Behind the Scenes: Working with Snakes! - Chantelle Renee

Behind the Scenes: Working with Snakes!

Scouting for the Perfect Location

It's pretty typical for me to literally stop and smell the roses. That's me smelling some Honeysuckle out at the location we ultimately chose for our portrait shoot. I've known about this location for a few years now, and it's a very peculiar place in the middle of the Dallas suburbs. Located in Plano, Texas not too far East from I-75. I love this area because of the crystal clear water, the exposed tree root systems, and the quietness it provides. I thought it would be perfect for this shoot because of these raw and natural attributes it brings and pairs with the personality traits of a snake... wonderous, secluded, and peaceful. 

Though it's been on my favorites list, I had never actually done a shoot there prior to this. So as you could assume, I was stoked to finally revisit this area and plan for an exciting photography session with some new faces. Yep, that of which included more new reptilian faces than people!

The Arrival of Friends

David Mead of DFW Reptarium was awesome enough to help me out with professional assistance on this shoot and (of course) provide our snake companions. He was our snake handler and kept careful watch over them while they were being photographed. 

If you were wondering, none of the snakes are venomous. The types of snakes photographed during this shoot included a Eastern Blue Indigo, Trans-pecos Rat Snake, and an Albino Corn Snake.

Ashley Wall, the lovely model in the final photographs, traveled from Austin, Texas to be here for this shoot. She holds a Masters Degree in Biology and is currently a biologist in Austin. Awesome, right? She loves reptiles and amphibians, which is why she was perfect for this shoot. 

Pictured is the Eastern Blue Indigo Snake (Photo courtesy of Rusty Holloway)

The Nerd Gear

For the photographs of Ashley with the Albino Corn Snake and the Trans-pecos Rat Snake, I used my Canon 50mm 1.4 (the nifty fifty) Though you do see my speedlite set up and umbrella in a few behind the scenes shots, I rarely used it.

This creek turned out to be perfect for our morning shoot because we didn't get any uninvited guests wandering into our scenes (random people that is!)

Ashley and the Albino Corn snake are pictured above, and the Trans-pecos Rat snake is pictured below.

The Lens

On the photographs of Ashley with the Eastern Blue Indigo snake, David was just a few steps away just in case he needed to interfere and rearrange the snake. As you may imagine, snakes get easily stressed out in transit, so this was another reason to just keep a watchful eye out.

Despite the edgy attitude we may have been getting from the Blue Indigo, these were some of my favorites, and i'm glad they made the final cut! The lens I used for this part of the shoot was my Canon 100mm Macro - and what wonderful quality it gave. For any camera nuts out there, when zoomed in to the head of the snake, this image is tack sharp!

Pictured to the right (courtesy of Rusty Holloway) you can see me in what I may call my "butt crack" pose, for obvious reasons.

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