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Bullfrog at Dawn on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Bullfrog at Dawn on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

During my last round of trips to photograph the Bullfrogs on Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound region I was under close watch by one member of the resident beaver family that resides in the marsh. In fact, the Bullfrogs most often hang out in very close proximity to the active beaver lodge. Each evening as I would arrive at the wetland to photograph the frogs the beaver would swim out of the lodge and feast on the stems of the yellow pond lily leaves while seemingly watching my every move. I did think that the beaver was behaving a little differently than usual. Nonetheless I happily photographed the bullfrogs and was even lucky enough to catch an ambient light image of one of the males with it’s vocal sac inflated, and I love the blurred effect of the water beside the vibrating vocal sac.

Bullfrog_350

Bullfrog Chorusing

I was also able to work on some more of my frog-scapes with my Nikon 18-35mm lens, which quickly became my favorite lens for such imagery. The easiest and most effective way to create frog-scapes is to use a wide-angle lens with the Live View feature that is available on DSLRs today. I like to use a bubble level in the camera’s hot-shoe to ensure all is square with the world as well.

Bullfrog at Dusk on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Bullfrog at Dusk on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

On the week I departed from the cottage on Horseshoe Lake my brother Gregg had shown up to spend a week at the lake. A couple of days later he sent me a text message to inform me to be very careful of the beavers in the marsh. The large male beaver (see image below) charged my brother in the canoe as well as a couple of kids that were also nearby. As it turns out the beaver pups were now old enough to leave the den for under the protective eyes of their parents. Beavers can be very dangerous animals and should not be under-estimated. In May 2013, a Russian fisherman was killed when a beaver attacked him and severed a major artery. When I travel north to the cottage again next week I will need to be very careful of the beavers and be mindful of there whereabouts while I am with the Bullfrog.

Beaver in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Beaver in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Please remember to click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version.

 

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Bullfrog_334

I have just returned from my trip up to Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound region. I have lots of fresh images to share over the course of the next few weeks before my return trip. I spent a considerable amount of time in a nearby wetland with the local Bullfrog population and do seem to have become good friends with one fellow. This particular male Bullfrog is extremely co-operative and will allow me to pick him up without hesitation. I am guessing that I have likely photographed him several times over the last few years and he is quite used to my presence. I will need to look to through my older images to see if I can find any identifying marks that would be informative in that regard.

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Male Bullfrog Among Water Lily Leaves, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Male Bullfrog Among Water Lily Leaves, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Alas, the time of year has come where I head north to the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound region. As a result the blog will be quiet for about one week. I hope to return with a new batch of froggie pics and even a few new images from one of Ontario’s premier photographic locations – Killbear Provincial Park. Below you will see a Black & White conversion of an image created at Killbear Provincial Park during one of my numerous visits last year.

In the bullfrog image above, if you click on it to see the larger, sharper version you will see the clear translucent skin floating beside the frog. Did you know that frog’s shed their skin and eat it too?

See ya all soon :)

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Gray Treefrog_106

Male Gray Treefrog with vocal sac fully inflated while chorusing

Have you ever wondered how loud a frog’s can sing? Well the loudest frog call in the world is that of the Coqui Frog of Puerto Rico, which has been measured at a booming 108 decibels, and that is almost as loud as some jackhammers! The Gray Treefrog of North America has been measured at a range of 88 to 95 decibels. Whenever I have been fortunate enough to be sitting in a wetland at peak chorus with numerous individuals calling all at the same time, the sound can be deafening. In fact the sound level and subsequent ringing in my ears afterwards reminds me of my younger days when I would attend RAMONES concerts :)

In these two photos do note the variation in coloration. The frog in the first image is in a shallow pond with a sandy / clay-like bottom and minimal new growth of cattails, hence the drab colors. While in the photo below the pond is much deeper with a dark, mucky bottom and there was significant new growth of cattails, which is why this fella has a brilliant green coloration.

 

Male Gray Treefrog at rest between calls - note vocal sac stays partially inflated

Male Gray Treefrog at rest between calls – note vocal sac stays partially inflated

Please click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version.

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American Toad_9913

The two images presented here were created a few seconds apart. Often I will take several images from various angles and perspectives when photographing frogs and toads at night, especially when I see the ripple effect. The ripple effect is created when the toad’s vocal sac touches the water’s surface while it is chorusing. The vibration of the vocal sac creates the ripples. In each of these images I was immediately drawn to the way the dead cattail leaves were framing the toad along the bottom portion of the composition and while composing I made certain not to cut-off the ‘V’ created by the break in the leaf at the bottom edge.

American Toad_9915

Please remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions. Which do you prefer?

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Green Frog_168

It always amazes me when I am editing my images of frogs photographed at night the number of other critters that show up in the frame. More often than not these are waterbugs, but tonight when going through photos created several nights ago I was pleasantly surprised to see a tiny fish fry resting in front of the frog. I am uncertain of the actual species of fish, which are inhabiting this new pond I discovered due to the itty-bitty size of the fish but I am going to assume that it may be a baby stickleback. Once you click on the image to view the larger, sharper version the fish will be more visible as will be the two tiny insects on the frog’s left cheek.

When frogs are posed such as this within the pond I will always assume a low perspective, often submerging my arms in the pond to get the camera down low and then place the frog dead center within the composition. As long as there is symmetrical balance within the frame a bulls-eyed subject can be pleasing.

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Gray Treefrog_244

A few nights ago I ventured out into a new pond that I had discovered where Gray Treefrogs are chorusing very loudly. The pond already has a dense growth of cattails so working my way out to the area of the pond where the frogs were located was tricky at best, but I was able to create a few new images that ended up in the keeper file :) Gray Treefrogs are the chameleons of the amphibian world, able to change their colors to blend in to their surrounding environment. Photographing them in the spring when they are at their breeding pools among the green cattails typically produces images of them in their splendid greens.

Gray Treefrog_260

Gray Treefrog_278

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Green Frog With Vocal Sac Inflated

Green Frog With Vocal Sac Inflated

By far the most productive nights for photographing frogs and toads tend to be those which are humid, rainy, or drizzly. Above is a recent Green Frog photographed with its vocal sac inflated that was created on a wet evening after the rain stopped. Using a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 105mm Micro lens, I knelt down in the shallow pond with my chest waders on and assumed a low and steady perspective¬† by resting my elbows on the pond’s substrate. Green Frog’s vocal sacs are only inflated for a brief period while they are making their loose banjo string-like song, but closely watching their movements you can easily learn when to press the shutter to capture a fully inflated vocal sac.

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Male American Toad (Bufo americanus) chorusing in pond at night.

Male American Toad (Bufo americanus) chorusing in pond at night.

I have been quite busy these last few weeks, with little time to get out for fresh images. This week with our night time temperatures being relatively warm I had to head out in search of some photos of chorusing toads, which I could hear far off in the distance. Since the ponds behind my home were destroyed a couple of seasons ago I now must travel further a field for images. I have located another productive pond about 15 minutes from my home, so I drove there a couple of nights ago. The toads were being most cooperative as song filled the air.

When I photograph frogs and toads at night I will use a head-lamp as well as two tiny flashlights attached to the flash head with elastics, these are used for focusing at night. Another useful way to use external lighting to assist with night-time focusing is to use a small clip-on flashlight and fastening it to sturdy elements within the pond such as that of a dried cattail stem. By doing so you can aim the light quite accurately to assist with the focusing. This is exactly what I did to photograph the toads in this blog post.

Small clip-on flashlight secured to dried cattail stem.

Small clip-on flashlight secured to dried cattail stem.

Often I have noticed that the toad’s colorations can vary greatly among each specimen that has arrived at the pond. I was delighted to find this specimen with it’s lovely golden yelow tones.

American Toad (Bufo americanus) in pond at night

American Toad (Bufo americanus) in pond at night

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A Large Male Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

A Large Male Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

I created this bullfrog portrait last summer on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. The easiest way to create such images of bullfrogs is to do so from a canoe. Bullfrogs are generally quite approachable and will often tolerate you sliding up beside them in a canoe. By using the Live View mode on my Nikon D800 with a Nikon 105mm Micro lens attached I was able to hand-hold the rig just above the water’s surface for a low perspective – the lens hood was actually dipping into the water slightly. When you photograph frogs in the water from such low perspectives you will be able to get the accompanying reflection. To ensure that I am holding the camera square with the world I place a double-bubble level in the camera’s hot-shoe, alternately you could activate the virtual horizon feature while in the Live View mode. It is also advisable to use auto-focus while doing so as the last thing you need to worry about while leaning over the edge of your canoe is focusing the lens manually.

I am eagerly awaiting this season’s Bullfrog photography on Horseshoe Lake as I will be experimenting with the Sony RX100 in an underwater housing for a completely new perspective on froggies.

Please do click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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