Bruno D'Amicis - Seven steps
While in the Kafa Region of Ethiopia last February, one morning I set off very early with a local hunter to look for water buffaloes. We walked for four hours in a huge wetlands, among a maze of reeds and claustrophobic vegetation. We didn’t succeed and I was exhausted very early – actually, much worse than I had ever felt. I was feverish and felt like throwing-up: the first signals of an illness that would have knocked me out later and kept me in the bed for a week. While on the way back, now too confused to use my brain properly and barely able to put one foot in front of the other, I’ve almost stepped on this snake. It was super-well camouflaged and so beautiful. I love snakes and, despite my conditions, I took my camera for some shots. It was also a very relaxed snake and I had immediately took some close-ups of the head with my macro lens, some less than 20 cm from its tip. Then, I kind of “woke up” and realized that I was in front of a mamba, one of the most infamous and potentially dangerous snakes in the world. In Africa, its “cousin”, the black mamba, is called the “seven step snake”, as the poison is so potent that you only have seven steps of life left. Therefore, I mounted my camera with a wide lens on my tripod, set the exposure and focused at the lens minimum distance, closed the tripod legs, using it as a pole, and shot with the self-timer to take some wide close-up of it without the risk of worsening my already awful conditions. After a couple of frames, the snake started moving into the bushes and my body had enough of exercise. One hour later, we reached our camp and I dropped on the bed with high fever. I got Giardia, but I would have learned it only several days later.
Location: Ethiopia, Kafa
Tags: bruno damicis, dendroaspis angusticeps, eastern, ethiopia, green, kafa, mamba, rainforest, snake