Photographing snakes, or any wildlife for that matter is a tricky business. If you are not careful about what you are doing, then you will quickly find yourself with a very nasty little snake bite. The beauty of photographing snakes in the wild, however, is well worth the risk if you take the time to mitigate those risks. The beauty of a snake picture shot in the wild is well worth the time and effort. Here is how to photograph a snake safely in the wild step by step.
The first thing that you will want to do is to learn about the snakes that can be found in the area you will be shooting. While you may only be wanting some pictures of harmless garter snakes, you still will want to know what a copperhead, and other dangerous snakes looks like. One important thing to remember here is that venomous snakes often look very different as babies. When a venomous snake is young, it is still very dangerous. As such, make sure you study the appearance of snakes at all ages of their growth.
Another important factor is to learn about where you are likely to encounter snakes. It is tough to get a picture if you can not locate one, right? Take some time to learn about snake habits and locations. Common places to find snakes are around bodies of water, under logs and fallen trees, around rock piles, and anywhere that the rodent population is high. If you see mice, then it is likely that snakes are nearby as well.
When looking for a snake to photograph in the wild, you should make sure that you have the equipment to do so safely. You should carry along a long (at least five feet) stick or bar in order to move logs and rocks around. You do not want to reach under there with your hands, as this is a common way to get that snake bite we talked about earlier.
Once you have located the snake, you will want to try to disturb them as little as possible. The snake will attempt to flee, and if you follow be sure that you are careful about distance. The snake is generally able to strike from about half the length of its body. If a six foot snake strikes at you, then you need over three feet of clearance. This is a general rule, and should not be taken as exacting in the least. Give yourself way more room then you think you need.
Sometimes the excitement of finally finding that snake can cause your judgement to fail. If a snake refuses to sit still for a picture, then leave them be. Even a nonvenomous snake can deliver a nasty bite when provoked. Still, you must remember that a camera has a zoom lens feature for a reason. While it may not have been created to keep you from being snake bitten, it certainly can have that effect. Use your zoom feature. It will get stunning pictures of snakes in the wild.
Shooting pictures of snakes in the wild is a rather easy and rewarding thing for an amateur photographer to do, but it must be done with respect for the snake. Snakes are not the easiest subject to shoot, but they make for outstanding pictures when you finally succeed.