ON THE FIELD
I travel to find different biotopes and new species. For the capture I use:
- breathable bags of different sizes
- a hook for snakes
- gloves to protect me from potential bites
- a headlamp that allows me to see the reflective eyes of reptiles better at night
For the realization of the identification boards, I need at least 04 photos of each specie:
1. General photo - the entire animal
2. Front photo
3. Side photo
4. Ventral photo
Plus any other photo needed to identify the animal. For example, frog legs.
Regarding my gear, I was able to optimize my photo equipment to be able to transport it to the most remote corners and in humid environments. I always carry my photo studio, my capture tools, and the minimum to bivouac (generally my hammock).
It is important to release the animal where I found it. Some only live in a small area: on a branch for some lizards or under a pebble for a gecko for example. Releasing them outside of their habitat could lead to their death.
In the mountains, too, an altitude variance would be lethal for some species.
So as not to be mistaken, I note the GPS point of my captives to release each specie in its natural environment.
This step is my favourite as they return to their activities. They gave me a unique moment and will be a star in my encyclopedia.
IDENTIFICATION and creation of ID BOARDS
Sometimes I come across species that I cannot identify because they present different morphological characteristics of closely related species.
In this case, I do research or sometimes I contact other experts to help me identify them.
Sometimes species are not named or even known. In this case, I keep them aside, without a Latin name.
1. I sort the photos to choose the best one for each shot, respecting my photo protocol
2. On light room I only adjust the exposure and I use a calibration preset to obtain the colors closest to reality.
3. In Photoshop, I use a stylus to work around the animal - task made easier thanks to the light box which accentuates the contrast between the animal and the background. Since 2018, my wife is in charge of this step to help me in this project.
3. I place each cropped photo on a white background.
4. I add the name of the species in Latin, the name of the scientist who described this species and in what year, then the country where I found it.
And voila ! One more board is done!