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Black beauty

Black beauty
Photo Information
Copyright: Horia Bogdan (horia) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-08-27
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS, Hoya Close-Up 52mm +1, +2, +4
Exposure: f/3.2, 1/40 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Reptiles of Europe [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-09 5:42
Viewed: 3848
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I dug deep into my archives today to post this shot :)
It's been quite a while since i've posted a reptile, so here you have one...just so you won't think i got soft :))

This was taken a year and a half ago, on a trip in Dobrogea (Dobruja), near the coast with the Black Sea. I remember our doubt when seeing this animal :)) My biologist friends and i had never before that point seen such coloration for this snake and we were in doubt if we should catch it or not, without being certain which species it was. In the end, we took a closer look, moving it on this sand trail here and saw that it was nothing more than a Grass Snake - Natrix natrix :)

I did post a little bit different pose from this specimen a while back, but i hope you don't mind that. It's still, until this day, one of the most interesting and beautiful snakes i've seen in the wild.

Hope you'll like it :)

EXIF data :
Camera: Canon S2 IS
Filter: Hoya Close-up +1
Focal Length: 70mm (35mm equiv.)
Shutter Speed: 1/40 sec.
Metering Mode: Pattern
Exposure Bias: -0.33
F-Stop: f/3.2
ISO: 100
Flash: No
Support: on the ground
Weather conditions: setting sun

anel, undoredo, eqshannon, Alex99, fartash, nglen, Maite, Patleboss, Luis52, Silvio2006, cecilia, Jamesp, JoseMiguel, peter_stoeckl, sandpiper2, marhowie, boreocypriensis has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Bufo: Hello Jacobhoria 1 12-12 13:13
To sandpiper2: snakeshoria 1 11-19 13:14
To joey: thanks Joe!horia 5 11-09 14:06
To Maite: the eyeshoria 1 11-09 11:59
To vanderschelden: fergothoria 2 11-09 07:50
To vanderschelden: "capturing"horia 1 11-09 05:58
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-11-09 5:52]

Hello Horia,
Excellent this snake picture. Ideal pose, very viviv attitude, excellent low point of view. Almost like an animated sculpture. And the different grey tones contribute to a very harmonious picture. Bravo

Hello Horia,
I don't know much about snakes but as you mentioned the colour is quite dark for a Natrix natrix.
Indeed, it is a very beautiful snake.
You like to capture them and not only with the camera, don't you?:-) I like the photo 'cause
your snake is overall sharp, it is completely 'in' the image, its pose is great, I do like that eye and the yellowish structure disappearing in the detailed blacks...
Well done.
Have a nice (snake?)weekend!!!

excellent POV,colors and contrast,TFS.

Hello Horia,
You bring here very charming and unique dark snake, with excellent pose!
Outstanding focusing and superb details as usual,
Also, lovely natural colours and suitable exposure.
Very well captured and presented!
TFS and best wishes, my friend
Have a great weekend! :-)

Very clear image of the snake. The message of the snake is clear enough. Made by it's creator to appear scary, it does it's job whether poison or not. Old texts are replete with information about the sinister symbolic of the snake. Fine job.


Very nice shot of a really beautiful color phase of Natrix.

Nice natural light shot. I like the way the reflections on the head contrast with the dark body.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-11-09 9:37]

Hi Horia.
Again very impressive snake shot. You managed to reflect the feeling of danger very well. I think the colour palette and color tone passages have served the key role at a creation of such effect as ell as the shallow impressive DOF. As usual for such subject your low POV is amazing. I also like superb details, sharpness and colour reproduction of the reptile. Well done and kind regards, my dear friend.

Hello Horia
Excellent snake shot :o)
Great focusing,DOF and lighting,
Superb shot,Welldone.

Good Luck

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-11-09 10:43]

Hi Horia. Not too keen on snakes i dont know why. but i must admit its a fine shot. showing the detail in the skin. your image has shrpfocusing and natural colours. with a good low POV. well done TFS. good notes too.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-11-09 11:54]
  • [+]

Hello Horia
Fantastic capture of this terrible reptile with eyes of fury :)
Excellent focus with great sharpness and very good DOF.
My compliments and TFS

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-11-09 11:55]
  • [+]

Hi Horia!
This capture is superb!
I've never heard of a black Grass Snake before!
+++ You've really hit the nail on the head with this one!
Everything about it is full of pure skill: Perfectly composed even when it's pretty hard to compose snake shots. The eye-level POV is very striking and works superbly... you captured this snake in a classic pose.
The exposure has been handled very well and the lighting is just perfect, not producing any OE highlights or annoying shadows.
A top-class DOF that produces the perfectly blurred FG and BG.
As usual, excellent sharpness, detail and clarity.
You are The Snake Man of TN :)
--- Nothing, nothing, nothing!
A top-quality peice of work.
Very well done my friend.
Have a great weekend.

Hello Horia,
C'est encore une magnifique photo que tu nous présente ce soir, techniquement parfaite grâce a un focus irréprochable et a une très bonne profondeur de champs. les couleurs sont superbes et la composition très jolie
bravo et a bientôt,

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2007-11-09 13:31]

Hola Horia. I have allways been facinated by "Snakes" they are a beatiful creatures. This particulas has nice and warm dark colors,and I like the way she is pose for You. Exelent work You have here Horia.
Saludos Luis52.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-11-09 19:30]

Hello Horia

A wonderful low POV on this offering.
The pose is excellent,snakes can be so difficult to focus,the DOF is well handled.
The focus and details are sharp and the texture of the snakeskin shows very well.
The lighting is excellent,the catch light in that shiny dark eye is amazing.
Great job.


Hi Horia, beautiful snake with wonderful dark colors and splendid details, excellent sharpness and lovely blurry BG, very well done, have a great week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-11-10 3:36]

Hi Horia,
Just appreciating this wonderful shot from you. I am on a tour and internet connection comes at a premium here, hence doing a short job. Sorry.

Hello Horia
First I apologise for being a day behind in looking properly at your fantastic picture.
Your dof here is absolutely perfect retaining sharp details throughout the coils of the grass snake. The colours are absolutely perfect.
On a note when I was about 12 years old I went fishing to my local lake which I visited frequently and I was horrified to see snakes swimming in the water..there must have been 10 or more..It scared me so much I packed up and went home and had a look through my enyclopedia to find out that they were in fact grass snakes and also known as the European Water Snake...I still dont know to this day why they all took to the water at the same time..maybe they were courting?..I had never seen them before and knew not of thier existence.
Best regards

A beautiful pose (nice coil) Superb capture of those lovely patterned scales. Excellent muted bg and composition.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-11-10 15:10]

Hello Horia ! I really love the details in the snake scales, great colors and a great catchlight in its eye. Very impressive shot my friend.


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-11-10 18:05]

Hi Horia

Greetings from California!

Great POV - with excellent detail and exposure.


Hello Horia,
Excellent details in the snake!
Good choice of DOF and the low point of view gives an eye-to-eye feeling, I'm not sure if it is pleasant to me, hehehe...
A well composed presentation, effective no-nonsense!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-11-11 0:33]

Hi Horia,
it is indeed a beautiful snake, i love it's markings. Excellent clarity and sharp DOF, but the exposure is particularly good here. that black skin has come out really well. Great job,

hello horia
oh jolie petite bête que je préfère en photo, belle capture photo, bon POV et netteté bonne
merci a toi

Hi Horia,

I don't know how close you were to this snake, it's too close from my perspective - even if it is only a grass snake. It's the perfect pov and dof that make this shot work so well. You have also captured the snake in a nice position, with the coils of his body, and head in the perfect spot.

Kind regards,


Hi Horia,
You really had a big and magnificent S2 archives!
It's so good and enjoyable the DOF here, I like very much the short range of the image in focus, and how the rest blurs inmediately.
The lighting is so nice and produces excellent results on the shining skin of the snake.
Congratulations and thanks to post it.
My best reagrds,

Hello Horia,
a most appealing mixture of weirdness, danger and gentle softness. Perfectly low and close approach, the camera apparently well within reach of the snake's leaping head in the case of an attack. Diving into your archives seems to be quite exciting, and sometimes even scaring - please put on your gloves and go on digging, my friend!
Thank you. My best regards,

I truly appreciate your thoughtful critiques of my photos and I will try to reciprocate... however I don't do very well with snakes and cannot tarry here very long!!!! It is a nice image with good sharpness and light on the head.... there, now I've said it... good bye!!!

TFS... I suppose : )


It isn't that I dislike snakes or wish them any harm... it is just that their unpredictability, quickness and my lack of knowledge makes me very nervous around them... so bye bye.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-11-14 7:27]

You have some interesting shots in you archives, Horia!
Here you show a nice portrait of a N.natrix almost without the yellow ring roung the neck, which is the most common form in Sweden. We also have a totally black (on the dorsal surface) variety that is quite rare.
This fine sharp portrait shows what seems to be an intermediate form in a nice coiled position showing the head and neck with sharp details.
Thanks for sharing this one!
Best wishes, Ivan

Hi Horia

Cool low-down POV and good DOF, composition and sharpness. A great result from the S2.

I'm a bit worried about you moving it when you didn't know what it was! If you ever come to Australia, don't try that. The snakes here bite first and ask questions later :). They are mostly very deadly too!. Having said that, the vast majority slither away when they hear you coming. The exception is the common brown snake, which has a high curiosity and will come and check you out.

Sorry to hear it's cold and misserable in Europe. Here its hot and humid, staying 30 deg C til late at night.

Have fun

Hello Horia,
What makes this one great is the low POV, looks like you got down on the ground with em' :)
Very good detail/sharpness and blurred BG.
I thought it just a tad dark, ergo the WS.
Well done!

  • Great 
  • Bufo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 404 W: 69 N: 951] (4247)
  • [2007-12-12 12:34]
  • [+]

Hi Horia
it's been a while and I hope you're doing well. This picture make sme long for the summer season again, however true winter provides nice photographic conditions as well. A nice low pov provides the best eye contact. Some good stuff.

I see you don't post that much anymore lately. How come? For myself i feel that my quality of my pics is not what I would like to show to other people. I remember you saying something like that you have a preference for composition and art in the image. I feel that too at least. There are so many fine pictures of animals and landscapes I feel sometimes I can hardly add to that stock.
On TN I have seen some pretty nice abstract pictures and ones with a great composition. A.o. are some images of yours. Anyway, whenever I can save some time I will spend some time trying to find nice compositions. Hope to show some in the future....
Best wishes, Jacob

Hello Horia!
A nice capture of the Grass Snake indicating the color variation in this sp. TFS friend.

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