Tips and recommendations to take pictures of snakes

Boa - Boa constrictor

In wildlife photography there are niches exploited by very few photographers. Snake photography is one of them, probably because snakes have a bad reputation, especially in the West and Middle East.

Snakes leave no one indifferent: some "venerate" them, others consider them as a symbol of evil. Victims of ignorance, these reptiles have undergone unjustified outrages and certainly are the most abhorred creatures in our society.

But this is not the case on every continent. North American Indians known as Shoshones thought they were descending from a snake. The Cubeos, Indians of the Amazon, said they were descending from the Anaconda.

Quetzalcóatl, the "Feathered Serpent", is one of the most important figures of pre-Columbian mythology. It is found in the Toltec and Aztec pantheons. It also appears in the Mayan pantheon under the name of Kukulkan and among the Zapotecs where it bears the name of Xipe. According to the legend, Quetzalcóatl is the god who brought maize to men.

In black Africa, the snake is also very present in the founding myths.

It is found in the Chinese, Indian and Hindu mythologies, as well as in that of the Australian aboriginals, among the Egyptians and the Greeks, in the Celtic civilization, etc.

"For the Tucanos of Colombia, terrestrial or colourful serpents, and in particular the Boa constrictor, were associated with the male principle, with aggressiveness, but also with dance euphoria. In contrast, water serpents, including the Anaconda, represented a female principle, the maternal uterus, associated with destructive faculties."

Even if, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in The Little Prince: "Whomever I touch, I send back to the earth from whence he came", one cannot, however, blame an animal for its nature.

Snakes are one of my favourite subjects. For me, the real challenge is not so much to face the danger as to succeed in restoring in my pictures all the strength and beauty of these unloved animals.

Have the tips in this section helped you? If so, send me one of your photos, I will publish it on this page.