An Indian summer of adder photography

It’s hard to believe that it’s mid October out there. The sun is still shining and the last few weeks have felt more like mid summer. This strange (but nice, I’m not moaning!) weather has an impact on the behaviour of many species and some which would normally be slowing down for hibernation over winter are still in full swing. I’ve been taking advantage of this by visiting a few local patches in Norfolk to get a few bonus adder photography days in. As with photographing many species, field craft plays a large role in photographing adders. First you need to know where to look; good areas to start your search are heathlands, rough open countryside and woodland edge habitats. When you’ve found a habitat you think might be suitable, you need to start thinking about what kind of cues would make an adder disappear. Adders are very sensitive to disturbance which means that noise or vibrations – including heavy footsteps – will send them into hiding before you even see them. They also generally bask close to vegetation so that they can quickly retreat to a safe area if they feel threatened. Therefore, if you want any chance of spotting an adder its best to walk slowly and quietly scanning for adders basking in open areas which the sun can penetrate through to. Adders are also very well camouflaged so take care to scan very slowly as it is all too easy to get close to one only to see the flick of a tail disappearing before you manage to get a shot. Telephoto lens are a good choice for photographing this species as they enable you to keep a distance whilst still capturing the full detail of the adder. Photographing from a distance means that the adder is more likely to feel less threatened and stick around for the shoot, and also means that you’re not getting too close and risk getting bitten. Although I won’t be running any more one day adder photography courses this year I will be starting again in spring 2012. Subscribe to my newsletter to get updates on when I will be running these courses.

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