Had a great holiday weekend camping and climbing with friends in Penitente Canyon recently. Penitente Canyon is an incredible place to rock climb, a magical canyon with rock buttresses and….rattlesnakes, lots of rattlesnakes. We had 6 young kids in our group, and almost every trip down the trail resulted in a rattlesnake sighting. I had no problem avoiding snakes on the trail, after all, it is their canyon. But I had to draw the line when one showed up in camp.
This snake was curled up close enough to camp that one 9 year old girl almost stepped on it. That was it, I’m all for the environment, but not when it is going to cause serious injury. I decided my best “low impact” way of dealing with this reptile was hitting him with 400 watts of light from my Quadra. I figured this snake would think he woke up in the lighting storm of the century, and scurry off under some rock.
My first attack was with bare bulb lighting. This definitely was blinding the snake temporarily, but the light looked too harsh for a good shot. Out came the Lastolite TriGrip to shoot through, a great, quick way to soften the light. Of course I volunteered my wife for the gripping duty..”sweetheart, do you mind getting closer with the diffuser, I don’t think the snake will strike”. Cree (my wife) is always up for a challenge, so with her gripping I got a decent shot of this snake. We strobed this ‘buzzworm’ until I was almost out of power, but he was just not moving. Plan B, make a ‘no walk’ zone around the snake and let him be. The snake might have beat the lighting attack, but I know if I dropped the Quadra on him I would have won.