Last week, photographer friend, Emmett, and I traveled to Sanibel Island where the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located. Normally a very busy place, in terms of wildlife activity, not so much was going on when we arrived early in the morning. We did get a few shots of white pelicans, yellow-crowned herons, a few ospreys….and also a manatee (I had no idea they were so big!). The highlight of the day (for me) was coming across this 3′-4′ Eastern Rat Snake. They are harmless to humans and prey mostly on small varmints, frogs, lizards, roaches (yay!), and the like. For maybe a minute, this one slithered into an open, sun-lit spot where the lighting was about as good as it gets! I positioned the sun to my back, focused (shooting at about 7fps), hit the shutter trigger, and, poof, just like that, he was gone. It dawned on me once again that good photography, oftentimes, is a matter of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment. I thanked him for posing for me and sent him on his way with a “Happy Hunting” message. What beautiful creatures there are, living all around us. I hear people say all the time, “The only good snake is a dead snake!” Actually, the overwhelming number of snakes in Florida are harmless, though there are a few that are poisonous (cottonmouth, coral, rattlesnake, etc.). So please, when you see one of these beauties, remember that, in all likelihood, it’s harmless. Just step around them and let them do what they do best: control rat and roach populations! Hope you enjoy!