Snakes can be difficult to find and even more difficult to photograph in an attractive setting. So when Marco found this female grass snake beside a beautiful stream in Lombardy, Italy, he knew he had struck gold. The snake stayed relaxed and motionless - her head held in profile - while Marco set up his tripod to take her portrait. She was probably watching for amphibians such as frogs (grass snakes can swim) and just didn't notice the human behind her. Marco took the decision to use a slow shutter speed to capture the movement of the water. 'I was enchanted by the scene,' he says. 'The beautiful reptile, the polished pebbles, the red roots and the flowing water created the image. I merely had to look in the viewfinder and press the shutter.'
Nikon D700 + 70-200mm f2.8 lens; 1.6 sec at f18; ISO 200; Manfrotto 190PROB tripod + 804CR2 head.
Seisa Valley, Piedmont, Italy