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Epipedobates anthonyi – captive

Without a doubt dart frogs, also known as poison arrow frogs, are among the most colorful animals on Earth. A fascinating fact about them is that in the wild they develop their deadly toxins from their food source of ants and termites. In captivity these amphibians are fed cultivated wingless fruit flies which results in them losing their toxicity, rendering them harmless. Nonetheless, they retain their vibrant coloration.

On Saturday May 13 at 10:00 a.m. you too can have an opportunity to photograph 20 different species of dart frogs in my exclusive Darts Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest being held at the Crinan Community Centre located at 13568 Dunborough Line in West Elgin, Ontario, near London, Ontario. For further information please check out the early blog announcement for this workshop by clicking here or by visiting my Workshops page on the website by clicking here.

This post features only a sampling of species we will be photographing in a comfortable setting with realistic studio set-ups. One lucky participant will also be walking away with a door prize supplied by Wimberley!

There are still a few spaces available for this workshop. Please contact me by clicking here to register for the workshop.

 

Dendrobates tinctorius (Citronella) – captive

 

Dendrobates leucomelas – captive

 

Phyllobates terribilis (mint) – captive

 

Ameerega pongoensis – captive

 

Dendrobates auratus campana – captive

 

Phyllobates terribilis – captive

 

Phyllobates vittatos – captive

 

Ranitomeya amazonica – captive

 

Ranitomeya fantastica – captive

 

Ranitomeya imitator – captive

 

Dendrobates tinctorius (Azureus) – captive

Silver Thatch Palm at Sunset, Cayman Brac, Cayman Island, BWI
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
ISO 200
f11 @ 1/50

 

I have been hard at work editing the many thousands of images created during my two week trip to the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac within Cayman Islands. Each morning I awoke at 5:30 a.m. to be on location roughly one hour prior to sunrise. One of the key elements to successful landscape imagery is to arrive for work on time! For me that means being on site long before sunrise and staying well past sunset. Often I find my favorite photos are created in the brief window of opportunity prior to sunrise or they are created after the sun has dipped below the horizon. The opening photo for this blog post, the Cayman Islands national tree, is the Silver Thatch Palm Trees was created one evening while I was up on the bluff photographing Brown Booby birds in soft light and decided to take advantage of my Nikkor 200-55mm lens to isolate these trees against the beautiful glowing sky.

 

Below are some early morning scenes from Pollard Bay on the island’s south east side. Here the Caribbean Sea rolls into the rugged iron shore that surrounds much of island. This area is by far my favorite sunrise location on the island and when the seas get rough tide pools are created on the rugged shoreline rock creating lots of foreground interest. For each of the Pollard Bay images I used my never-leave-home-without-it Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter. And furthermore, since each image was created in pre-dawn light I was able to use long shutter speeds to smooth out the ocean waves so that they would not become a distracting element within each scene.

Pollard Bay, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 15 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Pollard Bay, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 8 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Pollard Bay, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 15 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Pollard Bay, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 5 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

On the morning of February 26th when I headed out there was a persistent drizzle in the air, but that did not deter me from making the 20 minute drive up to the bluff to photograph an inclement weather sunrise looking out across the Caribbean Sea – I was certain there would be a little bit of color peaking through as the sun rose.

 

Sunrise From The Bluff, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 2 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Sunrise on Caribbean Sea, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1.3 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

On February 28th I was in the mood for a sandy beach sunrise, which brought me to the public beach area which has several large rocks scattered about that make for nice foreground elements. Again in pre-dawn light a long shutter speed allowed for the blurring of the incoming waves which were starting to get much larger as the winds were getting much stronger at this point in the trip.

 

Public Beach, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 50
f16 @ 4 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

One part of this recently concluded trip that I was looking most forward to was the underwater photography I had planned to do with both the Nikon D800 and Nikon D500. I purchased an Ewa Marine Housing for this part of the trip but that will be reviewed here on the blog shortly. I did, however, take a few underwater sea-scapes with that set-up of which two of my favorites can be seen below. I only wish a shark could have been swimming through these sea-scape scenes ūüôā

 

Sea-Scape, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 500
f16 @ 1/200 sec

 

Sea-Scape, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens
ISO 500
f11 @ 1/320 sec

 

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

Sunrise at Pollard Bay on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, BWI
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 250
f16 @ 30 seconds
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

I returned from a two week stay on Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands on March 8th and have been busy processing the image files this week. I will share many more images here in the coming days, including a selection of underwater photos captured using my Nikon cameras in an Ewa Marine Housing. First I thought I would share my gear bag for this trip. My go-to pack for traveling light is the Manfrotto Advanced Travel Backpack which is distributed in Canada by Gentec International. I am always amazed at how much gear I can fit into this well designed pack that meets the current carry-on luggage requirements of airlines. Here is what I packed into this gear bag for the trip:

  • Nikon D800
  • Nikon D500
  • Nikkor 18-35mm Lens
  • Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
  • Nikkor 200-500mm Lens
  • Nikon SB400 Spedlight
  • Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
  • 77mm Polarizing Filter
  • 95mm Polarizing Filter
  • Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
  • Cable Release
  • Gepe Card Holder
  • 2 extra batteries for the camera bodies and lithium AA batteries for for the SB400

Manfrotto Advanced Travel Backpack

The total weight of the gear bag fully packed was 19lbs, which was a tad over the weight requirement for the Twin Otter flight from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac but the good folks from Cayman Air were fine with me carrying my camera gear with me on the flight. Packed in my checked luggage was my MeFoto Travel Tripod, which was carried in the tripod pocket of the Manfrotto Advanced Travel Backpack once I arrived on Cayman Brac. The water repellent fabric of the pack and the included rain cover came in particularly useful towards the end of my trip as the winds became very strong with 8-10 foot waves crashing into the island’s iron shore causing significant salt spray. It was comforting to know that my gear was safe in the pack when not is use. To read my earlier, in-depth review of this great gear bag please click here.

Stay tuned for much more form this beautiful Caribbean island getaway. To view a larger and sharper version of today’s featured image from Pollard Bay on the island’s south easterly side please do click on the image.

The March / April 2017 issue of the on-line photography magazine Wildlife Photographic is now available on the Apple App Store & the Google Playstore. This issue features many great articles, by accomplished photographers and is accompanied by equally fantastic wildlife imagery. My Bullfrog image appears on the cover of the magazine and my FROG-scapes 101 article on how I go about creating my signature frog-scape photography. If you do not already subscribe to this magazine please use this code freetialwp to receive a free three month subscrition. At the end of the three month trial you will need to subscribe through regular methods to continue receiving this great magazine. Please follow these instructions to start your free three month trial:

Download Wildlife Photographic from the Apple App Store  http://bit.ly/1aKP3qR or on Google Play http://bit.ly/1JOhMcW

Tap ‘Subscribe’ on the app home page

Tap ‘Current Subscribers’ from the drop down menu

Enter code freetrialwp

This code will be available to use until April 30, 2017

dart-frog-workshop

On Saturday May 13th 2017 I will be hosting an exclusive photographic workshop at the Crinan Community Centre located at 13568 Dunborough Line in West Elgin, Ontario, near London, Ontario. This will be a 4 hour workshop that will commence at 10:00 am. The space for this workshop is limited to a maximum of 10 participants to allow ample time for folks to photograph each species of frog.

This is the only workshop of its kind whereby you will be able to capture stunning imagery of 20 different species dart frogs endemic to the Amazon rainforest of Peru. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to explore the Amazon jungle in hopes of photographing just a fraction of these species. This workshop is in partnership with Understory Enterprises to bring you an incredible opportunity to photograph these 20 species of dart frogs for $195, plus HST, in a comfortable atmosphere with natural studio set-ups.

The recommended gear for photographing these tiny frogs is a macro lens and off camera flash. Alternately, using high quality close-up filters such as the Canon 500D filters will allow many lenses such as the Nikon 80-400mm or Canon 100-400mm to focus close enough for these small subjects. Please contact me if you have any equipment inquiries when registering for this workshop.

To register for this workshop folks may contact me here for availability. Payments can be made via email transfer or by cheque made payable to Andrew McLachlan.

 

cayman-brac-sign

Today I am bound for a two week excursion to Cayman Brac. I am looking forward to photographing the nesting Brown Booby and the rugged terrain of the island, as well as diving into the sea to explore the life below with my cameras. I will follow-up with a trip report after a few days and perhaps share a couple of cellphone snaps. The photo featured in today`s post was created during a previous visit to the island and was given a creative edit using Topaz Labs Black & White Effects with a reduced opacity to reveal the natural colors of the sign.

See you all very soon.

Cheers!!!

Red-eyed Tree Frog © Chuck Carson

Red-eyed Tree Frog  © Chuck Carson

 

Workshop participant Chuck Carson recently shared a few of his images that he created during my January Reptile & Amphibian Workshop that was held at Reptilia. I love the peek-a-boo pose on the Red-eyed Tree Frog and the dead-on stare from the Green Tree Python has excellent sharpness from the tip of the nose to the eyes, which is where you want it to be. The Dendrobates auratus was photographed on some dried oak leaves to mimic the debris on the forest floor¬† that these colorful dart frogs call home. Similarly the Fire Salamander that is endemic to Europe was photograph in a mini-pond set-up with lichen covered tree bark to resemble native habitat for these large salamanders. Chuck also did very well with these latter two species, especially with the very jumpy dart frog and also by paying close attention to the salamander’s reflection in the pond, being sure not to cut it off on the bottom edge.

 

Green Tree Python © Chuck Carson

Green Tree Python  © Chuck Carson

 

Dendrobates auratus © Chuck Carson

Dendrobates auratus  © Chuck Carson

 

Fire Salamander © Chuck Carson

Fire Salamander  © Chuck Carson

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