A Rough Green Snake at Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland

This rough green snake slithered out of the brush and across the trail in front of me as I was coming to the end of a walk at the Patuxent Research Refuge. It was towards the end of summer when the weather had started cooling off a little and leaves were beginning to fall off the trees. The beautiful green shades of the snake’s body contrasted nicely with the reds and browns of the wet trail, so I pulled out the camera and took a few shots before it made its way into the undergrowth.

Photographing Rough Green Snake

I loved the way this image came out. The skin of the snake is iridescent and looks smooth as Lalique glass. During our many visits to the refuge, we have only seen a few snakes. Twice we have seen brown water snakes, indeed one-time son disturbed a small one when he was using stepping stones to cross a small pond near the visitors center. The second time we saw a very large brown snake when we took the tourist bus around the refuge. While there are rattlesnakes in the more remote parts of Maryland most snakes you would encounter here are harmless. Ringnecks and black rat snakes are among the most common and we get those in our garden fairly regularly. The most disconcerting thing about them is that you can walk right up to them without realizing it. More than once I have nearly trodden on large black rat snakes whilst concentrating on taking a photo of something in the garden. Photographing rough green snakes is fairly easy if they pause for a while. They tend to be very docile and will let you get pretty close, as you can see from this image. This snake must have been fairly mature, it was a couple of feet long and I needed the full width of the wide-angle lens to get it in the shot.

Photographic Details

This photo is a three exposure HDR composite taken with my trusty Pentax k-r. The light was getting a little low in the forest and so I’m happy this came out as well as it did. The post-processing was done in Photomatix and Corel Photo-Paint.

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