I am Wouter van Brenk (1984), born and raised in the Netherlands. I grew up with love for nature and wildlife. Encouraged by my father, I learned to find Roe deer, Wild boars and Grass snakes as a young kid in the forests around my hometown (Utrecht area) and at the majestic 'Veluwe'. I spent hours along the side of the ditch with my landing net, to catch and observe tadpoles.
In the years that followed I kept my interest in wildlife and more specifically developed a major passion for herpetology. Finding reptiles and amphibians in the wild (field herping) soon became more than a hobby. It turned into one of my life goals. A period of intensive learning about this fascinating world began and actually never stopped.
Nowadays I am active in the field for RAVON, the organization that protects Dutch reptiles and amphibians. In one of the study areas I analyze the occurrence of four of our seven native reptile species. Since 2020 I am also member of the WAN (Working group Adder research Netherlands). This small and dedicated team is specialized in researching and conserving European Adder (Vipera berus) populations in the Netherlands. To be able to work in the field with our only venomous snake, which I deeply admire, feels like a privilege.
I am convinced of the fact that photography is a powerful tool to contribute to awareness and especially when it comes to reptiles.
Unfortunately snakes can be considered as one of the most feared and misunderstood animals on the planet. By occasionally showing photos and adding a few facts (e.g. about behaviour), the way these amazing animals are seen by many people hopefully changes at least a little bit in their favor.
Photographing herpetofauna in the wild is preferably done, and during certain moments even strictly required, 'in situ' (untouched and as found). For me in personal, photography is rarely a goal in itself. My herpetological work all the more. I often enter the field without my DSLR camera. Working with the least possible disturbance for the subject should always be the first and top priority in my opinion.
Wouter with a secretive Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), Netherlands