Water Moccasin At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC

Hopeland Water Moccasin


Water Moccasin at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina

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I felt like I needed to go down by the water near the swamp’s edge in Hopeland Gardens the morning I composed First.  That area, just before the wooden bridge closest to Whisky Road, is not some place I usually go, but something told me that I should (even if it was for nothing more than to see if there was anything worthy of pointing a lens at).  On my way down the hill I scared a snake, but it didn’t go far and was trying to be still even though most of its body was exposed.  Since it was going away from me, I couldn’t see its eyes, and I didn’t feel like there was a composition worth pursuing.  It looked like it could be a water moccasin, but I figured it was probably a water snake.  After never even seeing a snake the entire time I’ve created there, I couldn’t convince myself that it was a venomous one.  I didn’t even think about it the rest of the time I was exploring other areas, but on my way back from the Rye Patch, coming around from the other side, I wondered if it was still there.  When I reached the area I was in earlier in the morning, I looked down and saw the snake once again.  It had moved up away from the water and was laying partially in the sun with about half of its body in shade.  I decided to see if I could tell what it was so I snuck down the hill a little closer to it and used the lens to magnify its eye.  It was a water moccasin!  A fat one (obviously it has been eating well).



Macro Water Moccasin at Hopeland Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina
Mug Shot

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I continued to carefully get closer and closer to the snake trying not to scare it as well as being VERY cautious.  I moved slowly and always kept on eye on it.  I was close enough to turn the lens horizontally for my Mug Shot composition.


I have some stock images of it that are within three to four feet from it, but without snake boots I was starting to get a bit nervous.  If I could have easily escaped, I might have been a little braver and possibly got even closer.  BUT, I had a HUGE disadvantage with the tree knees all over the place and the fact that I would have to go backwards up a fairly steep hill covered in slippery pine needles.  I had made up my mind that if it came at me, I was going to abandon the tripod and camera and come back for it later.  Trying to pick that up and get away from an angry water moccasin at the same time would have only made matters worse.


So if anyone was curious about the accuracy of the warning posters in the information areas, I can present proof that there are indeed venomous snakes in Hopeland Gardens.  I will now need to be MUCH more aware of what’s on the ground especially while exploring near the swampy areas.  Either that, or start wearing my snake boots.


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Author: Steven Dillon

Discover behind-the-scenes details, aesthetic decisions, artistic visions, and compositional choices for my pieces in The Artist’s Story posts.

2 thoughts on “Water Moccasin At Hopeland Gardens In Aiken, SC”

  1. Beautiful picture. Nice example of that green color morph. I like your story. I have been in that place. For a moment I felt the heat and the damp in my living room.

    And then you wrote “poisonous”. Water moccasins are not poisonous. You could eat one if you wanted to do so.

    Water moccasins are venomous.

    Please, make the change, and restore the ambience to your story. Thank you!

    1. Catherine,
      Thank you for looking and commenting. Most dictionaries consider “poisonous” and “venomous” as synonyms. Even so, I have updated the blog per your suggestion. 🙂

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