*Disclaimer:  This post has a happy ending!*

I hate snakes, let me repeat, I HATE SNAKES!  At least I did until today.  Last week Sarah and I went to the Academy of Science, as you know, and we saw entirely too many behind glass cages.  Even behind a glass case, ugghhhhhh, ewww, nasty!  Those three words come to mind along with goosebumps and that tangly dance people do when they don’t like snakes.  Last Wednesday my boss brought  a bug glue trap over to me with a snake stuck in it…que in snake dance and,”Eww Dude get that away from me!”  Amazing how an immobile snake could scare away a man in uniform.  This little guy had found his way onto the glue trap and tried to free himself by wrapping his tail around the opposite side of the box.  Now the snake had gotten both his head and tail stuck on the glue surface.  Poor guy, his lower jaw and tail were completely molded to the inside of the box.  He tried to squirm his way off but a slow death was inevitable.    My boss, fascinated by the dilemma, dissected the box and contemplated ways to remove him from the glue.  We thought it through pretty long and hard and decided maybe we should just put him out of his misery.  Using surgical tools would only cut away his skin and then he would most likely bleed to death and soaking him in water would run the risk of drowning him.

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Since putting him out of his misery was basically our only option I thought, what would I want before I die….TO BE HDR’ed!!!  I told him not to kill him, I wanted to HDR him first.  I stared at him for a while and started to feel horrible for him.  This is the most inhumane way to die, he was suffering staring at all kinds of food around him but could not eat it.  I started to empathize for him and actually touched him thinking maybe my body warmth may give him some hope.  Instead he squirmed harder and faster.  There had to be a way to remove him.  I googled, “How to remove a snake from a glue trap”, and found some hope!

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Vegetable oil!  Turns out this is actually a humane way to catch snakes!  This blog tells you how you can catch snakes with glue traps and then take them out into the wild and safely remove them!  Thank goodness!  So now I could kill two birds with one stone, I could HDR him AND save him!

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With a face like that, how couldn’t I save him!  I made the photo shoot short, only took 5 shots (times 5 for the bracketing).  I ran to the cupboard and grabbed the vegetable oil and started working.   I figured the best place would be my wifes pillow (I actually did it outside, I just wanted to see if she read my posts, hehe, we’ll find out)!  I took him outside and poured about a tablespoon of oil around him.  I moved the trap back and forth to let the oil move all around the adhere areas.  After a couple seconds I assisted him scale by scale with the smooth side of the butter knife.  After freeing his tail, I slammed the knife into the soil and directed his tail to the handle.  He wrapped his tail around the knife and started to pull the rest of his body off of the glue.  Fascinating!  He was a strong lil guy.  He struggled with it for about 5 minutes so I gave him a little more assistance.  After a couple more pulls he was off!

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Lived another day!  I am assuming this happens often, I had to repeat the process Sunday afternoon over drill weekend.  Two snakes stuck to a glue trap in one week!

The morale of the story: “HDR SAVES LIVES!!!”

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Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.
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