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About Photo

ABOUT ME

Growing up the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, I got to enjoy and interact with some of the incredible herps and other wildlife this planet has to offer. My early summers of searching for black rat snakes and peeking under rocks by the mountain streams transformed into trekking through the dense jungles across the globe seeking to spot, document, and share the weird wonders of our world.

With a camera and a snake hook, my goal is not just to take pictures, but to learn about these misunderstood creatures and their habitats, and to help with any research that I can. I believe that through understanding and biomimicry of the incredible traits that these organisms possess (such as an Axolotl's ability to regrow entire limbs and even parts of their brain with stem cells), we can advance science and technology to be more eco-friendly and effective.

I love seeing different parts and cultures of the world, and am always looking for opportunities to involve myself in current research. If you have an expedition opening or a research project that you would like me to be a part of or assist with, please contact me at: samschenker@scalesnaps.com

What I've Done

Expeditions

Peru Herping Expedition - 

MT Amazonas Feb - March 2022

Ecuador Herping Expedition - 

Tropical Herping July 2022

Madagascar Herping Expedition - 

Tropical Herping June 2023

Ecuador Research Expedition - 

Khamai Foundation July 2023

India Safari Expedition -

Wild Planet Adventures December 2023 

Other Involvement

Open Water Diver - PADI

Commentary and Photos for an article about Ophiophagy (soon to be published!)

Intern Research Work for Dr. Graham Reynolds in Reynold's Lab

Camera Equipment

* NOT SPONSORED

Camera Body

Camera

EOS 5D Mark IV Body

This camera is good for its durability. It has withstood the rain and high humidity of the places I travel. It is easy to use and pictures can be transferred via wifi.

Lens

EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

I chose this lens because it had the best macro capability while also being weather resistant. It can withstand dust, rain, and high humidity without breaking down. It is easy to use with auto and manual focus.

Camera Lens

Other Equipment

SLONIK Headlamp

SLONIK Rechargeable Headlamp

This is a comfortable, waterproof headlamp with many different brightness levels. It works nicely for seeing eyeshine and animals high up in trees. It is rechargeable, but the battery only lasts a few hours on the highest brightness setting and gets hot. I usually leave it halfway on brightness and it still does fine, but if I need full brightness I bring a few extra batteries.

PD Tripod

Lowepro Flipside Backpack

This is my current photo backpack. It has plenty of storage for my entire flash setup, an additional lens, my computer, and all the chargers I could want. It has a tripod holder which I use to carry white background rolls. It also has a quick access side-pocket. Although it is comfortable, I don't take it on hikes because it gets very heavy. 

Peak Design Camera Clip

Peak Design Aluminum Travel Tripod

This is an easy to use, very portable tripod. I don't use it very often, but for focus stacking and occasional nighttime photography it is handy to have. It has tons of features, and though the aluminum is cheaper it is much heavier than the carbon fiber version.

LowerPro Backpack

Peak Design Capture V3

This is a very handy clip that I put on my backpack strap and a belt so I don't have to use my uncomfortable neck strap. Its easy to clip on and off, though it sometimes gets caught on clothes. It also has a locking mechanism so I don't have to worry about the camera falling off.

Sandisk 256GB
Altrua Flash Diffuser
EBL Lithium Ion Batteries

SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO

I use both the 256GB and 128GB Sandisk Extreme PRO. The Extreme PRO has higher transfer speeds, but I don't notice it.

Altura Flash Diffuser

I have all 3 sizes of these diffusers. I don't use the smallest one, I can only see it being used for small insects.

I use the biggest one on my actual flash and the medium-sized one as a reflector

EBL AA 3000mWh 1.5V Lithium Ion Rechargeable

These have been the most consistent rechargeable batteries for me. I can use them on my flash and I rarely have to change them mid-hike.

Snake Hook

Custom Built Snake Hook-Hiking Stick

To maximize sturdiness and portability, I fashioned a stainless steel rod into a hook and epoxied it into the shaft of an adjustable hiking stick that was missing its thinnest section. It is the ultimate night hiking herping tool. With its wrist grip, I can let it go at any time without losing it. It is firm enough to fully lean on as a good hiking stick, can gently pull flexible branches down to access creatures, can grab trees when hiking up a steep incline, and most importantly support a large venomous snake. It can be adjusted, but the current version isn't small enough to fit in my suitcase.

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