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.