My award winning shot from 2014 was up to May this year the only time I have been able to shoot fighting adder males in the mating season. Compostion-wise, light-wise and color-wise is hard to do it better than this 2014 shot, but my experience from My 5th this year still offered a very special situation.
It was May 5th this spring. I was slowly & carefully checking around my local "adder field" hoping to find adders in a mating related situation, and spotted a grey male down in the tall, dry grass. I sat down quietly and waited, and after a while I saw the brown female too (very hard to spot in the brown grass). He was trying to seduce the old lady by his characteristic staccato movements over her body. Sitting completely still I then spotted another male, and another and another and another, …. altogether 5 males in the situation and hoped that at least one of them will challenge the casanova with the female…. and patiently waiting is the key to photographic success with these animals : Finally one of the males find the romantic couple and a fight between the rivals starts immediately. This is not a mean battle with bites and dirty tricks, it`s a gentleman's wrestling match where the main issue is to press the rival to the ground from their common entwined, upright positions. It`s hard to shoot because this is happening very quickly in the tall, dry grass and the focusing business is "complicated". The light is also hard on the light surfaces of the dry vegetation.
Then suddenly a third male is entering the combat and for couple of magic minutes I have :
3 males in one fight !!
Never saw this before
All pics are shot with D4s, 200-400 4,0 at 400, f/6,3, 1/1250, ISO 280-640
Deep in the dry grass a male adder (grey) is busy trying to seduce a female (brown)
A second male in entering the stage and the rivaling males starts fighting
Suddenly a third male is joining the combat