Elizabeth Krist, Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic, and the…
There are a lot of photography genres represented throughout the PhotoShelter community – fashion, sports, landscape, wedding, food…the list goes on. But one genre that we thought was potentially not getting the attention it deserves is unique – dare we say, other-worldly – animal photography.
So we searched PhotoShelter members’ sites for images of the most bizarre animals, perhaps ones that you may not even know existed. This is our sampling with a little story from each photographer. What weird animals have you photographed or encountered? Show us by linking to your photos in the comments.
Two-Headed Turtle – by John Chapple
“I saw unique and oh-so quirky story about a two-headed turtle in a newspaper in 2007, and thought it would make a great feature. ‘Myrtle and Squirtle’ the turtle was twelve month old, six-legged, two-headed turtle from Peru, then the main attraction at the Venice Beach Freak Show. The Freak Show boasted creatures, oddities and attractions of all sorts, and I was able to contact the organizers to arrange a shoot with this wonderful little curiosity.
“I’ve had a lot of luck with animal features, I find that readers really care about these stories. The photo was used in a variety of newspapers and magazines, I think people found it interesting – I know I certainly did!”
Colugo – by Tim Laman
“The Colugo, also called a Flying Lemur, is a rare nocturnal mammal of the rain forest of Borneo. By day, they hang on the sides of tree trunks or beneath branches and rest. My strategy for photographing them in flight was to search the forest by day for sleeping Colugos. Finding one, I would stake it out at dusk and wait until it woke up and started traveling through the forest. Then with several helpers and lights, we would try to follow the Colugo.
“To get from tree to tree, these amazing animals simply push off, open up their arms and legs to spread their gliding membrane and glide to the next tree. I tried to anticipate which way they were going to leap next, and pre-focused several meters ahead of the tree the Colugo was taking off from. Then as they leapt off and started to glide, I just tried to keep them in frame and fired. This approach had a low success rate to say the least, but all you need is one well-lit, in focus shot!”
Sword-billed Hummingbird – by Rolf Nussbaumer
“The Sword-billed Hummingbird was taken in Equador at the Guango Lodge. High speed flashes were used.”
Naked Mole-Rat – by Heidi & Hans-Jurgen Koch
“In case of the Naked Mole-Rat we had to work together with a biologist of a zoo, as Mole-Rats live in the subterranean. We depended on the cooperation of the biologist to have the possibility for close-up shot. In reality this means, we had just ten minutes [to shoot].”
Albino Alligator – by David Davis
“The image of the Albino Alligator was photographed at the Louisville Kentucky Zoo. This animal was on loan from the owner. There are only a hand full of albino alligators in the world. A man came across the nest and rescued the babies, as they would never have survived in the wild.”
Proboscis Monkey – by Kelvin Marshall
“My wife and I were visiting the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary which is located near Sandakan in the state of Sabah (Borneo) – Malaysia. On arrival to the Sanctuary we were invited to participate in a private feeding program which gives people a wonderful opportunity of getting a one on one experience with these truly remarkable primates.
“As I approached the feeding platform a large Male Proboscis Monkey jumped down from a nearby tree and positioned himself within a couple of metres from where I was sitting. This large Alpha Male had the biggest nose and most beautiful coloured coat that I had ever seen on a Proboscis Monkey. I patiently waited for the opportunity to unfold, and when he turned his back on me focusing his attention on the rainforest canopy the composition, background, and lighting was simply perfect.”
Axolotl – by Paul Bratescu
“This odd looking creature, Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), was photographed using a small aquarium along with multiple remote flashes. This species originates from Lake Xochimilco, Mexico City. Axolotls are used for scientific research due to their ability to regenerate their limbs and other parts. Unfortunately for Axolotls they are close to extinction from man encroaching on their natural environment.”
Hatchet Fish – by Solvin Zankl
“This was photographed at the Zoological Museum University of Kiel. The Hatchet Fish has many photophores beneath its body. Although this is not true bio-luminescence, light is emitted from these same photophores. The glow is directed downward through light-guides, presumably to function as effective counter-illumination seen only from below.”
Babirusa – by Theo Allofs
“The Babirusa, also called pig-deer, is a highly endangered animal that lives mainly on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi. Due to the high Catholic population in an otherwise Muslim dominated country the pig-like creature, considered a delicacy, is being extensively hunted, even though the law is protecting this rare and unique species. I photographed this particular animal through the fence of a wildlife rescue centre in northern Sulawesi.”
Star-nosed Mole – by Dwight Kuhn
“The star-nosed moles were photographed in central Maine where they live in very moist soil. They spend most of the time underground, completely out of view. Occasionally, this species of mole does venture from its normal underground home and forages on the surface for grubs and worms. They are very good swimmers and often dive into ponds to find food. Moles have a very high metabolism and have to continually eat every few hours, day and night. This animal was very difficult to photograph from many standpoints.
“One challenge was photographing small, nearly black animals. Their twenty-two tentacles were in in constant motion so flash was needed to freeze the nose motion. Their dark soil habitat and underwater swims provided many other photographic problems. The mole photos on my website took more than a year to complete.”
Tassled Wobbegong – by Mike Veitch
“I was diving off a liveaboard dive vessel in the Raja Ampat area of West Papua, Indonesia when I came upon this Tasseled Wobbegong (a member of the shark family) lying on a sandy bottom. As Wobbegongs are ambush predators that rely on camouflage to feed on passing fish, they typically allow divers to get quite close to them without spooking. This individual was particularly bold and it allowed me to approach very closely and set my camera housing just a few inches from its face. Using a fisheye lens allowed me to have sharp focus across a broad depth of field to really capture the details of the ‘tassels’ along the sharks chin.”
Viperfish – by Jason Bradley
“This Viperfish represents one of the strange and alien like creatures found in our planets deep ocean habitats. Still mostly unexplored, we have just begun to venture and discover what awaits us in this hard to reach part of our world. I took this image as part of a project documenting deep-sea critters found in Monterey Bay. Partnering with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Moss Landing Marine Labs for the project, I received special access to this and other bizarre looking marine organisms. To discover more weird animals, visit my Sea Creatures Photoshelter Gallery.”