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Field Collecting/Observing Sightings of herps in the wild, where-tos and how-tos, as well as photos of herps in their native environment.

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Old 01-30-2003, 09:12 PM   #1
Plans for the coming year...

This coming year I am planning on spending way to much time in the field documenting specimens and photographing them. This will be my first season out in the field but I know the areas here very well and I am learning/reading/searching out info all the time in preperation.
I have made plans to do nothing more than take photos and document species as I am new to field-herping and do not wish to cause harm to the herps or to myself. I will be purchasing Gentle Giant Tongs and a hook as well. The area I live in is eastern Montana and Rattlesnakes and Bulls are on the list of species I will be looking for.
I have a couple of questions:
1: Are there any websites that deal specifically with field-herping?
2: Any reccomendations as to books?
3: Any tips, thoughts, pointers or Ideas?
4: Any one want to come along?:-)

#4 is indeed an invite if any of you ever get up this way and would like to head out into the badlands of eastern Montana. If so just contact me via email.

Thanks for your time and knowledge sharing,
Old 01-31-2003, 02:25 AM   #2
Definitely take a camera with you. If your photography skills need some work, spend the time now practicing so when those photo opportunities arise, you will have the confidence in your abilities to know you got the shots you wanted. If you are planning on being with other people, this will help out, but don't count on them being close at hand when that once in a lifetime photo opportunity crops up.

For instance, many years ago when I was planning on a trip to the California deserts and I knew I would be doing a lot of road cruising, I burned up a LOT of film down in the basement practicing how to get good shots in nearly total darkness. Mini flashlight in my mouth (this was before autofocus cameras were common, so I needed both hands for the camera), I would practice shooting by using the light from the flash to allow me to focus on the subject.

And working with a flash in those sorts of circumstances are a whole different ballgame.

But it worked! I got some excellent photos of the sidewinders that seemed to be abounding on that road we were on at night.

Anyway, good luck to you!
Old 01-31-2003, 11:02 PM   #3
I'd love to join you but I'm in FL...
A camera is definitely the most important thing I carry in the field. If you're a amateur photographer like me, a digital camera works great. That way you can make sure you got a good shot before you leave the subject.
Other important things to have are:
- good field guide for the herps of your area
- a good field hook for turning logs, tin, etc over (but like Rich mentioned in the other thread, try to leave the habitat as you found it)
- a head lamp (if you're going at night)
- a cell phone or a friend would be good to have if you're going to be working with venomous snakes.
Midwest Gentle Giants are a great tool but kind of cumbersome for the field. A good snake hook should be all you need to reposition crotalus for photos...especially if you aren't planning on collecting them.
Good luck and post your pics....I wish pituophis were as common in FL as they are in your neck of the woods.
Chris Raden
Old 02-04-2003, 01:43 PM   #4
Thanks for the tips

Thanks to you both for the advice and tips:-)


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