It was a cool and wet morning on a paddle at Wyaralong dam that I came across this beautiful big python resting in the fork of a tree. It wasn’t too concerned about me being there but kept a cautious eye on me as I approached. Naturally I had to get up nice and close but trying not to disturb the animal too much.
What you can’t see from this photo is that the tree it is perched in is about 100 meters from the nearest land, curled neatly in a fork about 2 meters from the surface of the water. It was a little tricky maneuvering around with a light breeze blowing from the east which would blow my kayak past the tree and a light rain which meant I was trying to keep my camera gear dry-ish as well.
After a few drifts past I put an anchor down upwind of the tree and allowed anough line out to get to the approximate distance out I wanted. I still needed to steer somewhat as the wind would shift regularly and I would drift around in an arc but at least I wasn’t having to do large circles anymore. For a while the snake was just watching me but eventually decided that there was somewhere it should be (prefereably away from me I guess). It slowly inched down the tree looking for a place to enter the water before deciding to to try the braches out to the side.
This neccessitated a quick change of vantage point so I dropped the anchor line (with a float on the end so I could come back and retrieve it) and made my way around to the other side of the tree. You can see in this photo that the rain has started to come down a little heavier now. I usually have my camera in a specially made rain cover when needed on the kayak and most of the time the camera is mounted on a ball head attached to the deck. This works really well for water birds but due to the height of the snake and how much I was drifting I was hand holding for most of these and so I ditched the rain cover and just draped a small tarp over the top which made it much easier to get it on and off the mount when I needed to move the kayak.
In the end it made its way down to the water and swam off to another tree somewhere, I followed it for a little while but then left it in peace to enjoy the rest of the morning.
Photographing some a kayak certainly does pose some logistical challenges and a fair degree of risk to your gear if you are not a confident paddler but it does offer a unique perspective and some opportunities you would otherwise never have. I plan to record a video sometime of my setup and how I go about capturing these images – let me know in the comments if that is something you might find useful.