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Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400                                                   ISO 400, f16 @ 1/100 sec.

Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/100

Water Tiger is the common name given to the larval stage of the Predacious Diving Beetle. During my forays out to the frog ponds I often encounter bizarre, alien-like waterbugs, so recently I decided to use a small 2.5 gallon aquarium and and photograph a few of these interesting critters. The Water Tiger has a voracious appetite and will often devour tadpoles, salamander larva, other aquatic bugs, and small fish. The large sickle-like jaws allow them to over-power prey larger than themselves. My aquarium set-up was quite productive allowing me to successfully create numerous images of various subjects. I will share in a future post soon exactly what worked best for the set-up and how I processed each of the image files.

Please do click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

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The following is a series of images I created over a 5 minute time frame of a Common Loon on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. It was early morning as I paddled my canoe along shoreline of a quiet bay.  A large Snapping Turtle surfaced beside the canoe to check me out before slowly retreating back to the bottom of the lake. Next I saw a Common Loon was nearby, but I was not in a good position to photograph it, so I slowly paddled my way around for a better shooting angle. The loon had dove, but resurfaced nearby with a large rock bass in its bill. Over the next 5 minutes the loon appeared to play with the fish before swallowing it. I created countless images of the action and below are my favorite ones from the series.

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

Common Loon with Rock Bass

Common Loon with Rock Bass

Common Loon Diving for Rock Bass After Dropping it

Common Loon diving for Rock Bass after dropping it

Common Loon Grabbing Rock Bass

Common Loon grabbing Rock Bass

Common Loon with a Firm Grasp of the Rock Bass

Common Loon with a firm grasp of the Rock Bass

Common Loon with the now dead Rock Bass

Common Loon with the now dead Rock Bass

Common Loon after swallowing the Rock Bass

Common Loon after swallowing the Rock Bass

Common Loon content after a hearty breakfast

Common Loon content after a hearty breakfast

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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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Rosseau River_600

During my last stay at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Muskoka region I chose to visit Lower Rosseau Falls on a rain-filled day. As I made the half hour trek over to the river there was a persistent drizzle, which is absolutely perfect for waterfall photography. As soon as I arrived, as luck would have it, the skies began to look as though it was going to clear up. I rushed to garb a few images before the river was in full sun. Rather than depart and head back when the sun shone full, I decided to play around with the Nikon D800’s in-camera HDR feature for both the sunlit scenes and the those whereby I waited for some cloud cover. This feature will produce a 108 MB TIFF file!

What else is new with the images in this post? I have processed and sharpened all of them using the new TKAction Panel from Tony Kuyper. If you enjoy photographing landscapes and wish to get the absolute most out of your image files then simply click here and read through and watch the videos as well. On the Special Offer page you can purchase the complete package for only $79US.

Please click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions and let me know which one is your favorite :)

Rosseau River_611

Rosseau River_637

Rosseau River_626

 

 

 

Rosseau River_659

 

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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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Storm Clouds Rolling Over Farmland, Bradford, Ontario

Storm Clouds Rolling Over Farmland, Bradford, Ontario

 

Today’s image is a repost of an image that was featured last summer. The approaching storm clouds that were rolling over this Bradford area farm last summer were from a storm system that ended up causing widespread flooding in the city of Toronto.

On Tuesday evening I found myself smack-dab in the middle of another wild and wicked storm system, but was unable to create any images of the storm due to its violent nature. As it turned out my daughter was to be in Angus, Ontario for a rehearsal for an up coming dance recital. Once I had picked her up from school we arrived home for a quick dinner, then got dressed for the dance rehearsal, and on our way. As we headed west along our sideroad I could see ominous black clouds looming on the horizon. It was not too long into our drive before gale force winds were blowing a significant amount of rain across the roadways and reducing visibility quite drastically. In fact driving through this rain storm was probably some of the worst weather conditions I have ever driven in, including winter storms. I can say that my trusty Subaru never faltered, even though the roadways were like flowing rivers.

We arrived at the theatre for the rehearsal on time and the storm had dissipated by the time we arrived as well. What I did not know, but became aware of afterwards was that only a few kilometres away from our rehearsal location, a tornado touched down and destroyed roughly 100 homes. The winds of this storm were estimated to be in excess of 200 km per hour. Fortunately no lives were lost.

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

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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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