Won­ders of wildlife

Wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher Mac Stone re­veals the story be­hind his stun­ning corn snake im­age

World of Animals - - What’s Inside... -

Pho­tog­ra­phy Mac Stone talks Florida, pho­tos and corn snakes

My work typ­i­cally fo­cuses on wet­lands of the south­east­ern United States and around the world. I grew up in Florida fall­ing in love with these places. This was my back­yard, so I came to know it very well – I didn’t have the means to travel the world at the time, so I would get lost in the swamps and back­woods of Florida’s low coun­try. For me, the al­li­ga­tors and snakes were just my nor­mal wildlife and there was noth­ing strange about them. I started learn­ing their be­hav­iours, learn­ing where to find them, teach­ing my­self how to pho­to­graph them and try­ing to show them in a new light.

You have to ap­proach things in dif­fer­ent ways to ap­peal to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, and that’s the goal with this corn snake im­age. These are such beau­ti­ful snakes, but so many peo­ple have a vis­ceral re­ac­tion when they see a snake, es­pe­cially ones that are brightly coloured; they think that they’re ven­omous or that they’ll do them harm. Corn snakes are one of the most docile snakes that you could ever come across, yet peo­ple some­times mis­take them for coral snakes and kill them, when they’re re­ally won­der­ful snakes.

I found this snake around my par­ents’ house when I was vis­it­ing, right out­side Kana­paha Prairie. My first in­stinct is to al­ways use a wide-an­gle lens and try and show habi­tat with any kind of wildlife, and so I ac­tu­ally have a whole se­ries of im­ages lead­ing up to this one, shoot­ing wide and ac­tu­ally get­ting it to­tally wrong be­cause you lose what it is that makes the snake unique, which is that tex­ture and colour.

Even­tu­ally, I put on a macro lens, which is some­thing I rarely do be­cause I’m used to shoot­ing much big­ger wildlife, but I just iso­lated ev­ery­thing out of the frame to con­cen­trate on that fallen oak with the whorls and swirls that com­ple­mented the corn snake. I was very lucky, and the snake didn’t seem to care at all. It just kind of hung out there, never raised up at me, never did any­thing; it was a very easy photo shoot and a very co­op­er­a­tive sub­ject. What’s re­ally cool is that when I give talks and when I present work to peo­ple, this snake has kind of been an am­bas­sador for snakes all over the place. It’s hard to look at that and be scared, and it tran­scends this feel­ing that snakes are bad and it turns them into art.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.