March 2015 Featured Herper
This month we are taking a look at an awesome photographer and herper, Kenneth Gisi. Kenneth, at 22 years old, has been herping as long as he can remember. He says his love for reptiles and amphibians truly became a passion around 2009. Kenneth began catching snakes, photographing them, and it slowly became a huge part of his life. He, like many of us has been bitten by the herping bug…. He can’t walk past a piece of tin, board, pile of wood, barn, broken down building, or any type of artificial cover without scoping it out for Herps.
Kenneth has been into photography now for a total of 7 years. He says it all started when he picked up his mom’s Kodak C875. After that… the rest is history. He truly has a passion for photography and it shows in his work. He takes amazing photos and is a master in his field. He loves how you can speed up, slow down, and even stop time. He especially loves long exposure.
“… but mainly, what I love about photography is that it’s able to let you see life through another person’s eyes.”
Kenneth is one of us privileged people who has the opportunity to herp from home. Kenneth can walk right out his back door and start herping. He has 100 acres of open fields and woods right next to his house. I can understand the joy of being able to walk out the door and start herping. You don’t have to plan, travel, spend money on gas and food….. You can just decide to herp and walk outside. Kenneth says his favorite place to herp is literally right out his back door.
“I can get lost in those woods for hours, find snakes, frogs, turtles, and all types of wildlife and when I am done; I start walking back home”
Kenneth has herped mostly in Texas and South Dakota but most of his time is spent in Kaufman County Texas. It is home to many species of snake that keep him happy.
I asked Kenneth where he would herp if he could go anywhere in the world…
“Oh man, hmm. North Africa, they have the Saharan horned viper – Cerastes cerastes. I mean, look at that snake! so beautiful and the horns are so appealing. It’s such an unusual thing to see on a snake when you’ve spent your life around Racers, Coachwhips and Diamond Backed Water Snakes. I would die a happy photographer if I got to photograph that snake.”
Kenneth considers his most memorable find so far would have to be the Eastern Hognose. Kenneth says he was walking on a hot humid morning in May on a trail to the woods when he got an email and stopped to check his phone. As he was looking at his phone, he accidentally kicked the snake. The funny thing about it is that the Hognose seemed to tilt its head to the side as if it was saying “What the hell man?!” He says he will never forget that look on the snake’s face or when it would play dead.
It is funny how many of us share similar experiences with Kenneth. Most of you can say with me, when I say, some of my most memorable finds were when I least expect it. I have targeted a species for months and even years just to have it show up on a day I wasn’t even thinking about it.
Kenneth told me about a speckled kingsnake he found this past season (2014). He had found his first speckled kingsnake back in April of 2009. He had just got into photography and didn’t take many pictures. He wasn’t very satisfied with his pictures and desperately wanted to find and photograph another one. He says it took him 5 years of searching, but in October of 2014 he finally found another one under a piece of tin he flipped. He had obsessively searched for 5 years and it had finally paid off. He was so happy because he had started to think their population was declining. It’s nice to know they are still in Scurry, Tx.
Kenneth has two goals for 2015. He really wants to get an Eastern Cottonmouth. He found his first on this past year and was able to get a few pictures. This one was found at night and he hopes to get one during the day and really get some nice pictures. I am sure that he will have some amazing pictures if he finds one this year. He also hopes to find a prairie kingsnake.
Kenneth is both an amazing photographer and a true herper at heart. I will be following Kenneth closely to see what he finds next. Already this year, he has shared some pictures in Instagram of some sweet finds. Kenneth has been a supporter of HerpersGuide since it’s creation. He has offered photos for many of our articles here on this site. Strong work Kenneth and happy herping to you brother!
For articles within HerpersGuide that feature Kenneth see:
HerpersGuide.com will be selecting one person each month in the year 2015 to feature on our site. If you know someone you think should be featured please let us know. Email Phillip at plaxton@HerpersGuide.com with a means of contact and the reason you think they should be featured.