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 Post subject: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 1:23 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
I must admit that I used to sneer at people who, instead of taking pictures in situ, bag all their findings and take them home to photograph them under less adverse circumstances than in the field. To me, that constituted cheating, because what's the difference to taking pictures of captured animals, after all? That's not herping, it's a perversion of the pure spirit - heresy, I say!

Well, we all get older and eventually do get hit by the various curve balls life tosses at us, i.e., are forced to see wisdom in things we used to ridicule. Last Wednesday night me and my 11-year old son were cruising the plains around the house. By midnight, we still hadn't found anything worth our while and decided to head back home, as it was a school night. On the way home, we came across this wonderful specimen, an adult Oreocryptophis purpuracea kawakamii, aka Taiwan Red Bamboo Ratsnake, but we were both too bushed to set up the whole photo gear, mess around with this fast and twitchy species, and probably come home with suboptimal shots.

Thus we decided to evolve our herping philosophy: we bagged the beast, took it home, and together with a frozen welcome mouse, dropped it in an uninhabited but fully furnished terrarium whose original denizen I had moved into a group tank a few days earlier. Then I waited for the sun to come out so we could take the snake in the backyard and shoot it on the lawn. Four days later, the sun still hadn't shown itself (it's the Plum Rain Season, after all), so I called up two herping buddies and arranged for a studio shoot involving my white coffee table. I've taken pictures of other snakes and stag beetles on it before, and the white background nicely brings out the color in darker-toned creatures.

So here are the results of the photo session. Not too shabby.....albeit I STILL prefer 'em wet n' rasslin' in the mud :D

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Onionsack and his assistant Emil hard at work. Ten bonus points for the first person to explain why we put the snake on a plate ;)
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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 1:46 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 2:00 pm
Posts: 525
Location: Huntsville, AL
very nice Hans. I too prefer photographing animals in situ, and some species are WAY easier to photograph that way (salamanders, turtles, lizards), but others not so much (snakes in particular). When I do resort to such things, I often will bag and photograph outside in a controlled setting OR, if I do decide to do the whole thing indoors then I will usually grab a flat rock and some leaves and what not and set all of that up on a table. When doing macro work it is especially useful. That would be my recommendation, bring in some natural clutter so you can't tell you are actually photographing them indoors.

As for why the plate? I have no idea, good bounce from the flash maybe?

Whatever the case, it is still a gorgeous and awesome snake!


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 3:38 am 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 11:17 am
Posts: 1078
First thought... oh crap... gotta learn a new name. Don't shoot me for continuing to use Elaphe out of simplicity. Second thought... it has to be wonderful to road cruise such an animal.

Finally... I've got one of those which I'm trying to do something with but I'd like to know what subspecies it is... can you email me at [email protected] so I can send you a photo for ID?

thanks

btw... how did you get it to sit still?


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 4:22 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:48 am
Posts: 162
Location: NW Ohio
That is an awesome snake.

As for the dinnerware, I suspect you're making a new movie, Snakes on a Plate.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 4:24 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 2:00 pm
Posts: 525
Location: Huntsville, AL
^ that is pretty funny


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 5:29 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Posts: 3420
Location: Illinois
I'm guessing you use the plate to simply spin the animal around the way you want to shoot it? That's a technique I've seen some well known photographers do as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 7:18 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:33 pm
Posts: 169
Location: Apache Junction (near Phoenix), Arizona
Nice animal. I don't recall you ever posting that species before. I noticed you said it came from the flatlands near your home, not the mountainous regions that a lot of your finds have come from lately. Does that reflect it's a lowland, moist habitat species, or one thriving in ag areas, or what? Well, maybe you can't say much on this if it's your first. Isn't that species porphyracea, not pur...., uh, whatver you called it? :?

The plate was obviously to catch the copious poo it was probably spewing as you tried to pose it....


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 7:19 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:54 am
Posts: 133
Location: St. Louis, MO
Beautiful snake! When you are done photographing the snake, you could stick it in the oven and have a sirloin snake dinner. :lol:

Ryan


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 7:43 am 
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Joined: June 12th, 2010, 3:08 pm
Posts: 403
Location: Pasadena, CA or Mission, TX
Wow, gotta love those bamboo ratsnakes. Nice shots of a cool snake.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 8:14 am 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 8:33 am
Posts: 456
Location: SF Bay Area
Really nice animal. As far as shooting it in a "studio" sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I agree with what was said above - using the plate to spin the animal.

Did you cool the animal to make it more compliant? That is a commonly used tool, although I have not reaped any personal benefit from doing that, I hear its quite effective - although it can change the color of the animal, so that would be one caveat.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 14th, 2010, 7:29 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! Yes, I did indeed employ the plate to spin the snake any way I wanted :-) I didn't cool it down, just played with it a bit first (i.e., let it run through my fingers and across the table until it tired a bit), then used the ol' hat trick - slapped a hat (or, as the case was here, a cooking pot) on it, waited three minutes, and voila! - a calm, coiled snake that won't go anywhere.

EJ - I don't know much about the other subspecies, I suggest you get over to http://www.ratsnakefoundation.org and show your pix there. Those guys are very knowledgeable about ratsnakes, and there's an entire subforum dedicated to Oreocryptophis porphyracea (yes, it's porphyracea, not purpuracea - what an embarrassing blooper!! :? )

I've seen, caught, photographed and posted this species here before, most recently here. It's supposed to be a montane species, but I find it in the plains also. These "plains" are technically the foothills of the mountains behind my house, but I find this snake often close to the ocean, at altitudes close to zero, and in agricultural surroundings.

Kevin - thanks for the tips! Next time I'll try that stone-and-shrubbery bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 15th, 2010, 5:37 am 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 11:17 am
Posts: 1078
Thanks much. I'll do that.

On the spelling... I'm sure most thought it was a typo and just blew it off as such.

Needless to say... that has to be cool finding such animals in your back yard.

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! Yes, I did indeed employ the plate to spin the snake any way I wanted :-) I didn't cool it down, just played with it a bit first (i.e., let it run through my fingers and across the table until it tired a bit), then used the ol' hat trick - slapped a hat (or, as the case was here, a cooking pot) on it, waited three minutes, and voila! - a calm, coiled snake that won't go anywhere.

EJ - I don't know much about the other subspecies, I suggest you get over to http://www.ratsnakefoundation.org and show your pix there. Those guys are very knowledgeable about ratsnakes, and there's an entire subforum dedicated to Oreocryptophis porphyracea (yes, it's porphyracea, not purpuracea - what an embarrassing blooper!! :? )

I've seen, caught, photographed and posted this species here before, most recently here. It's supposed to be a montane species, but I find it in the plains also. These "plains" are technically the foothills of the mountains behind my house, but I find this snake often close to the ocean, at altitudes close to zero, and in agricultural surroundings.

Kevin - thanks for the tips! Next time I'll try that stone-and-shrubbery bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)
PostPosted: June 16th, 2010, 9:10 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Here's one Mr. Onionsack took during the session. I wonder if I should send it to Pentax Co.?

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