I've been lugging my new camera around for 6+ months for moments like this. On Saturday we took our first stroll on the beaches of New York, where we saw this guy several yards away. I left my companions and beelined for the guy with the snakes around his neck. I thought it might be a good way to confront my fear of snakes—and get some decent photos. Luckily, Michael was nice enough to let me start snapping away. Unfortunately, most of my shots turned out blurry like this. (This one isn't so bad.) I didn't have time to write down Michael's info, so I luckily remembered his name and email address—this old brain's not shot yet!—and was able to verify that this is, indeed, the great snake master Michael Pagan. He was kind enough to answer a few follow-up questions I had about him and his snakes via email:
How long have you had snakes? 8 years.
What are their names? I own 8 snakes—5 red-tailed boas (Ra, Kilo, Genesis, Bless and Nile), 2 Brazilian rainbow boas (Star & Shine) and 1 Burmese python (Raw).
Are they the 1st snakes you've owned? No.
Were you afraid of snakes as a kid? Not [so] much. Saw them as an animal that was cool.
Any other pets? Yes. A blue nose pit bull named Brooklyn.
Have you ever met a girl thanks to your snakes? Yes. My 1st love. She introduced me to my 1st snake in 2007.
Great. Now I've got a zillion more questions. Thanks, Michael!