I know the thought of snakes doesn't make most people melt from cuteness overload but if I can keep you on this page long enough and if I can do my job right, hopefully by the end of this collection you will be at least a little bit curious.
The high desert is a part of this world’s natural history I didn't expect to be so abundant and rich. It’s an environment that at first sight looks dry, hot and empty but as soon as you look a little closer and wait a little longer the dirt starts crawling with life. Life that adapted to survive in extreme heat with very little water most of the time. That life mastered the art of camouflage and patience evolving into some of the most beautiful animals on earth, once you get over the stigma.
Venomous reptiles took this evolution to the extreme and witnessing a wild birth of three tiny rattlesnakes was one of the most simple and precious moments of my life. I sat next to this mother feeling almost awkward as I took photos of her babies’ first breaths. Invested and anxious as the little snakes wiggled around in their egg sacks trying to break free. Watching three small noses poke through and stretch their jaw for the very first time, finally free, finally alive, was just breathtaking. I sat next to this little family for hours and they all were completely unbothered by my presence. These are the experiences that shaped my career as a photographer and left me longing for more.
Available light is beautiful but sometimes challenging. Taking studio photography and shrinking it into travel size to hike it into the desert or the jungle brings life to textures that otherwise can appear dull. Every species has different details that field natural lightning can’t do justice to. Textures and consistencies don't translate the same until you take control over quality, quantity and direction of light - so pretty much everything. Is this easy? Definitely not. From packing your equipment into a backpack, to hiking it into nature (tripods are a pain), to setting it all up without messing with the wildlife while nature unleashes all around you (aka bugs), photographing creepy crawlers is complicated and uncomfortable, but the whole process is the most satisfying treasure hunt I’ve ever experienced.
Pearl white snakes
I know snakes don’t come with googly eyes and adorable, awkward personalities but if you sit and watch for long enough you will start appreciating the way reptiles and amphibians evolved to blend in with the environment around them. The same species throughout the territory changes colors to match the local terrain and changes hunting techniques to adapt to the habits of their prey.
As a photographer learning to slow down, be patient and look for details wasn’t too hard. The most painful part is to learn what to look for because until your eye knows what to pick up on, you will never beat a species that specializes in camouflage at this hopeless game of hide and seek. And now imagine looking for a white snake with black freckles on white granite. You quickly get used to loving the search just as much as finding what you are looking for. Nature has a way to make you work for what you want. .
I remember sitting on my aunt and uncle’s couch as a kid waiting for the Friday night documentaries to play on tv. That was the only night of the week when I was allowed to stay up a little longer to watch tv and I would be glued to the screen. And I remember sitting at the edge of my seat as the images of big dragons slipping into the mud to pray on a water buffalo in Komodo would come on the boxy and static television. So it’s safe to say going to Komodo island had been a dream of mine for a long time.
What I didn't expect was to see the dragons swim in the ocean over pristine reef using their big beefy tail to propel forward. I wasn’t equipped for that kind of photoshoot and all I could do was lean over the boat hanging my camera as close as possible to the water, and take shaky photos while listening to their tongue flick. Ever since then I’ve been planning my Komodo dragons trip 2.0/wet edition.
The world's best treasure hunt
I grew up fascinated with the scaled down dinosaurs that still roam our planet. The variety of species in which snakes and lizards, frogs and salamanders, have evolved in and their ability to hide makes finding, observing, and photographing these animals simply so exciting.
Often the search can be unsuccessful, and still the process is just as fun as finding the targeted critter.
Every photograph holds a story, an adventure lost in nature, an experience lived away from everything.