The Reptile Report - Personalities- A Media Resource My name is Mike Wilbanks and my almost 40 year love affair with snakes began very simply as a boy of 6 years catching...
Personalities- Michael Pankratz
The Reptile Report - Personalities- A Media Resource
My name is Michael Pankratz, and I’ve been into various inverts since I was about four. I grew up on a large farm in SW Minnesota and I could usually be found wandering the woods and meadows with a butterfly net over my shoulder. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) has always been my first love, and during my Jr. and Sr. High School years I raised quite a number of local Saturniid moths.
After ten years In Santa Fe (designing optical systems and telescopes) I moved back to Minnesota. As it wasn’t the adventurous place which I had previously become used to I returned to my first passion, raising inverts, and thought it would be fun to get another adult B. smithi, (tarantula which I’d kept while in HS and College). Well, somehow a friend talked me into trying to raise slings (had to ask what a ‘sling’ was), began with a dozen A. versicolor slings and of course became hooked!!
It was also soon after that time during which I began taking pictures of my collection, beginning with a cheap point and shoot which my brother was throwing away. As my skills and interest grew I slowly began upgrading my equipment, ending up with the camera which I use today, a Nikon D7000. I also attach a Raynox dcr-250 or an msn-202 for higher magnifications than the 1:1 Nikkor 105 macro lens can attain. A number of my photos have been used in museum exhibits and biodiversity websites.
Needless to say, I was by this time completely enamored with taking photos of my tarantulas. I continue to be an amateur … the literal meaning of which is ‘someone who loves what they do’! During the past couple of years I have posted my best photos on Flickr and various tarantula forums. I’m particularly into taking macros of slings … the ‘WOW factor’ with these is incredible, always revealing things which the eye alone would never guess where there!
I find that the main secret to getting good photos is to take hundreds during a photo shoot … a few are bound to turn out well!
Very recently I’ve begun attempting deep focus stacks of tarantulas … quite a challenge as they must sit motionless, not so much as moving a chelicera, while I take about 50 shots at progressive focal planes.
I very much hope that my next step will be breeding tarantulas, but thus far my attempts have met with failure for various reasons … I’ll certainly keep trying. How exciting it was as I watched a good friend of mine (Chad) open a sac full of gorgeous little EWLs!!
Flickr photo gallery- https://www.flickr.com/photos/_papilio/
One of my Arachnoboard threads- http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?226615-Papilio-s-photo-thread
I am available to contribute in these areas:
- television/video- no
- radio- no
- photography- yes
- video production- no
- consulting- no
- interviews- yes
- referrals- no
- quotes- yes
- writing- yes
- hosting- no
- organization- no
- breeding/husbandry info- no
- natural habitat info- no
- research- no
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.@ the online source