Snap­per Irene braves date with snakes

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS - STU­ART GREER

AN am­a­teur pho­tog­ra­pher over­came her fear of creepy crawlies to cap­ture some stun­ning pic­tures.

Irene Lea, 58, in­vited a rep­tile fa­natic Paul Dut­son to her house to pho­to­graph some of his col­lec­tion of snakes and scor­pi­ons.

While the shoot went well there was one hairy mo­ment when a scor­pion made a dar­ing es­cape.

Irene, from Mac­cles­field, said: “I have never liked spi­ders, snakes or things like that, so it was re­ally good to over­come some of that fear.

“I didn’t re­alise that the venom hadn’t been taken out of the scor­pion so imag­ine my ter­ror when it nipped Paul and ran down his t-shirt.

“I froze and thought ‘don’t be look­ing to me for any help’.

“It was quite funny when I re­alised we weren’t in any dan­ger and that its bite was like get­ting a lit­tle bee st­ing.”

Irene first picked up a cam­era in 2009 when she was re­cov­er­ing from breast can­cer.

She joined Mac­cles­field Cam­era Club and the ad­vice from other mem­bers helped de­velop her skills.

Over the years she has be­come a reg­u­lar face at char­ity and com­mu­nity events and many of her pic­tures have fea­tured in the Ex­press.

She said pho­tog­ra­phy had be­come a real pas­sion.

She said: “I am quite shy in day to day life, but put me be­hind a cam­era and I’m like a dif­fer­ent per­son. I don’t feel like me.”

Irene wanted to de­velop her skills with close-up or macro pho­tog­ra­phy and ap­pealed for sug­ges­tions on Face­book.

Irene, who works in the se­cu­rity ser­vices, said: “I was re­ally happy how the pho­tos came out. I sur­prised my­self. I’m now plan­ning to take some of my friend’s chameleon, which should be a lit­tle less scary, but I’m keen on tak­ing more pho­tos of the weird and won­der­ful.

Paul, 40, of Up­ton Priory, owns 40 dif­fer­ent an­i­mals, in­clud­ing 30 snakes and two taran­tu­las.

He said: “I’m pas­sion­ate about th­ese an­i­mals and used to run a busi­ness ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about them. I jumped at the chance to have them pho­tographed be­cause they are so beau­ti­ful. I was ma­nip­u­lat­ing the scor­pion into po­si­tion and he must have got a bit peeved and took it out on my head with a nip. I was fine.”

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