Saturday, 25 April 2015

Snakes and Lizards Galore

Wow, I can't believe it has been nearly two months since my last post, oops sorry but I have not been wasting any time as I've been out recording and photographing the reptile populations at one of my local patches. As they start to disperse across the area now I will see less and less of them over summer but the flowers and bugs are starting to appear so my attention will turn to recording and photographing them along with trying some new ideas and techniques along the way.

Just before I share with you some of the reptile photos from this year a little bit of an update as to what has been happening over the last two months, which have been crazy busy. It all started back in January when I started work on a project teaming up with the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) for their I Heart My Pet campaign as their photography ambassador. We have put together top tips for capturing the best photos of your pet and we want to see yours so please pop over to the website for more details and those top tips - I Heart My Pet

Then came The Photography Show, wow that was busy but a lot of fun and great to catch up with so many people both in the industry and the visitors. I was delighted to be giving a presentation everyday and even more delighted that it had a very good reaction! If you popped by the Manfrotto stand or caught my talk a huge thank you. 

In amongst all this I have also teamed up with Clifton Cameras to run two very special nature photography workshops in Dursley, places are limited so if you're interested you'll need to get in quick, here's all the details you need: One Day Creative Nature Course and I am delighted to announce that I will be speaking at all four PhotoLive events this year with two different seminars, here are the details for those: PhotoLive Seminars 

I do also still have a couple of places available on my Creative Nature Workshop in Somerset in May and also in September if you would like to learn some of my tips and tricks for being more creative and just get to know your camera a little better to get the most out of it: Creative Nature Workshop In Somerset 

Right, with that out of the way it's on to the photos. It's really important that if you are going to take photos of any reptiles (and amphibians, well all wildlife actually) that you do not cause any stress or disturbance to them, they are wild animals and the time they are out basking is vital to them so please enjoy and photograph responsibly. Sometimes I don't take any photos, I just enjoy watching them doing their snakey and lizardy thing, it's a real pleasure to be able to enjoy these species in the wild and spend time observing them, you don't always have to take a photo.

First up are the grass snakes (Natrix natrix), this is a first for me this year and I really enjoyed capturing them on camera and watching their antics.

Next it's the common lizard (Zootoca vivipara), these are the hardest of the four to photograph as they are so quick and don't sit out basking for the same length of time as the snakes. That said I managed to find a couple that were out soaking up the warmth around some rocks so I got myself to eye level and waited.

A quick slow worm intervention (Anguis fragilis)

And finally the adders (Vipera berus), the only venomous snake we have in the UK and arguably the most beautiful due to the markings. Unfortunately it has also become a trophy species for many photographers and as such they are being posed with and in some areas experiencing high levels of disturbance. They are beautiful animals and I can not stress enough how important it is to not disturb them, particularly when they come out of hibernation, it is vital to breeding success that they bask as much as they can. So, please enjoy them responsibly to allow future generations to also be able to enjoy them too, and don't share locations on social media as is some areas they still suffer persecution.

I love spending time with this group and this is my second year with them. I don't spend everyday looking for them but when I do visit the site I always record what I've seen and send these through to ARGUK for their record database, along with any unusual sightings for example this stunning male who seems to have cataracts in his left eye. This image also shows the striking colour of the male, the females tend to be more reddy/brown as in the photo above.

All the photographs I have taken form part of my Forgotten Little Creatures project which is celebrating the smaller species we have around us. Work is in full flow for this project now and I'm very excited about some new accessories and techniques that will help in huge amounts! For now, time for me to say goodbye and wish you a happy weekend as I get back to sorting photos and planning for the rest of the year.

Take care and remember to always enjoy nature responsibly. :)