As I’m used to approach butterflies carefully, I often meet other creatures like snakes. A few days after arrival in the Ardeche I met a grown ‘Couleuvre de Montpellier’ (Malpolon monspessulanus) which had a length of about 2 metres. The snake was too busy hunting lizards that he did not hear (feel) me coming. I was fascinated by the beauty of his skin and I wanted to make some photo’s but at the moment I put down my tripod quietly, the snake jumped away in such a high speed that he made me shiver.
My second meeting with a snake was down in the valley. I wanted to photograph the old bridge but the path downhill to the bridge was made by and suitable for mountain goats! The thought of climbing up again through this path (it was bloody hot) brought up the ‘tremendous’ idea to walk through the creek to the other, more easygoing path. That was a big mistake as the rocks became bigger and instead of walking I was climbing and jumping. Suddenly I saw a little snake in the water. Comparing to the ‘couleuvere’ this was a baby snake of only 50 centimetres. On a rock beneath me the snake came out of the water for a rest. So, I decided to climb to the other side. I jumped on a little (slippery) stone and very easily I was on the other side and photographed this snake (natrix maura).
Canon 7D; tripod; remote release; 350mm, 1/160s at F9 and ISO100
On my way back I stepped on the same stone but my feet immediately slipped into the water and for a second I made some strange moves to avoid falling down in the water.
Fortunately I re-found my balance and with one wet foot/leg I continued my journey through the canyon. At one point the creek was 5 metres below and I had to jump to the other side.....the other side was a steep rock.....although I thought that I had almost reached the end I doubted whether to jump or not. First I threw my tripod to the other side (unfortunately my connection system from Novoflex did not survive this action) and than I jumped. This procedure I had to repeat a few more times before I could see the other path in the distance.....hours has passed in-between and my water bottles were almost empty. Back ‘home’ I was totally exhausted but happy to experienced it.....to jump and walk like a mountain goat!
Ardeche part IV will added soon!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.