When SF magazine approach us to photograph snakes and shoes I was very excited. Michael my assistant wasn't, he has an extreme fear of snakes. Luckily the snake handler (what a cool job title) from the Academy of Science took care of all the snake handling. This helped keep Michael on job.
I knew that the snakes weren't going to be cooperative so I built a set to be modified on the fly. The light was also set up to be pretty forgiving. The one thing I didn't foresee was the snakes twitching every time the strobes when off. Because of how the snakes reacted to the lights, the snake handler limited our time with each snake. We were only able to photograph each snake 10-15 times, which meant I had to really think before taking the photo. The snakes moved fast exploring their new environment. Nothing was off limits. They curled around light and stands, slithered up the plexiglass, knocked down the shoes and two took bathroom breaks on set. One snake even got stuck through an open toe Alexander Wang sandal that we debated on cutting the $900 shoe. Luckily, he freed himself a couple minutes later. If we are to shoot snakes again in the future, we will photograph them using HMI or hot lights instead.
You can get the magazine on newsstandsor read free online at http://media.modernluxury.com/magazines_san_francisco.phpor orread free on your iPad at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/san-francisco-magazine/id370424626?mt=8