Leaving the Desert

Have you ever heard the harsh, dry rattle of a rattlesnake in a movie or TV show? How it starts slowly before speeding up menacingly, warning that you have seconds or less before a strike?

I heard that sound for myself on the last day of my trip to Tucson, Ariz. I heard it from about five feet in front of me from the ground and reacted probably even before I had locked eyes on the rattler, coiled in defense. It was only about a foot and a half long, but the valley I was hiking in got a good sample of what my yells sound like, and my heart hammered and my lungs gasped as if I had already sprinted two football fields away.

It crept off to the left. I stood motionless for several moments. Then I walked slowly forward before once again hearing that terrifying sound, this time from the right. I decided I’d had enough hiking for the day. Light rain started to fall.

I’m back in Missouri now following this trip. These are some images I took after the excursion to Nogales, including the newest additions to my continuing series, Dinky Desert Flowers, and some of my first attempts at street photography. I didn’t get any of the snake, unfortunately, because I didn’t want to take my eyes off of it even to reach for my camera.

Street photography’s a different beast than newspaper photography, come to find out, and I look forward to the experience and practice I need to get better at it.

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These wacky birds were really beat up, with messed-up feathers and broken toes, and they all kept looking up in the same direction before calling out piercingly in unison every few moments.
These wacky birds were really beat up, with messed-up feathers and broken toes, and they all kept looking up in the same direction before calling out piercingly, in unison, every few moments.

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