Herping, travel, and gear

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Hadar
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Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » May 18th, 2015, 9:35 am

This forum is a great way to connect herpers across the globe but sometimes our topics are specific to a particular region and discussion is limited. I wanted to start getting more general conversations going on a semi-regular basis that anyone can join in on. For my first attempt I pose the following questions to all of you:

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?

2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?

3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.

Just as herps are lumped together as a group of classes indiscriminate of taxonomy, herpers come from a largely diverse background. Each of us with our unique life paths that have lead us to become passionate towards these under appreciated animals and I would just like to know more about what brings us together.

Cheers, Heather

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Noah M
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Noah M » May 18th, 2015, 10:23 am

I live in Gainesville Florida, and unless I'm vacationing somewhere, I usually herp anywhere within 2-3 hours drive of my town. There is a wide variety of habitat within that circle, and I don't really have a favorite. If I've spent the last few outings in the upland, drier habitat, I'll spend the next couple closer to the swamps.

The species I prefer most is the one I haven't seen before or in a while. There is a tremendous amount of diversity where I am located, and I'm always trying to find things that are new or newer.

I really can't leave the house without a camera. I've been trying to get better at just hiking without a camera, and enjoy "nature" without looking under every rock and log. My wife enjoys hiking and being outdoors, but she's not a herper and gets annoyed when I spend so much time looking under everything and peering into every crack in hopes of finding something cool. I'm afriad that the one day I go out without a camera is the day I'll come across some amazing creature and will only have my cell phone camera to document it.

I think that my favorite gear is my macro lens. It is sharp. Most things I encounter are small enough it does a great job filling the frame with the animal.

Thanks for the questions. I'm eager to see how other people respond.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by bgorum » May 18th, 2015, 8:37 pm

1. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I usually herp pretty close to home. Favorite locations include Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, the Magdalena mountains, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, the volcanoes west of Albuquerque and a whole bunch of other places that only locals, (and not very many of them), would have heard of. I don't know if I have a habitat preference except that I often like herping near water. When you herp in an arid state it is amazing what a little bit of water will do to increase the populations and diversity of herps. I like being able to return to the same area over and over and observe some of the same individuals over and over. I don't really care all that much about what species I find. Finding a common species engaged in some behavior I've not seen before is always better to me than finding a new lifer.

2. I'm really much more of a herp photographer than a herper per se. I always carry camera equipment. I never carry a hook, noose, nets, bags, etc. because I never collect.

3. So I'm constantly changing my setup. Trying new combinations of lenses, etc. Currently I most often go into the field with a camera, lenses ranging from 10-500mm, flashes, a tripod, and various odds and ends, all contained in a good quality photo backpack, (f-stop Loka). I've recently added two vr lenses to my kit and plan to carry only those two, (which will cover me from 24-300), plus a camera for times when I need to travel light and do some scrambling. (Searching for dens, for instance). My most essential piece of photo equipment is the tripod. Even when using the vr lenses, most of the time the vr is turned off and they are mounted on the tripod. I've detailed why I consider a tripod so essential in a review that you can read, (along with some reviews of various lenses I've owned), in the FHF Image Lab if you are so inclined.

Bill

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Antonsrkn » May 19th, 2015, 7:20 am

Ok, I'll bite...here goes!
1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?
I herp wherever I can! I live in Wisconsin but of the past year I have only been home for about 3 weeks and consequently haven't herped WI in a while. I have a strong interest in the tropics particularly tropical rainforest there, and of tropical rainforests the cloud forests hold a special place in my heart. Specific species don't really matter a whole lot to me as long as I'm seeing something new and cool, I do have a wish list of herps i'd like to find a mile long, but my favorites are anurans (frogs and toads) though, followed by crocodilians. My strategies for herping have been to sign on as a field tech/assistant to a conservation project in an area I like the sound of, then work during the day and then go out herping at night. Doing this I have spent the past year working/herping in Malaysia and Ecuador, being based in these locations really gives me good opportunities to herp amazing places. Im starting grad school soon so that will change, but hopefully I will have my own fieldwork in south america now.
2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?
3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.
These two are combined for me. The only gear that always comes with me is 2 headlamps, my camera, macro lens, and flash. I use a nikon d7100 body, a 105 mm macro lens, and an sb800 flash. Of course when in the tropics, I always bring some rain protection for my camera gear as well incase of rain. I bring two headlamps because I have had a headlamp fail on me in the past while I was in the jungle and I had to use a tiny keychain light to navigate my way back home and also because I dont like changing batteries in pitch darkness.

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Hadar
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » May 19th, 2015, 7:53 am

Some great responses! Thank you guys for your answers so far.

captainjack0000: Florida is a great place for biodiversity in the U.S. You can even find exotics. ;)
Do you use waders when you go into the swamps? I've always wanted to paddle board the Glades. Sometimes I leave my camera at home in hopes that it'll bring something crawling out if I'm in a dry spell. What macro lens do you use?

Bill: Have you been noticing any changes in herp numbers with year to year differences in precipitation? Do you have a suggestion for changing lens in poor weather conditions (sand blowing in the wind, rain, etc)? I will have to check out your posts in the FHF Image Lab.

Antonsrkn: Where in Ecuador were you? Tiputini? Congratulations on starting graduate school! Where are you going and what are your research questions? Do you have a favorite headlamp? What kind of rain protection have you found to actually work in the rainforest?

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Antonsrkn » May 19th, 2015, 8:29 am

Antonsrkn: Where in Ecuador were you? Tiputini? Congratulations on starting graduate school! Where are you going and what are your research questions? Do you have a favorite headlamp? What kind of rain protection have you found to actually work in the rainforest?
No, I wish i was in Tiputini! I had plans to visit there after the field season was complete but then I caught Leishmaniasis and plans had to be altered. I'll be back though and Tiputini is at the top of the list! I was in the South of Ecuador in the El Oro Province, we worked at a variety of field sites there inbetween the elevations of ~600 to 1800 m asl. I do have a favorite headlamp, I use the Fenix hp15 headlamp. Its actually the same model as the one that randomly failed on me but I like it alot! My backup is a Lenser, dont know which model as it was given to me, it's also quite good. I usually just have big ziplock bags to put my camera gear in and a emergency poncho that will cover myself and my camera pack. Thanks, im pretty excited about graduate school, I haven't determined any research questions yet as I was just recently accepted into the program, but at the very least I'll be moving to North Carolina so that will be a big change from wisconsin.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by bgorum » May 19th, 2015, 9:08 am

Hadar wrote: Bill: Have you been noticing any changes in herp numbers with year to year differences in precipitation? Do you have a suggestion for changing lens in poor weather conditions (sand blowing in the wind, rain, etc)? I will have to check out your posts in the FHF Image Lab.
There are certainly big differences in the number of individuals observed from year to year and as you might expect numbers are positively correlated with precipitation for most species. Whether that means populations are fluctuating or individuals are just easier to find, I dont know. I strongly suspect the latter however.

As far as changing lenses goes think about it the same way as you would think about a cooler full of ice when you are camping far away from any place where you can buy more ice. Before you open the cooler you think about what you want and where it is in the cooler. Then you open the cooler, take what you need out, and immediately close the cooler again. Same with changing lenses, get everything ready and close buy, take off one lens, take the rear cap off of the other, switch places, and your done!

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Paul Freed
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Paul Freed » May 19th, 2015, 9:16 am

Great questions, Heather and a nice way to bring herpers and their passions to the forum.

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?

I am actually your neighbor (I live about 75 miles northeast of you in the western foothills of the Cascades) and while I've been here in Oregon for 10 years I have lived in numerous U.S. states and herped all over the world (40+ countries and adding more each year).

I have been herping for some time now and I have to say I'm a bit spoiled. I conduct a daily herp survey of a one mile stretch of road in front of my home where I have been recording my sightings for the past ten years. I retired years ago (yeah, I'm old) and I spend most of my time searching for herps, both common and obscure to photograph (I currently have over 3000 species on film). I am particularly interested in the more obscure and lesser known herp species but I still get excited by finding even the most common ones as well. My favorite habitat is the desert and I have spent years herping in and around them. Rainforests are also one of my favorite places due to the large diversity of wildlife.

2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?

3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.

I have been using Canon camera gear for all my photography needs and I carry it with me whenever I'm in the field. I still shoot slide film (much to my wife's embarrassment) but in the past few years I joined the 20th century and have taken up digital photography. (I have 3 Canon A-1's and a 100mm macro lens with a Canon Macrolite ML-1 flash for slide photography, and 2 Canon 7D's with 100mm macro lens and the Macro Twin Lite 24-EX flash unit for digital photography. I have other lenses and flashes as well that are used for non-macro shots.)

I try and obtain a field guide for international travel whenever possible but often times there are none available for the more remote and obscure locations. Communicating with experts in the various herpetological specialties often helps answer many questions as is the purpose of Field Herp Forum, a great resource!

-Paul

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Hadar
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » May 19th, 2015, 11:44 am

Antonsrkn wrote:
Antonsrkn: Where in Ecuador were you? Tiputini? Congratulations on starting graduate school! Where are you going and what are your research questions? Do you have a favorite headlamp? What kind of rain protection have you found to actually work in the rainforest?
No, I wish i was in Tiputini! I had plans to visit there after the field season was complete but then I caught Leishmaniasis and plans had to be altered. I'll be back though and Tiputini is at the top of the list! I was in the South of Ecuador in the El Oro Province, we worked at a variety of field sites there inbetween the elevations of ~600 to 1800 m asl. I do have a favorite headlamp, I use the Fenix hp15 headlamp. Its actually the same model as the one that randomly failed on me but I like it alot! My backup is a Lenser, dont know which model as it was given to me, it's also quite good. I usually just have big ziplock bags to put my camera gear in and a emergency poncho that will cover myself and my camera pack. Thanks, im pretty excited about graduate school, I haven't determined any research questions yet as I was just recently accepted into the program, but at the very least I'll be moving to North Carolina so that will be a big change from wisconsin.
Oh Leishmaniasis, that's fun. What happened with that? Still have any scars? I studied at USFQ for a semester in undergrad so we had 2 weeks at Tiputini before heading to my primary location of the Galapagos Islands. Tiputini was awesome though and I wish I had more time there. I never could sleep because there was too much to see and do.

You were way south! The furthest south I made it to was Guayaquil. What were you doing there? Frogs?

When you use a headlamp, do you prefer spot or flood?

Moving from the Midwest to the South is a big change. I had culture shock moving from Illinois to Mississippi. North Carolina is beautiful though. One of my favorite southern states. Watch out for the sandflies though, don't want to get Leishmaniasis again.

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Hadar
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » May 19th, 2015, 7:59 pm

bgorum wrote:
Hadar wrote: Bill: Have you been noticing any changes in herp numbers with year to year differences in precipitation? Do you have a suggestion for changing lens in poor weather conditions (sand blowing in the wind, rain, etc)? I will have to check out your posts in the FHF Image Lab.
There are certainly big differences in the number of individuals observed from year to year and as you might expect numbers are positively correlated with precipitation for most species. Whether that means populations are fluctuating or individuals are just easier to find, I dont know. I strongly suspect the latter however.

As far as changing lenses goes think about it the same way as you would think about a cooler full of ice when you are camping far away from any place where you can buy more ice. Before you open the cooler you think about what you want and where it is in the cooler. Then you open the cooler, take what you need out, and immediately close the cooler again. Same with changing lenses, get everything ready and close buy, take off one lens, take the rear cap off of the other, switch places, and your done!
I grew up with film cameras, well I guess everyone on the forum has, but my dad was into photography and it was a way we could bond so I got into it as well. My dad turned our basement bathroom into a darkroom so I could develop my own film. I remember the changing bags that we would use to switch out canisters of film, bought in bulk and rolled our own. I didn't know if they make a changing bag for lens now as well. It wasn't until it got extremely difficult to purchase film that I switch to digital so I'm still fairly new to it.

Even though I'm still in my 20s, I'm an old person. My room back home is filled with antique cameras including a brownie and a pinhole camera I made in high school. Whenever I find my final location to settle down, I'll move my camera collection with my WWII locker and the rough rider saddle that my grandfather left me.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Antonsrkn » May 20th, 2015, 8:44 am

Hadar wrote: Oh Leishmaniasis, that's fun. What happened with that? Still have any scars? I studied at USFQ for a semester in undergrad so we had 2 weeks at Tiputini before heading to my primary location of the Galapagos Islands. Tiputini was awesome though and I wish I had more time there. I never could sleep because there was too much to see and do.

You were way south! The furthest south I made it to was Guayaquil. What were you doing there? Frogs?

When you use a headlamp, do you prefer spot or flood?

Moving from the Midwest to the South is a big change. I had culture shock moving from Illinois to Mississippi. North Carolina is beautiful though. One of my favorite southern states. Watch out for the sandflies though, don't want to get Leishmaniasis again.
The leishmaniasis is healing up still not completely closed, but slowly getting there. Yeah i'll have a scar for life probably, no big deal as its on my shin. Yeah i can understand not being able to sleep, that was my plan for my time there; Hike all day and most of the night. Too bad i didnt get a chance this year.

I wish i was working with frogs, but no such luck. I was actually working with birds... these bad boys to be specific: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... ed-public/ An endangered parakeet species endemic to the area. I did look for frogs whenever I had a chance and came across some amazing ones!

I pretty much always use my headlamp in spot mode rather than flood, just a personal preference i guess.

Yeah NC should be fun, im looking forward to it.

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Hadar
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » May 20th, 2015, 11:06 am

I was actually working with birds... these bad boys to be specific: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... ed-public/ An endangered parakeet species endemic to the area. I did look for frogs whenever I had a chance and came across some amazing ones!
I'm no birder (all the little brown, tan, gray, and black ones annoy me) but I do appreciate some birds. Those would be anything in the orders Falconiformes, Pelecaniformes, Strigiformes, Opisthocomidae, Casuariiformes, Apterygiformes, Psittaciformes, Apodiformes, Coraciiformes, or Piciformes, some species in the families Rallidae (coots make me laugh) and Alcidae, and then anything really colorful. Also the tui because they are awesome. Being that the El Oro (repetitive?) parakeet is of the Psittaciformes order, endangered, colorful, and have really cool social structures, I enjoy them greatly. Thanks for sharing the photo, very cool! The hummingbird was pretty sweet too.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » May 20th, 2015, 2:46 pm

I am actually your neighbor (I live about 75 miles northeast of you in the western foothills of the Cascades) and while I've been here in Oregon for 10 years I have lived in numerous U.S. states and herped all over the world (40+ countries and adding more each year).
Paul, I'm heading to Bend Friday. Never been out that way. Any suggestions? My dad is flying in from Illinois and we are checking out John Day Fossil Beds Saturday.
I have been herping for some time now and I have to say I'm a bit spoiled. I conduct a daily herp survey of a one mile stretch of road in front of my home where I have been recording my sightings for the past ten years.

Have you done anything with your records?
I retired years ago (yeah, I'm old) and I spend most of my time searching for herps, both common and obscure to photograph (I currently have over 3000 species on film). I am particularly interested in the more obscure and lesser known herp species but I still get excited by finding even the most common ones as well.
Is that 3000 herp species?
I try and obtain a field guide for international travel whenever possible but often times there are none available for the more remote and obscure locations. Communicating with experts in the various herpetological specialties often helps answer many questions as is the purpose of Field Herp Forum, a great resource!
Agreed! Maybe you can help make some field guides with your photographs.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by soulsurvivor » May 20th, 2015, 4:30 pm

Hi Heather! Here are my answers, boring as they may be....

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?
I do have a "home range", which I road cruise as much as possible. Last year, I was able to get out 2-3 times a week. This year, there are multiple factors at work keeping me from getting out. I'm lucky to get out once every couple weeks. But my target species are basically any of the threatened species. I find diamondbacks somewhat regularly, and have seen one pine snake and one Indigo on my roads, so I am always hopeful to see another of those (especially since I did not get a pic of either). A couple times a year, I do try to get out of town or out of state to herp another area. Have not been out of country, but I'd like to change that next year!

2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?
I don't necessarily need a hook, although I always carry a full sized hook and a mini hook in my vehicle. For the most part though, I try to be hands-off. I always have a camera if I go road cruising though. Nothing special, just a nice point-and-shoot. I'm not trying to take text book style photos, just a nice representation of the animal that I can look back on and enjoy, and maybe share with others. I've also just started shooting some short videos of the animals I find, and would love to buy a Go-pro someday for better video quality.

3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.
Like I said above, a nice point-and-shoot works for me. The only thing I want to add to mine is a flash diffuser.

~Bree

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by ebit123 » May 20th, 2015, 4:53 pm

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?
We live in RI, so we herp normally herp in both RI and southern Mass, in suburban and rural areas, but even in Providence! When we go on vacation, we incorporate herping into the plans...this year, we are going to be herping in Colorado and Oklahoma. Around RI/Mass, I enjoy going to cranberry bogs, as there are ponds around...watersnakes and snappers aplenty! My preferred species in my area is Eastern milk snake and any type of salamander; my son's is any type of snake and snapping turtles.

2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?

I keep a snake hook in the car, and when in hiking areas, it doubles as a walking stick. We always have a long-handled net with us (well at least when we are in places that we can get away with using one without getting into trouble). I normally just have my cell phone camera, but when we travel I now bring a regular camera as well..learned the hard way when my phone broke while hiking, and missed the chance to get a picture of a copperhead! Yes those are a big deal to see if you live up north). I don't bring a field guide, but when traveiing to a new area, I print out pix of the snakes in that area)

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by MonarchzMan » May 20th, 2015, 7:25 pm

Hadar wrote:1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?
Lately, I herp around northern Mississippi, but I've been trying to do a few big trips (Appalachians and, hopefully soon, the Ozarks), but my specialty is Neotropical (Costa Rica, Panama, French Guiana). Frogs hold a special place in my heart, but I've got increased appreciation for salamanders. But I'll go for reptiles and all that.
2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?
Snake hook and my camera equipment is pretty much all I need. Along with my lucky Outdoor Research hat.
3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.
I have been shooting with a Canon 7D with either a Canon 100mm f/2.8L (field guide type shots) or Canon 17-40mm f/4-5.6L (herp-in-habitat shots). I have been shooting with the Canon MT-EX24 twin flash, but with the herp-in-habitat shots, I've been using a Canon 430EX II flash with an Impact Quikbox (just got the Quikbox soft box and love it; much better than the Pocketbox I had been using before). I have a Canon 5D Mark III on order now, and am looking forward to using it for the wide angle macro shots. I'm really psyched about finally having a full frame camera. I also have a Gitzo Explorer tripod which is the most versatile tripod I've seen, and I love how it expands my creativity.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by axeman2729 » May 21st, 2015, 5:24 am

Hadar wrote:This forum is a great way to connect herpers across the globe but sometimes our topics are specific to a particular region and discussion is limited. I wanted to start getting more general conversations going on a semi-regular basis that anyone can join in on. For my first attempt I pose the following questions to all of you:

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?

2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?

3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.

Just as herps are lumped together as a group of classes indiscriminate of taxonomy, herpers come from a largely diverse background. Each of us with our unique life paths that have lead us to become passionate towards these under appreciated animals and I would just like to know more about what brings us together.

Cheers, Heather

1. I currently live north of Pittsburgh PA and as I am 18 and have no car I am not able to get very far. This has really limited me on habitat and especially species. However I am up to I think 40 + species including about 35 vouchered on Naherp. My main habitat type is stream or swamps, I haven't had much luck in woods or fields. My favorite species to find would definitely be the northern water snake Nerodia sipedon sipedon. However Im sure some of you have seen my posts I recently enlisted in the navy and am hoping to herp whenever and wherever I can

2. I never leave without my snake hook or my camera

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Kyle Barker » May 21st, 2015, 7:50 am

Good idea, i have a question for you guys. As i live and travel mostly in the tropics, im on my third body and fifth lens due to fungus.... i try to stay clean, but thats not really possible most times, especially when in swamps and/or rain. any suggestions for things like this? so far i just carry good sealing plastic bags and lots of silica gel packs, but nature tends to beat me every couple years. generally i like hiking, so my photo gear tends to stay limited to 1 body and 1-2 lenses, especially if its a wet area. but it has become an expensive hobby (photography)! Something i really want to try and cut down on, ie replacing gear.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Paul Freed » May 21st, 2015, 7:58 am

hadar wrote

Quote:
Paul, I'm heading to Bend Friday. Never been out that way. Any suggestions? My dad is flying in from Illinois and we are checking out John Day Fossil Beds Saturday.

That's funny, I'm heading to Bend a week from this Friday (not to herp, to help friends move). I will be visiting another friend while I'm there, he's the guy who wrote the reptile field guide for Oregon (Al St. John) and I'm sure he knows all the great places to look for herps. You should pick up a copy of his book if you get a chance. That would certainly help you out regarding the local herpetofauna. What exactly are you looking for? I've only been out that way a few times (just passing through, not herping) so I'm not familiar with that region.

Quote:
Have you done anything with your records?

Not yet. I don't have any plans so far I'm just amassing data at this point.

Quote:
Is that 3000 herp species?

Yes. And in the course of photographing herps I've also accumulated numerous bird, mammal, invertebrate, plant, and habitat shots.

Quote:
Agreed! Maybe you can help make some field guides with your photographs.

Actually, my photos have used in numerous books, journals, and magazines.

Good luck in Bend!

-Paul

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by MonarchzMan » May 21st, 2015, 8:06 am

Kyle Barker wrote:Good idea, i have a question for you guys. As i live and travel mostly in the tropics, im on my third body and fifth lens due to fungus.... i try to stay clean, but thats not really possible most times, especially when in swamps and/or rain. any suggestions for things like this? so far i just carry good sealing plastic bags and lots of silica gel packs, but nature tends to beat me every couple years. generally i like hiking, so my photo gear tends to stay limited to 1 body and 1-2 lenses, especially if its a wet area. but it has become an expensive hobby (photography)! Something i really want to try and cut down on, ie replacing gear.
I generally have dry bags and rechargeable silica gel packs when I travel to the tropics. Usually I will put camera gear in the dry bag each night to dry out. I've not lost gear to fungus yet.

I would recommend looking into insurance. I would think your losses would be covered by an insurance plan.

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Chaitanya
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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Chaitanya » May 21st, 2015, 8:38 am

Hadar wrote:This forum is a great way to connect herpers across the globe but sometimes our topics are specific to a particular region and discussion is limited. I wanted to start getting more general conversations going on a semi-regular basis that anyone can join in on. For my first attempt I pose the following questions to all of you:

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?

2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?

3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.

Just as herps are lumped together as a group of classes indiscriminate of taxonomy, herpers come from a largely diverse background. Each of us with our unique life paths that have lead us to become passionate towards these under appreciated animals and I would just like to know more about what brings us together.

Cheers, Heather
I live in India close to Western ghats, here I herp almost exclusively around Monsoons(Mid-May to Mid Oct depending on the spot). Also we target certain specific species during rest of the year(for eg: Liopeltis calamaria and Coronella brachyura during winters, Kings during March-April, etc..). Another point to note is that I will always herp at the same spot once every month for finding different species of snakes.

I usually always leave my house with a camera(compact/DSLR), currently I am using a Canon EOS 600D with a kit lens and couple of old MF lenses with reversing rings).

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by JAMAUGHN » May 21st, 2015, 9:35 am

Great idea for a thread:

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?

My home range is anyplace I can reach in my car in two-three hours. That's basically the San Francisco/Monterey Bay region. I do, however, herp wherever/whenever I'm traveling for poetry readings, etc. I say herp, but really I just try and get out into the natural world whenever possible. I can't help but notice herps, but I'm working on noticing other things, too, whether it be flowers, birds, insects, etc. Even the occasional mammal.


2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside? 3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.

I always carry my camera, an Olympus epl5, with a 70-300mm lens. I also carry a 42mm lens for things closer at hand. My backpack has my binoculars, water, a first aid kit, etc. Additionally, I always hike with a four and a half foot ipe walking stick, to help me...err, walk. People I hike with occasionally think it may have other purposes.

JimM

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by nhherp » May 21st, 2015, 10:25 am

1. Where do you herp? Do you herp solely in one area, do you herp a large region, nationally, internationally, etc? Is there a particular habitat you prefer or species?

I live in NM, an hour south of ABQ, and tend to roam within a 75 miles radius of my home, with bias to the S/SW portion. I enjoy the molossus/ornatus variables, and have grown more fond of wandering edge habitats and random buttes/foothills, where certain species are not a given find. I was fortunate enough to be able to move back to and live where I wanted to be.

2. What is your favorite gear? Are you a herper that can't leave the house without a camera? A field guide? Or does it not matter as long as you are outside?

I am not to gear oriented. I always have a light weight hook in the truck, more for a hiking stick then much else. I use a Samsung Galaxy for photos/memories. I would say the one gear factor I always want is cargo shorts and cross trainer shoes without socks. I'm just not comfortable hiking otherwise.

3. For those photo happy herpers, what is your favorite set up? Body, lens, light box, etc. Whatever you consider the essentials.

I wish I had the drive to study and practice better photography. At the moment I still tend to throw money at other things besides cameras and gear. My friend Bill creates photos I envy regularly.

-N-

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by John Delgado » May 21st, 2015, 5:50 pm

I just recently caught the herp bug about a year ago. I'm 59 years of age, field herping is very new to me. In fact, I never even heard the word 'herping' until a year ago ... TRUE story.

I herp in Northern California, a 100 sq. mi. section of BLM land where I go and exercise my insatiable passion for rattlesnakes. The area I most frequent in the 100 sq mi area is approximately 16 sq. miles at 2500 to 3500 feet elevation. Vegetation is thick with manzanita, sagebrush, chaparral ... pine, oak and madrone trees. There are some very steep terrain and I trek 5 to 6 miles every outing.

My specific interest is rattlesnakes, however I will stop and unpack my camera for any snake that happens to cross my path, but I don't flip rocks for them. In fact, I don't flip rocks for anything. Lizards ... where I go there or a bazillion fence and sagebrush lizards, I'll stop for one if it stands there and begs me to do a shoot. Now ... Whiptail or Alligator type lizards ... ALWAYS get my attention.

My favorite gear is my water bladder in the back pack, and the lunch pac ... haha. Ya ... well, that's difficult to nail down. Love my DSLR Camera, cell phone, Pillsrom Snake Tongs, Nikon Binoculars, Uberti Thunderer .45LC ... various survival gear in case I get stuck out there. All the gear on my belt, backpack and its contents weigh 24 to 27 lbs. (yes, I've weighed everything) I do not take a map or guide ... I know the area very well.
I use a Nikon D80 with AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm VH Lens -- I would LOVE to get a lens for better close-ups ... expensive. For now, I'm going to stay with the lens I have and see if this herp bug I have lasts. And believe it or not, I just use my iPhone for video ... maybe next year a new video camera ... if I continue my new passion.

What is it that attracts me to rattlesnakes? - I don't know. The fact that they are very misunderstood, they are the most feared and one of the most demonized snake of the snake world. Rattlesnakes are not warm and fuzzy lick your face like a puppy dog, but they are not the attacking killers that they are made out to be. They just need to be respected and left alone. I am not expecting to change the minds of all the world ... I will settle with several hundred people who change their minds about the unwarranted ignoble reputation of the rattlesnake. If I can change the minds of a few hundred people, and I will be satisfied.

You can look me up -- on YouTube search John Delgado Rattlesnake

Very nice thread Heather -- thank you, jd

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:16 pm

soulsurvivor wrote:I've also just started shooting some short videos of the animals I find, and would love to buy a Go-pro someday for better video quality.
Hey Bree,

I think a lot of times video is better than photographs. If you go with the go-pros I would recommend doing the ones with WiFi so you can monitor what they are recording. We use those at work on a daily basis.

Cheers, Heather

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:18 pm

ebit123 wrote:When we go on vacation, we incorporate herping into the plans...this year, we are going to be herping in Colorado and Oklahoma. Around RI/Mass, I enjoy going to cranberry bogs, as there are ponds around...watersnakes and snappers aplenty!
When you travel, how do you decide where to go herping? Do you contact people in the area first?

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:21 pm

MonarchzMan wrote: Frogs hold a special place in my heart, but I've got increased appreciation for salamanders.
Glad to hear you are being pulled to the good side. :thumb:
MonarchzMan wrote:I have been shooting with a Canon 7D with either a Canon 100mm f/2.8L (field guide type shots) or Canon 17-40mm f/4-5.6L (herp-in-habitat shots). I have been shooting with the Canon MT-EX24 twin flash, but with the herp-in-habitat shots, I've been using a Canon 430EX II flash with an Impact Quikbox (just got the Quikbox soft box and love it; much better than the Pocketbox I had been using before). I have a Canon 5D Mark III on order now, and am looking forward to using it for the wide angle macro shots. I'm really psyched about finally having a full frame camera. I also have a Gitzo Explorer tripod which is the most versatile tripod I've seen, and I love how it expands my creativity.
What? No silica gel packets? :crazyeyes:

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:24 pm

axeman2729 wrote:My main habitat type is stream or swamps, I haven't had much luck in woods or fields.
What are you looking for in woods or fields? How are you looking?
axeman2729 wrote:My favorite species to find would definitely be the northern water snake Nerodia sipedon sipedon. However Im sure some of you have seen my posts I recently enlisted in the navy and am hoping to herp whenever and wherever I can
Did you figure out how you are going to continue herping in the navy?

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:27 pm

Kyle Barker wrote:Good idea, i have a question for you guys. As i live and travel mostly in the tropics, im on my third body and fifth lens due to fungus.... i try to stay clean, but thats not really possible most times, especially when in swamps and/or rain. any suggestions for things like this? so far i just carry good sealing plastic bags and lots of silica gel packs, but nature tends to beat me every couple years. generally i like hiking, so my photo gear tends to stay limited to 1 body and 1-2 lenses, especially if its a wet area. but it has become an expensive hobby (photography)! Something i really want to try and cut down on, ie replacing gear.
I fear this issue everyday. Oregon and its temperate rain forests are beautiful and wet.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:29 pm

Chaitanya wrote:Another point to note is that I will always herp at the same spot once every month for finding different species of snakes.
How many different species do you usually find in the same spot?

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:31 pm

JAMAUGHN wrote:I always carry my camera, an Olympus epl5, with a 70-300mm lens. I also carry a 42mm lens for things closer at hand. My backpack has my binoculars, water, a first aid kit, etc. Additionally, I always hike with a four and a half foot ipe walking stick, to help me...err, walk. People I hike with occasionally think it may have other purposes.
Jim, congratulations on being the first person to say a first aid kit! Good thinking.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:33 pm

nhherp wrote:I am not to gear oriented. I always have a light weight hook in the truck, more for a hiking stick then much else. I use a Samsung Galaxy for photos/memories. I would say the one gear factor I always want is cargo shorts and cross trainer shoes without socks. I'm just not comfortable hiking otherwise.
Shoes without socks. How do you avoid blisters, thorns, bites?

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 5:38 pm

John Delgado wrote:What is it that attracts me to rattlesnakes? - I don't know. The fact that they are very misunderstood, they are the most feared and one of the most demonized snake of the snake world. Rattlesnakes are not warm and fuzzy lick your face like a puppy dog, but they are not the attacking killers that they are made out to be. They just need to be respected and left alone. I am not expecting to change the minds of all the world ... I will settle with several hundred people who change their minds about the unwarranted ignoble reputation of the rattlesnake. If I can change the minds of a few hundred people, and I will be satisfied.
Thank you John. That is a great mission.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by bgorum » June 8th, 2015, 5:43 am

Hadar wrote:
nhherp wrote:I am not to gear oriented. I always have a light weight hook in the truck, more for a hiking stick then much else. I use a Samsung Galaxy for photos/memories. I would say the one gear factor I always want is cargo shorts and cross trainer shoes without socks. I'm just not comfortable hiking otherwise.
Shoes without socks. How do you avoid blisters, thorns, bites?
I can vouch for the Notah and the whole no socks thing! I have no idea how he does it. We'll walk through the same areas and I'll be wearing hiking boots and a thick pair of hiking socks and I'll still get my shoes full of grass seeds and little rocks. He's just got some kind of herper juju I guess.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 8th, 2015, 6:06 am

bgorum wrote:
Hadar wrote:
nhherp wrote:I am not to gear oriented. I always have a light weight hook in the truck, more for a hiking stick then much else. I use a Samsung Galaxy for photos/memories. I would say the one gear factor I always want is cargo shorts and cross trainer shoes without socks. I'm just not comfortable hiking otherwise.
Shoes without socks. How do you avoid blisters, thorns, bites?
I can vouch for the Notah and the whole no socks thing! I have no idea how he does it. We'll walk through the same areas and I'll be wearing hiking boots and a thick pair of hiking socks and I'll still get my shoes full of grass seeds and little rocks. He's just got some kind of herper juju I guess.
That's impressive!

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by axeman2729 » June 12th, 2015, 9:27 pm

Hadar wrote:
axeman2729 wrote:My main habitat type is stream or swamps, I haven't had much luck in woods or fields.
What are you looking for in woods or fields? How are you looking?
axeman2729 wrote:My favorite species to find would definitely be the northern water snake Nerodia sipedon sipedon. However Im sure some of you have seen my posts I recently enlisted in the navy and am hoping to herp whenever and wherever I can
Did you figure out how you are going to continue herping in the navy?
I try looking for snakes under cover and such in fields and I look for salamanders snakes and wood and box turtles in the woods both under cover and in the open

Sort of. I plan on herping on the weekends during a school down in Pensacola Florida don't know what I'll be doing or even where after that.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by LouB747 » June 15th, 2015, 8:06 pm

I travel a lot as a pilot. Usually to Japan (Tokyo). Occasionally I get to Singapore. That's where I have the most fun. It's always nice going to a spot full of lifers. I live in southern CA. Anyways, what makes some destinations so fun for me is the actually method of herping. I love walking the jungle at night spotlighting the trees. It's so cool finding snakes in trees.

I used to take photos, but now I take mostly video. If you're bored, you can see some of my videos at http://www.youtube.com/loub747

I probably have 60 or more snake videos. Most are shot with the GoPro. A few iPhone 6 videos too (which actually turn out pretty good). Some are a couple mins. Some are 30 mins!

This crazy snake hobby is so addicting!

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 16th, 2015, 7:38 am

LouB747 wrote:I travel a lot as a pilot. Usually to Japan (Tokyo). Occasionally I get to Singapore. That's where I have the most fun. It's always nice going to a spot full of lifers. I live in southern CA. Anyways, what makes some destinations so fun for me is the actually method of herping. I love walking the jungle at night spotlighting the trees. It's so cool finding snakes in trees.

I used to take photos, but now I take mostly video. If you're bored, you can see some of my videos at http://www.youtube.com/loub747

I probably have 60 or more snake videos. Most are shot with the GoPro. A few iPhone 6 videos too (which actually turn out pretty good). Some are a couple mins. Some are 30 mins!

This crazy snake hobby is so addicting!
Great videos! I loved the footage of flying through the clouds in Singapore Snakes 2. Wonderful commentary. Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by LouB747 » June 17th, 2015, 8:54 am

Thanks so much. Yeah, the intro to Singapore Snakes 2 took awhile to put together. Had the idea, just wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull if off without it looking goofy. I think the music helped pull it together. Some shots are still a bit long. I shot it over multiple days. While it was sunny during the short commentary, it was cloudy on the radio control plane shot. Hopefully it wasn't too noticeable..

Again, thanks for watching.

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by nhherp » June 17th, 2015, 3:54 pm

Shoes without socks. How do you avoid blisters, thorns, bites?
I can vouch for the Notah and the whole no socks thing! I have no idea how he does it. We'll walk through the same areas and I'll be wearing hiking boots and a thick pair of hiking socks and I'll still get my shoes full of grass seeds and little rocks. He's just got some kind of herper juju I guess.
That's impressive!
LOL...

I used to wear higher hiking boots and heavier footwear many years ago. In the midwest and southeast it always irritated me that it took boots so long to dry after getting submerged. In between I would wear cross trainers, but I stepped on nails somewhat regular as a result during those summers and got fed up with it.

I realized that if I wore cross-trainers all the time, I paid attention to what was at my feet All the time. Not only that my ankles strengthened and my legs didn't tire out as a result of swinging a 2.5 lb boots on each foot all day. Additionally,they were almost always really quick to dry and breathe well.

This footwear choice has made me more alert to not only snakes at my feet but awareness of nails, thorns, sharp rocks, cactus, glass, etc. In the end it has made me more attentive than ever before regarding where, what and most importantly How I walked through terrain. In boots a person (or maybe just me) tends to step first and evaluate second due to the foot is more protected on all sides.

If I were susceptible to poison ivy/oak/sumac or other irritants I probably could not enjoy this luxury.

-N-

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Re: Herping, travel, and gear

Post by Hadar » June 17th, 2015, 5:05 pm

nhherp wrote:This footwear choice has made me more alert to not only snakes at my feet but awareness of nails, thorns, sharp rocks, cactus, glass, etc. In the end it has made me more attentive than ever before regarding where, what and most importantly How I walked through terrain. In boots a person (or maybe just me) tends to step first and evaluate second due to the foot is more protected on all sides.

If I were susceptible to poison ivy/oak/sumac or other irritants I probably could not enjoy this luxury.
I learned to be more aware of my surroundings as a child after jumping on a piece of drift wood to prevent it from floating away only to find that there was a nail sticking out of it and into my foot. My next reaction was to run to our cabin through a field of poison ivy. I have not yet had a reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac but if I had, that experience would've been even more unpleasant.

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