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Copperhead session.

The warmth brings out the reptiles, I often go out bush for a random wander and this time I took a bunch of gear with a certain shot in mind. After shooting some snakes last summer I wanted to light the snake a lot nicer than what the mid day sun can, which is usually not that nice.

Armed with a light stand, some Canon strobes, mini and flex pocket wizards and ac3 zone controller, gels, small softbox and so on... I wandered.

For this idea I wanted a tiger snake but came across this copperhead in the brushes which I've seen several times over the last few weeks. I started shooting some regular shots getting an angle and observing the snakes behaviour. I shot some ambient only and also mixed with a bit of on camera flash with dome diffuser and a 1/2 cto gel to pump some warm fill light in there. Not beautiful light, but dialling the power back for some warm fill helps a bit.  It's very important to take your time and  not go blasting in there. Two things will happen, snake takes off fast and no chance of a shot, or get bitten. Patience is the key.

This particular day was very Tasmanian - blue sky, warm, then wind and rain, repeat six times. After taking cover a couple of times I decided to setup and work on this shot I had in mind. I put a 580ex2 on the light stand with a pocket wizard, 1/2 cto gel and frosty gel with the head zoomed all the way to 120mm then slowly put the light in place where I thought would make a nice angle hitting the snake.

I sessioned this for a little while and sure enough, rain again. I plan to use this technique throughout the summer and get it spot on. Take a look at some of the shots from the day.

Wide shot with ambient only.

Scale detail with fill flash.

Ambient only. 

Tighter frame with fill flash.

Lighting the snake with almost no ambient and directing a warm diffused flash to create nice highlights, controlled shadows and saturation.

Lighting the snake with almost no ambient and directing a warm diffused flash to create nice highlights, controlled shadows and saturation.