12 Aug 14. For those of you who don't like reptiles, consider this an "R" rated image; you've been forewarned. This submission is one with which I spent considerable time trying to get the very best portrait of this individual that I possibly could, which was something of a challenge as I needed to emphasize the yellow of the individual while not affecting the yellow in the surroundings. After finally achieving what I felt was going to be the best I could do, I made my normal two copies converting one each to creative and B&W. It wasn't until I had made that final version, the B&W, that I realized how powerful the B&W image would be. So I decided I'd share that version of the portrait instead of the full color version. When first we started working on the house I frequently saw deer and on one occasion a black bear sow with cub on the property. After we moved in we saw fewer and fewer deer, likely do to Maggie, but an occasional something else, like a beautiful coyote walking down the drive last year. This year has been very different, with lots more birds than we've ever seen before, a bunny, a raccoon, both quite recently, and several snakes. This particular subject was resting on the side of the yard and was one of three I saw on the same day. I was photographing some of the wild flowers when I spotted them. The first two noticed me first and made rapid departures, but this one somehow missed my presence until it was too late and so froze hoping, I suspect, that I wouldn't notice it. But I did and began taking shots as I got closer and closer. The snake didn't twitch a muscle, but kept staring intently at me. I shot for maybe 10 minutes before repositioning the camera to shoot a blossom. In the instant that I took my eye off of the snake, it departed, literally in a fraction of a second. It was there, and then it was gone. All I saw was the last couple inches of the tail entering the brush. Had it not been for the rustle of the dried leaves, I wouldn't have known it was departing. These are truly beautiful animals, almost dark navy blue black with stripes of either yellow, in this case, or red and a hint of blue around the mouth; having one rest motionless as you study the lovely marking is quite a treat. Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 400; 1/125 sec @ f / 8.