Those of you who follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and my blog always respond positively to the cute and cuddly animals I post. The baby snub-nosed monkeys from yesterday and the baby koala a couple of days ago are, indeed, adorable. Snakes are a different matter. I'm posting this image because it is extremely rare to see black mambas mating. At the time, my guide, who had been working in the field for 15 years, had never seen it. Africans are terrified of snakes, and for good reason. A bite from a mamba means you will be comatose in an hour, and without an antidote you're dead shortly thereafter. My driver wouldn't let us start shooting until he had backed into the thicket because these snakes are very aggressive. If they came toward our open Land Rover, he wanted to be in a position to make a fast getaway. I took this shot with a 500mm Canon f/4 telephoto plus a 2x teleconverter, giving me 1000mm of focal length. Since the depth of field would be very shallow, and it was essential that both heads be sharp, I opted for an aperture of f/14 at 1000 ISO. The mating pair were in deep shade, and that meant I had to use flash to provide enough illumination for the small aperture plus a reasonable shutter speed to prevent blur. The combination of the 2x teleconverter and the Canon 5D Mark II I was using at the time meant autofocus was disabled (because the two f/stop light loss from the converter meant the maximum aperture was f/8). Therefore, as I balanced the large and heavy lens while handholding it, I also had to manually focus. Not an easy thing to do. I shot this picture in Botswana.