images. The snakes were in a reverie with fading light to add to my worries.

This was the sharpest in my lot of 20 images. The snakes were in a reverie, moving ever so fast. Then there was the limitation of the 50mm lens plus my fear of getting too close. I had fading light, high ISO and slow shutter speeds adding to my woes.


This is a rare spectacle to watch. Though there was plenty of aggression in the act, I was sure this was how snakes feel love.  A video recording would’ve been apt but flash light might have caused disturbance to them.


This is towards the middle of the act. For a second they’re intertwined standing upright face to face and the next they’re flat on the ground in high-speed action happening mostly around their heads.

This is synchronised dancing at its best better tahn any olympics gold medalist team at work.

This is synchronised dancing at its best; better than any olympics gold medalist team at work.

mating snakes

The greatest zigzag show; these snakes seemed to be in a love-hate relationship!

Love and rats is all we need.

Love and rats is all we need. A 12-year-old French boy from the neighbourhood took the foremost place next to the snakes announcing that they were mating and not fighting. He lives on the property and seemed to be knowledgeable on the subject!

In response to the zigzag challenge on dailypost


About shabnamphoto

I'm a graphic artist with a passion for photography. I like to tell a story with my pictures. Sometimes a picture may speak on its own and at other times it may need an explanation. I'm intrigued by the ordinariness of life and enjoy documenting my life in the light and shadow of what surrounds me. Be it people, landscape, flowers, architecture or birds, the camera helps me see what I wouldn't with my naked eye.
This entry was posted in Landscape, Photo essay, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The zigzag dance of rat snakes: Part 2

  1. Aanchal says:

    Beautiful captures.


  2. suej says:

    Great take on the theme, especially given the constraints of light and lens! Thanks for commenting on my blog, now I’m enjoying your blog as a result!


    • shabnamphoto says:

      That’s great! Though it was hardly my intention, one look at your boat textures and I was reminded of another artist who explored this theme relentlessly on flickr, its wonderful that image you made.


  3. Maverick ~ says:

    Something I’ve not viewed before. 🙂
    Great job under difficult circumstances.


  4. They are definitely not the easiest of subjects to photograph! I think you did a fine job Shabnam. I like how you’ve used motion blurs to really emphasize the action.


    • shabnamphoto says:

      Thanks ever so much Uday, had they been doing anything other than this, I know I would never have been able to get that close…. motion blurs were unintentional I have to admit, infact I was wanting to capture their heads to see what they looked like, that was not possible at slow shutterspeeds no matter how high the ISO…. am glad the blurs work 🙂


  5. Cris says:

    Nice take on the theme. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Pretty cool.

    You’re welcome to come visit my late take on zigzag:


  6. joshi daniel says:

    excellent and so much action 🙂


  7. Mabel Kwong says:

    Great photos on the snake! I think it was a great job that you did given the 50mm lens – a bit fuzzy but you managed to capture them in action. I bet your heart was beating a little when you saw the snakes. Luckily they were too busy with themselves to notice you 🙂


    • shabnamphoto says:

      Oh that’s so nice of you, more than the photos I think its the whole spectacle of it, I’m glad I have these in my collection but I do wish I was a lil more skillful about the settings and you are so right about not being noticed by them, when a crowd arrived I decided to give up… thanks for your visit and kind comment Mabel.


      • Mabel Kwong says:

        It’s always hard to toggle with an SLR camera…so many settings to be mindful of, then there’s the lens… The shots you got were impressive and I liked how you captured them in blurred movement. Gives quite an action-feel to your shots 🙂


  8. Awesome captures, at the right timing and right moment. I am in awe to see them mating like that..the last picture is truly remarkable!


  9. Anil Cm says:

    It is true they were mating!


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