The Emerald Palm Snake Experience

20th June 2018


During the first week with Untamed Photography, us volunteers had the chance to experience the white boxing of an emerald palm tree snake. A year and a half ago, Mark Fernley started a project that captures different species of reptiles to be used for an app for people to use for easy identification. For this to be done, a white box, lights, and camera are utilized to get good quality photos of the different species. It really is just like a professional photoshoot, but for reptiles. The emerald palm tree snake is a rare species to see since it easily blends in with its surroundings. Sean, another coordinator from LPAC, found one and that’s what gave us the chance to white box it since it had not been done yet. Cam, Anna, and I, first started helping by setting up the equipment for it, such as the box, ring lights, and tripod. The next step was to get the snake in the box with something covering it (we used the top of a trash bin). You have to cover the snake, otherwise it won’t calm down and hold still. Mark then got his camera set up to take the first photo. The first photo was kind of an overview of the snake and the second one was a close up of the head. I helped Mark take the close up since he had to hold the snake in a certain position to keep it still and have his hand not in the photo. The next two, and final shots are for the top and bottom view of the snake. The more different photo angles of the species, the more ease of identifying. We set up the top shot by placing the white box and lights on the ground for the camera to peer over the snake. During this time, Cam helped with positioning the snake inside the box and helped cover it with the trash bin. Once Mark got the top overhead angle of the snake, we started to set up the bottom view using glass. With this photo, we set the glass on a table with a little overhang so we could place the camera directly below it. This is the hardest shot, considering it is taken directly below and the snake could slither right off the glass. With teamwork of me holding a light, Cam lifting the white box, Dylan lifting the trash bin, and Mark taking the picture, we successfully got the shot. The whole process took about a little over an hour to complete. Overall, this professional reptile photoshoot was a very fun learning experience.

Blog Written by Jase Wilts


Story written by Mark Fernley