Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

Reptiles of the World Photo Shoot 2002!


For the last several years, we've been doing one of the most unique photo shoots offered anywhere in the country, our reptile shoot. For years, we called the shoot our 'Venomous Reptiles of the World Photo Shoot,' but we've amended that now, to reflect the huge variety of creatures we've brought in for filming. This year we had over 100 species of reptile, amphibian, and tarantula available for our shoot. Each group generally shot between 30 and 60 of these creatures, with those folks who did back-to-back shoots doing 50 or more different species.

This year, for the first time, we did a special 5 day session, which provided everyone with an incredible time frame and shooting opportunity. We also did our normal 3 day photo shoot. We particularly enjoyed offering the five day session, since it allowed the six participants a chance to fully explore the posing possibilities each subject presented.

There are several unique features to this shoot that it was suggested we point out. They include the following:
1. All subjects can be shot indoors, regardless of the weather. No rain day is necessary since photographers shoot on all scheduled days.
2. Photographers use our studio electronic flash equipment and are not required to bring their own flash gear (except one hot-shoe mounted flash to trip our slave unit).
3. Photographers shoot one at a time, insuring that they obtain the ideal pose (ie, that they are in the best spot at the time, and not crowded out by others).
4. Since the shoot in conducted indoors with flash, depth of field is not a problem. Apertures are typically between f16 and f32, while the brief flash duration still provides plenty of action stopping ability.
5. An optional outdoor water set is available for natural light photography, although some time, some groups, do not avail themselves of that shooting opportunity.
6. Props and habitats are authentic, with careful attention paid to match habitats and props with the subjects. Photographers are not filming a tropical tree viper on a maple leaf, or a cobra with a pine tree in the background. Sets and props are changed constantly to insure that different species appear to be filmed in different locations, even if two or more species are found in the same habitat or geographic range.
7. Shoots are long, beginning at 9AM and continuing until 5PM or later. For the five day shoot we also shot two hours in the evening on three different days.
8. Exposures are checked and double-checked via two flash meters and a D30 digital camera to insure accuracy.
9. Free refreshments are available throughout the shoot, including a variety of soft drinks and snacks. In the evening, when we are shooting non-venomous and non-dangerous lizards or spiders, beer, wine, or coolers are also available.
10. We calculated the actual 'modeling cost' for the specimens, and discovered what an incredible bargain this really was. For example, for the 5 day shoot, participants shot over 50 species, which amounted to approximately a $30 fee per subject. Considering the least expensive subject would retail for no less than $20, and most subjects are valued at $100 or more, the cost to an individual photographer attempting to amass by purchasing or renting the subjects would be prohibitedly expensive. Some of the snakes and lizards we had available were valued at over $800/each! This $30 fee also included the lodging and 3+ meals per day, so the actual cost, per specimen, was actually even lower.

On any of the Reptiles of the World shoots that we do, it is impossible to film all the subjects available. Sometimes, unfortunately, a reptile simply refuses to cooperate and will not pose. Cobras may insist on attempting to slither off the set, tarantulas may seek shelter beneath a rock, or a lizard might dart off as soon as it is placed upon a rock.. For that reason, we always have more subjects than we could possibly shoot, so the shooting day is still full with shooting opportunities. Below is a list of the species we had on hand for our 2002 shoots. Remember, not all of these were filmed -- either because photographers elected to choose others from the list or because we simply ran out of time -- but you'll see that there were a heck of a lot of subjects available and we did a good number of these.

For example, we had 22 species or subspecies of Rattlesnake, which is far larger than most reptile collections at major zoos! We had 4 subspecies of copperhead,

Here's the list:



· Colorado River Toad - Bufo alvarius
· Great Plains Toad - Bufo cognatus
· Albino Argentine Horned Frog - Ceratophrys cornuta
· White's Tree Frog - Litoria caerulea
Honduran Striped Toad - Bufo cabrifrons
Fire Belly Toad - Bombina orientalis
Red Eye Treefrog - Agalychnis callidryas
Cuban Treefrog - Hyla septentrionalis
Malaysian Silver Toed Treefrog - Amolops afghanus
Burmese Burrowing Frog - Glyphoglossus molossus (This one is weird)
Malaysian Leaf Frog - Megophrys montana
Brown Big Eye Treefrog - Leptopeltis sp.
Golden Gliding Frog - Rhacophorus leucomystax


· Collard Lizard- Crotaphytus collaris
· Fattail Gecko - Hemitheconyx caudicinctus
· Leopard Gecko - Eublepharus macularius
· Red Tegu - Tupinambis rufescens
· Rhinoceros Iguana - Cyclura cornuta
· Water Dragon- Physiognathus cocincinus
· Blue-tongued Skink- Tiliqua scincoides
* Black and White Tegu- Tupinambis teguixin
* Gila Monster Heloderma suspectum
* Mexican Beaded Lizard- Heloderma horridum
* Nile Monitor -Varanus niloticus
* Savannah Monitor- Varanus exanthematicus
* Black Rough-Necked Monitor Varanus rudicollis
New Guinea Snake- Lizard - Lialis jicari
Flying Gecko - Ptychozoon kuhli
Forest Chameleon - Corytophanes cristatus
Velvet Gecko - Homopholis sp.
Tibetan Frog-eye Gecko - Teratoscincus roborowski
Crested gecko - Rhacodactylus ciliatus
New Caledonia Giant Gecko - Rhacodactylus lechianus
Tokay Gecko - Gekko gecko
Fischer's Chameleon - Bradypodium (Chamaeleo) fischeri
Meller's Chameleon - Chamaeleo melleri
Mountain Chameleon - Chameleo montium
Crested River Dragon - Goniocephalus cameleontinus

* Rose Hair Tarantula - Theraphosa blondi
* Mexican Red Knee Tarantula Brachypelma smithi
* Arizona Scorpion - Centruroides sculpturatus
* Pink Toe Tarantula -Avicularia avicularia

* Blood Python - Python curtus
* Ball Python - Python regius
* Carpet Python - Morelia spilotes
· Jungle Carpet Python
· Yellow-head Reticulated Python -Python reticulatus
· Amethystine Python -Liasis amethystinus
· Chondropython - Chondropython viridis
· Sunbeam -Xenopeltis unicolor
· Tropical Chicken Snake -Spilotes p. pullatus
* Emerald Boa - Corallus caninus
* Amazon Tree Boa -Corallus enydris
* Rainbow Boa - Epicrates cenchria
* Glossy Snake - Arizona elegans
* Mexican Rosy Boa Lichanura t. trivirgata
* Western Hognose -Heterodon nasicus nasicus
Jeweled Racer - Drymobius margaritiferus
Tiger Rat Snake - Spilotes pullatus

* Cotton Mouth - Agkistrodon piscivorus
* Northern Copperhead - A. contortrix mokasen
* Southern Copperhead - A. c. contortrix
* Broadbanded Copperhead - A. c. laticinctus
* Trans Pecos Copperhead - A. c. pictagaster
* Cantil - A. bilineatus bilineatus
* Cantil - A. b. taylori
* Rhinoceros Viper - Bitis nasicornis
* Gaboon Viper - B. gabonica
* Puff Adder - B. arietans
* Eyelash Viper - Bothriechis schlegeli
* Urutu - Bothrops alternatus
* Boiga-Boiga blandingi
* Bush Viper -Atheris sp.
* Albino Monocled Cobra -Naja naja kaouthia
* Black Pakistani Cobra -Naja naja
* Black-Necked Spitting Cobra -Naja n. nigricollis
* Formosa Island Cobra- Naja n. atra
* Texas Black-tail rattlesnake- Crotalus m. molossus
* Mojave Rattlesnake -Crotalus s. scutulatus
* Southern Pacific -C. viridis helleri
* Tiger Rattlesnake -Crotalus tigris
* Panamint Rattlesnake- Crotalus mitchelli stephensi
* Great Basin Rattlesnake- C. viridis lutosus
* Northern Pacific Rattlesnake- C. viridis oreganus
* Uracoan Rattlesnake- C. vegrandis
* Speckled Rattlesnake- C. mitchelli angelensis
* Canebrake Rattlesnake -C. horridus atricaudatus
* Timber Rattlesnake -C. h. horridus
* Prairie Rattlesnake -C. viridis viridis
* Red Diamondback Rattlesnake- C. ruber ruber
* Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake -C. adamanteus
* Western Diamondback Rattlesnake -C. atrox
* Arizona Black Rattlesnake -C. viridis cerberus
* Sidewinder- C. cerastes
* Banded Rock Rattlesnake -C. lepidus klauberi
* Mottled Rock Rattlesnake -C. lepidus lepidus
* Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake-Sistrurus miliarius barbouri
* Red Pygmy Rattlesnake- Sistrurus m. miliarius
* Western Massasauga- Sisrurus catenatus

* Red Foot -Chelonoidis carbonaria
* African Spur Thigh-Geochelone sulcata
* Greek- Testudo gracea
* Alligator Snapper -Macroclemys temmincki

* Nile Crocodile- Crocodylus niloticus
* Smooth Fronted Caiman -Paleosuchus trigonotus
* Dwarf Caiman -P. palpebrosus
* American Alligator -Alligator mississippiensis

*Please note that the subjects not marked by a star were not available for our first group as the specimens were shipped in late and needed some down time to recover from any stress caused by shipping. This group comprised mostly small geckos and frogs and treefrogs, and none of our major subjects.

You can see some images from last year's shoot (and perhaps the 2002 updated shoot, on one of our participant's websites, Ron Taylor's website. His website is Ron shot with a D30 digital camera in 2001 and a Canon 1D this year, and last year Ron sent me a few of his images (11x14 prints) that were simply incredible. The digital camera made images equal to anything I did on film.

If you are interested in this shoot, please contact our office ASAP. We will be determining dates and prices shortly, and will inform all those on our inquiry list.

Contact us by e-mail.

Or Phone or FAX us at: (717) 543-6423.

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