Sunday, January 09, 2005

Naked in the Kudzu

"Snake in the Grass" by Wes Aldridge

This was a freshly shed rattlesnake skin that I came across walking around the old Confederate Civil War tunnel that gave my hometown the name of Tunnel Hill. The skin was at least 10-feet long, maybe longer. I couldn't tell because one end was tucked away in a crack of the stonework that formed the side of the tunnel. I thought it was a really cool visual because it was massive and meant there was a gigantic snake crawling around somwhere in the kudzu around me. I guess this kind of thing excites me. There is just something forever attractive to me when it is wrapped in the unknown.

I got as close to the skin as I could and the texture of it and the surrounding grass was beautiful. Even the position of the sun and the way the colors contrasted were totally right. So, there was my shot... fairly detailed. I could have stepped back several feet and shot the full-size frame with the entire skin, but the detail was simply marvelous.

Just imagine standing in the kudzu and feeling something brush by your foot. You watch the leafy-green vines rustle and move slightly. You don't make any sudden moves because you aren't sure what is being cloaked by the foilage. Then, you catch a glimpse of what looks like a rope sliding slowly and gently over a piece of the vines. Take a deep breath and let nature run its course, and hopefully not take a bite out of you in the process. After a few seconds you see that the rattler is inching its way into a hole between some rocks a few feet from where you stand. As the creature slithers away into darkness, he leaves a reminder behind: his shed skin.