PHOTO  TECHNIQUE  QUIZ :  Nature Vs. Studio Backgrounds

If you like the following 10 pit viper images because they all appear at home in their natural habitats, that's great!  I love showing animals in their natural surroundings whenever possible, though that can sometimes be difficult in the wild.  I always carry multiple flashes, an umbrella or two, and a hook to manipulate specimens into the best positions I can get them to settle into for pictures. 

Finding and recording wild herps is the ultimate way of recording them, but I can't always find time to do that, or find the animals I want when I do get the chance to go.  The next best alternative?  Shoot specimens borrowed from collectors and dealers in my home studio.  I've collected rocks, branches, leaves, soils, etc. from all over the U.S. and Mexico for years to build up an arsenal of natural decorations to create backgrounds.  I also pluck plants from around home to fill in some greenery on some shots.  The trick is to use mostly small, generic types that don't glaringly betray the image.  Mixing substrates with the variety of 'irregularity' needed to look authentic has also become an art form I continually try to master.  In addition, playing with angles and distances of lights to simulate nature has been an ongoing learning experience; I especially strive to avoid 100% balanced light that often looks 'perfectly' fake.

The 10 snakes pictured are identified at the bottom of this page, plus a link to the correct answers.


1.)   Southern Copperhead   Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix

2.)   Trans-Pecos Copperhead   Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster

3.)   Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake   Crotalus adamanteus

4.)   Western Diamondback Rattlesnake   Crotalus atrox

5.)   Santa Catalina Island Rattlesnake   Crotalus catalinensis

6.)   Timber Rattlesnake   Crotalus horridus horridus

7.)   Blacktail Rattlesnake   Crotalus molossus molossus

8.)   Red Diamond Rattlesnake   Crotalus ruber ruber

9.)   Northern Pacific Rattlesnake   Crotalus viridis oreganus

10.)   Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake   Sistrurus miliarius barbouri

 CLICK  FOR  ANSWERS  (< Florida 1-Day Reptile Adventures)