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Thread: Snake Photography

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    Snake Photography

    This might seem like a stupid question but does anybody have any experience with photographing snakes?

    After looking at Lani's thread about that giant snake I am semi interested in maybe trying some, am I crazy?
    I guess I am looking for some interesting subjects and I have not seen many snake photos.

    Paul

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    there have been a few snake shots on here but not many. because they are long more often than not i guess you arent gunna get it all in focus so i'd aim for the head, but thats just like any animal... I'd be interested to know if the pros have any tips too

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    Ive had many encounters with snakes over the years, I live near a river and since I was young have been fascinated with them. I have managed to capture (not catch) a couple, a red belly down the coast and a brown snake at the river near my house. I had my p&s on the first occasion and as you could imagine couldnt get zoomed in enough so I switched to video and recorded it. On both occasions it wasnt the time of year that you’d expect to see them and they were quite slow, the brown had only just come out of hibernation, I walked past it everyday for 3 or 4 days just lying in the sun so was able to get nice and close to it but again chose to film instead. BUT theres no way Id try get to close to one in summer they are so fast its scary, I found a red belly at the beginning of this year out in the open and it took off for the bushes with (silly) me running behind it trying to get my camera out. Once it got to the longer grass it just was not worth risking it.

    If you gonna go looking for them first of all carry a compression bandage, I always have one handy if Im bush walking, to be on the safe side. If you find one stand still and see if you can capture it from where you are cause as soon as you move in most cases they’re good as gone. But all in all I find admiring them from a safe distance is the best way to enjoy them and not put yourself in danger, holding a camera up to your face with a snake near by aint the best idea.

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    two words...Long Lens, .....don't like snakes!
    Cheers David.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Snakes, in my experience, are horribly difficult to photograph well. There are a number of reasons for this:
    • They are increasingly rare. Loss of habitat is one factor, the insane urge sp many people have to kill all snakes on sight is another. (Did you know that more than half of all snakebite events take place when the human is attempting to kill the snake? Morons kill snakes "because snakes are dangerous". Why arew snakes dangerous? Because morons try to kill them.)
    • They tend to be found in sitiuations that do not lend themselves to photography: low down, on a flat surface. If you stoop down to get a better angle, the snake disappears behind the grass. On flat ground, only tall things (like humans) photograph well, as a rule.
    • They are shy and reclusive.
    • You need to be careful about getting too close.
    • Perhaps most of all, they are the wrong damn shape! Snakes are not even remotely photograph-shaped! You can zoom in on the head and chop off the majority of the tail and body, or you can try to get the whole creature in frame and wind up with an almost unrecognisable skinny brown streak running through the centre of an otherwise uninteresting photograph.


    Herps do most of their photography either in captivity or using methods of questionable ethical validity (like the eskyfull of ice trick - catch the reptile, stick it on ice for an hour till it's almost frozen stiff, then pop it back out into the blazing sun and take a photograph while it is still cold and sluggish).

    Personally, I'm not generally interested in pictures of captive wildlife - contradiction in terms, isn't it: if it's captive then it ain't wild, and if it ain't wild then it ain't wildlife - nor am I interested in dodgy stuff like the esky trick. So I get to photograph very few snakes, and most of my snake pictures are not much good. This is a pity: they are astonishingly beautiful creatures.

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    Here is one of the few I am reasonably happy with. A magnificent creature that I will never forget meeting.



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    I do remember seeing a documentary about a snake expert/photographer. He manged to get some amazing photos of a cobra before it bit him. He was bitten twice by venomous snakes in the documentary. Nice shots though. I guess it just depends how keen you are for a good shot.
    I'm a real snake lover and I look forward to taking photos of snakes when I get back in Australia but I think I'll be doing it at a snake farm or zoo. I'll either use my 90mm macro or my 80-200mm lens unless I want a shot of the whole snake.
    Like any subject, I think it's best to research the snakes you want to photograph to better understand them and hopefully capture their characteristics.

    Good safety advice though. I've had two family members bitten by snakes, one a brown snake and one a tiger snake. Fortunately they both survived and those events sparked a real fascination for me.


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    Snake Photography Made Easy !!

    Hi Paul

    I can feel the excitement and curiosity you must be having about snake photography. Its quite an interesting subject and fascinating too.

    But I must warn you that its highly dangerous as well. If you follow the rules of the safety book, then you are safe. I have written some material about it on the following links, please see them all:

    http://flickr.com/photos/wildhiss/

    http://snakecell.org/blog/

    http://snakecell.org/

    With regards

    Capt Suresh Sharma
    INDIA

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    I think one of the most difficult things as Tony pointed out is, they're simply the wrong shape for photography. Nothing wrong with taking shots of captive animals though, caged or not they're still the same incredible creatures, with all the same instincts. Your encounters with them in the wild will likely be very limited and potentially dangerous too.
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    Before venturing out to do Joe Blake's Portrait session I suggest watching this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H0e3Ak7mkc

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    Hi Paul, I dont really know much about photographing them but having kept and handled snakes for several years in the past, you need to remember that all 3 tasmanian species are highly venomus and potentially deadly, more often than not they will dissapear quickly but if cornered may attack, as someone already suggested if looking for snake always carry 2 crepe badnages with you and know how to use them just in case. I'm sure you will have fun trying to find them and get photos during summer.

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    Havent had a lot of experience with snakes and what I have had has been with the underwater type. Below is an olive brown sea snake - about 5x as deadly as a taipan but has teeth only about 5-7mm long. Wetsuit is almost thicker than that.



    Taken with a Nikonos 4A with Kodachrome 25ASA film (transparency) fitted with a #2 Macro tube. In simple terms the snake was about 6" (150mm) from the lens face.
    Last edited by MarkW; 25-07-2008 at 3:58pm.

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    This is my baby
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    Whilst not recommending this on our native fauna, a spade seperates the head from the body, should you get into strife! maybe add one to your kit!

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbax View Post
    Whilst not recommending this on our native fauna, a spade seperates the head from the body, should you get into strife! maybe add one to your kit!
    Duh. Best way to kill yourself there is - assuming you want to die rather slowly and very painfully of snakebite.

    I'll say it again: Most snakebite victims are bitten while trying to kill a snake. Leave it alone and it will leave you alone.

    Cold, hard, fact of life. The death and injury figures are unambiguous - though the term "victim" is not appropriate here, as the deaths and injuries caused by trying to kill snakes are entirely self-inflicted.

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    Ausphotography Addict Richard Hall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbax View Post
    Whilst not recommending this on our native fauna, a spade seperates the head from the body, should you get into strife! maybe add one to your kit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbax View Post
    Whilst not recommending this on our native fauna, a spade seperates the head from the body, should you get into strife! maybe add one to your kit!


    If your looking to start somewhere shooting some reptiles, snakes or lizards I'd recommend joining an Australian reptile forum and finding info about a herp society/club. You'll meet members who are passionate about this kind of stuff and are very knowledgeable on local species. Most of these guys also regularly take time to go herping (exploring areas looking for local wildlife and id'ing them, kinda like bird watching lol but up close). Not to sure what the scene is like over in Tassie though, or actually how many snakes you have roaming around there lol assuming its way to cold, I know you do get quite a few snow skinks up that way, heres something I found http://www.australianreptileforum.co...ead.php?t=4253

    Really your best bet though would to be just to visit a wildlife park, most places should have a reptile house or something similar where you can take your sweet time to getting just the right shot (they're fast little buggers) plus you don't have to worry about anything since your separated between glass obviously , Good luck

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    Good for you Paul, snakes are wonderful creatures and make for great photos, my very best advice is to observe first and takes the shots later, things to be very mindful of are:-
    #1......... always leave the snake an escape route away from you, in the first instance they will usually just want to get away from a perceived threat .
    #2 ........ always have a plan for what you will do if you get tagged, so compression bandages and knowing exactly where you are located so you can call for help, so check your mobile has signal in the area you are working.
    #3......... if possible don't do it alone, take a friend along to help in case things go wrong.
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    After growing up in the country and having a couple of close encounters with snakes, the best thing to shot them with is a shotgun or a 500mm lens.

    The most important thing is not to go alone, all ways have help close on hand and a photo of the snake is the best thing to help you get treated right if you know what I mean.
    Ty

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    There is actually no need to identify what snake you were bitten by here in Tassie as the same antivenom is used for all 3 species, yes were are very poor in snake species here in little Tassie unfortunatly but what we lack in variety we make up for in all 3 being highly venomus

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