In situ images are pictures taken without touching or catching the subjects. In some types of wildlife photography, such as the photography of reptiles and amphibians, catching and manipulating the subjects is a common practice. Most of the time this matter means very little harm to the animals as most recover quickly from the stress. However, depending on species, age and time of the season, manipulation can actually harm them and result in high stress levels.
Therefore in general the in situ approach is a more eco-friendly way of photographing wildlife.
I dont always practice this myself, but most of the times when I go out in search of reptiles and amphibians I just take in situ images. They dont turn out in the prefectionistic way, that posed images do, but they show the natural behaviours such as feeding, mating, hunting and basking of the animals and are always the biggest "trophyshots" to me.
My all time favorite snake is the European adder (Vipera berus). Between 2019 and 2023 I was lucky enough to conduct several studies of this species in the Black Forest in Germany. My studies included habitat suitability modelling, microhabitat analyses, population genetics and ultimately writing a species conservation report for the adder population in the northern Black Forest. Adders have fascinated me for their specialist adaptations to cold and harsh climates. You can found adders out in springtime in temperatures below 0°C as long as there is some insolation. I even found two indivuduals out during -1°C in a snowstorm. Adders will always fascinate me and I will proceed looking for them in as many habitats as I can travel too. Adders, especially in springtime (spermatogenesis in males) and late summer (gravid females) are very sensitive to disturbances, so it is highly important to keep a safe distance from them, especially in spring and late summer!