But the target of this trip was the Round-leaved Orchid, and I knew it would be growing in a situation with very poor light. Hence, the tripod was lugged along. So, when the snake came to light, I was able to set the camera rig up quickly a few feet out from the animal. This was in a heavily forested situation with poor light, and I wouldn't have been able to get decently crisp images of the snake - or orchid - by handholding the camera.
So, the above shot was taken with my Canon 5D Mark III with Canon's 430 Speedlite attached to the hotshoe. The Speedlite was muffled with a Lumiquest Softbox flash diffuser, which is a great aid in softening the flash's glare. Insofar as the snake's composition, I adjusted the camera's focus point so that it was towards the image field's bottom left corner. That way, the focal point was the animal's face, with the body extending into the background. The camera's settings were as follows:
1/8 sec. exposure
Since I had the stability of a tripod, very slow shutter speeds could be used, especially as there was no wind or movement of the subject. Even though the camera will deal well with much higher ISO settings, which allow for faster shutter speeds, I wanted to keep the ISO low for maximum image quality. Note how the snake's face is crisp ( as always, click on the photo to enlarge) but the animal's body quickly diffuses into blurriness.
3.2 second exposure
Because of the much greater depth of field produced by the greatly stopped down aperture, we can now see the snake's body in far greater detail, and this shot, to me, is vastly improved over the first image. But without benefit of a tripod, there would have been no possible way to make the image at such a ridiculously slow shutter speed. Any movement of the subject would have ruined the shot as well.