“It’s definitely a big risk”: Pennsylvanian photographer captures images of Mambas snakes and more.

Warning: Article content includes (awesome) images of snakes and tarantulas - and an adorable frog.


Photography in a studio can be daunting, especially if your model happens to be a Lynx or a venomous snake.


23 year old photographer from Pennsylvania, Nathan Jordan, takes great pride in snapping photos of venomous snakes, rare reptiles, and many other animals.


The young photographer is currently studying as a zoology major, which he says has greatly helped him with learning more about the animals in his studio.


Getting his first camera for Christmas in 2016, Nathan was finally able to put it to good use in November of 2019 when he started his studio photography with his pet snakes.


“I started just using my bedroom door that’s white and I put a stick in front and of the snakes on it and just started taking photos,” Nathan recalls.

Nathan’s reptile room which is home to 40 snakes, four geckos, and invertebrates.

Now using a black velvet backdrop and a custom made reflective platform, Nathan is self-taught using YouTube, photography blogs, lots of practice, and a notepad.


All of Nathan’s equipment is portable, allowing him to travel the United States for his photography.


Nathan - who owns 40 snakes himself - is also heavily involved in the animal industry and pet hobby, resulting in 99% of the animals he photographs being from captive collections.


Most of the collections he has access to are in the United States but he does have people reach out to him worldwide to photograph their animals.

Vietnamese Mossy Frog (Theloderma Corticale)

With most of Nathan’s studio models being reptiles, a shoot can quickly become dangerous.


“It’s definitely a big risk,” Nathan says about photographing venomous snakes.


“The most dangerous I did was the Mambas species. For all of them, we put them on a branch on the platform in front of me so at any point if they did want to come right at me if they felt threatened, they could have. Thankfully that’s never happened.”

Nathan also adds that the biggest animal he’s ever photographed was a Eurasian Lynx. This big cat is the third largest predator in Europe.

Rhinkals Spitting Cobra (Hemachatus Haemachatus)

However, his most interesting models were the Mangshan Viper and the rare Peruvian Walking Stick.


“I believe there’s less than 400 in the wild,” Nathan says about the Mangshan Viper.


Nathan says it was a privilege to be able to photograph the species and called them “one of the holy grail’s to own and care for if you are into owning reptiles.”

Mangshan Viper (Protobothops Mangshanensis)

In the future, Nathan hopes to own a telephoto lens and get started in wildlife photography.


“I’d like to be able to travel the world and photograph all these animals I have in my studio in their natural habitats.”


In the meantime, Nathan is looking to reach out to zoos in the United States to photograph their animals and wants to photograph more birds.

Sunda Island Pitviper (Trimeresurus Insularis)

“I would love to be able to document and photograph every animal possible.”


The self-taught photographer uses a Canon EOS R and both a 35mm macro lens and 100mm macro lens.

Arizona Blonde Tarantula (Aphonopelma Chalcodes)

Nathan also uses two Godox V860ii speedlight and Neewer softboxes when doing his studio photography.


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