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Posts Tagged ‘wetlands’

Aquarium Set-up_1173

Above you will see the temporary set-up that I used to create the Water Tiger images in the previous post. Click on the image to see the larger version and you will see that I have used a pair of clothes pegs to hold a small piece of cardboard that has been painted with greens and browns to try and get a pond water look onto the back wall of the aquarium. In the image above I used water-logged leaves as the substrate, which did work not bad but they do hold a lot of debris that can cloud the water. On my second attempt at using this set-up I opted for a sandy substrate that worked much better. By setting the small 2.5 gallon aquarium on the bucket photography was made so much easier and the dip net was essential for catching the various critters that I was able to photograph.

In the images below you will notice that some have relatively clean looking water. I achieved this by cloning out some of the larger particles that were in the water and also with a quick and dirty method discovered by reducing the structure and contrast sliders in Nik Viveza 2 to create the ‘clean’ look. Do note that the images with the sandy bottom yield a cleaner look. The debris in the frog photo (you shoulda known I could not resist the temptation for over-under froggie photos :) ), which is a result of the leafy substrate is acceptable to me as frog ponds are seldom crystal clear anyway.

Here are a few of the recent edits from the aquatic pond life set-up. Please let me know which is your favorite and don’t forget to click on each to see the larger, sharper versions.

Salamander Larva. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 50, f14 @

Salamander Larva. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 100, f14 @ 1/60

Gray Tree Frog Tadpole. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 400, f20 @ 1/60

Gray Tree Frog Tadpole. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400,  ISO 400, f20 @ 1/60

Predaceous Diving Beetle Larva Breathing at Surface. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

Predaceous Diving Beetle Larva Breathing at Surface. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400, ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60

Green Frog. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 500, f16 @ 1/125

Green Frog. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, ISO 500, f16 @ 1/125

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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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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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