natgeo Video by @salvarezphoto (Stephen Alvarez) As a photographer one of the things I practice is noticing small things, details. Occasionally it pays off in unexpected ways and I sometimes see the strangest things. I often photograph red efts that I see in the forest. They are the juvenile form of the Eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). But I had never seen this before. A bright green caterpillar crossing the newt like a bridge. Funniest thing was that the newt waited patiently for the insect to cross before moving on. There is a whole wild world on the forest floor.
How can you safely AND accurately measure the length of a venomous snake? This is how some researchers studying Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes do it! First, rest a snake on a soft bed of foam in a plastic holding pen, gently press down on a clear plastic window to hold the snake still for a few moments, and then trace the outline with a marker. Then, remove this window and follow the curvy outline with a measuring tape. This method seems to be less stressful to the snake than trying to tightly restrain the animal and measure in hand. Photographed by @myfrogcroaked while making a story for National Geographic about snake fungal disease, which can be watched at:
National Geographic contributing photographer Joel Sartore is 11 years into a 25-year endeavor to document every captive animal species in the world using studio lighting and black-and-white backgrounds. So far, he’s photographed 6,500 different species, which leaves approximately 6,000 to go.
Sartore tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that presenting the animals in the studio, rather than in nature, gives them equal importance in the eye of the viewer. “A mouse is every bit as glorious as an elephant, and a tiger beetle is every bit as big and important as a tiger,” he says. “It’s a great equalizer.”
Sartore chronicles his project in the new photography book, The Photo Ark. The ultimate goal of his project is to help ensure that the future existence of his subjects, many of which are either endangered or on the verge of extinction.
“I’ve been a National Geographic photographer for 27 years, and I photographed the first 15 years or so out in the wild doing different conservation stories, on wolves, on grizzly bears, on koalas all in the wild — and can I say that moved the needle enough to stop the extinction crisis? No, no it did not,” Sartore says. “So I just figured maybe very simple portraits lit exquisitely so you can see the beauty and the color, looking animals directly in the eye with no distractions would be the way to do it.”
Photo: Arctic fox by Joel Sartore / National Geographic