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2009 AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN HERPETOLOGICAL PHOTOGRAPHY PRESENTED TO WILL WELLS

Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) - Will Wells wins SWCHR's 2009 Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography
This Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) was photographed in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona by
Will Wells. In our region this species occurs throughout central and northwestern Texas then westward throughout much of
 New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern Utah.  Will's exceptional photograph was initally selected as SWCHR's  Photo of
the Month
for March, 2009.    The image went on to win him SWCHR's  2009 Award for Excellence in Herpetological
Photography
.                                                                                                                                       Photo by Will Wells



On Feburary 27, 2010 William "Will" Wells of Surprise, Arizona became the recipient of SWCHR's 2009 Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography. Will, who has been a frequent photo contributor to the SWCHR website had six (6) of his images achieve Photo of the Month status during 2009.  SWCHR's annual Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography consist of a commemorative plaque mounted certificate along with a $150 cash award.


SWCHR's Bill White presents the 2009 Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography to Will Wells
Bill White (L) from SWCHR presents the 2009 Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography to Will Wells (R).
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Photo by Marcie White



According to Will, he has been into herps since he was a kid growing up in Texas and Oklahoma where his grandmother had numerous Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes and Texas Horned Lizards on her farm. He moved west when he was 18, first to Phoenix and then to San Diego where he spent a lot of time exploring the mountains and deserts encountering tons of herps in the process. He started carrying a point and shoot film camera with him so he could share with other what he came across. According to Will, his photographs were pretty bad in the beginning requiring him to focus his efforts on learning to use the camera. At about this same time he began keeping herps as pets. He kept various snakes and lizards, but his favorites were the collared lizards and rosy boas. He started out photographing his pets, but being unsatisified with the results he began photographing his subjects out in the wild.

He then purchased a fully manual Canon FTB camera and had to learn how to use it. "I wasted a lot of time, money, and film with that camera", Will says, "but I learned some of the basics and began getting some decent photos. "I was once told by Jerry Feldner from the Arizona Herpetological Association that my lizard photographs were pretty good but that my snake pictures were horrible. Jerry was right and I soon got a digital camera so I could experiment with all the settings and various techniques without the cost of developing bad images." After that, Will began to spend more time with the snakes he fould in the field and soon began to produce exceptional high quality photographs of them.

In 2004 Will moved back to the Sonoran Desert to be closer to the plant and animal life that he was spending so much time photographing. "I'm lucky to have a wife that puts up with me being out in the field as much as I am and who supports my passion. I still have a lot to learn about photography and the southwest is my classroom, so I'll see you in the field."


Will Wells wins SWCHR's 2009 Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography
   Will Wells with his 2009 Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography from SWCHR.           Photo by Bill White



The Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography will continue to be presented on an annual basis. SWCHR is very pleased with our first three years of having sponsored this award program that allows us to recognize and reward individuals who demonstrate a high degree of photographic excellence in the field of herpetology. For more information on how to participate in this program, please click here.  During the prior two years SWCHR's Award for Excellence in Herpetological Photography has been bestowed on Jason Penney and Gary Nafis.








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