I was a bit disappointed with my photos from the Vermilion River Reservation nature tail hike when I first looked at them last night. This morning, well, I like 'em better. Lighting conditions made proper exposure difficult and not very successful on the shots I had highest hopes for. A few others were saved with a little cooking in Photoshop. Here are my best results from the day. Not too bad considering they were in the woods using a handheld telephoto –no tripod– sometimes with mosquitoes buzzing around. I'm working on rationalizations to make the photos more acceptable to my own standards!
What sort of snake is this? We have black snakes with red bellies called Red Bellied Black Snake (original isn't it??). Did this have a gold belly?
This looks to be a black rat snake which one online guide says has a range of, "New England south to North Carolina and Georgia (inland), west through Illinois to Iowa, and south to northern Louisiana." It was a long one, I'm guessing about four feet — and they can get up to a shade over six feet long! Underside was lighter but I'm not sure of coloration. Beautiful animal, though! — JG
Beautiful photos, especially the snake.