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Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Participant Group Photo

On Saturday May 13th the first Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest was held at the Crinan Community Centre. We had 7 wonderful and fun loving participants. The day was full of laughter and great image opportunities. A very big round of thanks goes out to Mark and Jackie Pepper of Understory Enterprises for being absolutely fantastic at wrangling the frogs for the participants throughout the entire day. Also a very big thank-you goes out to each of the participants for being such awesome and fun loving folks! I am eager to share with you the workshop participants photos here on the blog once they are ready to share because they were all creating some really awesome imagery!

The Crinan Community Centre is a fabulous location for the workshop and rich in history too. It originally opened as a school on October 22, 1913 and had separate entrances for the boys and girls. It closed as a school in 1965 and was restored many years later to serve as a community centre in the Dutton/Dunwich area of Ontario. Below is a creative edit of the hall that I photographed early in the morning when I first arrived.

Crinan Community Centre

The workshop participants were able to photograph 20 different species of dart frogs in natural table-top set-ups as well as a couple of add-on tree frog species towards the end of the day. Workshop participant Sherry Butts came up with a great idea of using a large white plastic plate for some creative frog portraits too. And longtime blog follower George Nagy was the winner of the door prize, a Wimberley Plamp, graciously provided by Wimberley.

We will be offering a second workshop at this same location in August or September and it will feature an entirely different selection of dart frog species. Any folks that are interested should contact me here to be added to the contact list for this soon to be announced second workshop.

During the workshop I only created a small handful of images as my priority was to assist the participants in capturing their own great photos of the frogs. Below are a few of my favorite images from the day.

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

Ranitomeya imitator – captive

 

Epipedobates anthonyi – captive

 

Phyllobates terribilis – captive

 

Dendrobates tinctorius azureus – captive

 

La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi) – captive

 

A trio of Cruziohyla craspedopus – captive

 

Recently I created a slideshow presentation of my February trip to the Caribbean Island of Cayman Brac using Adobe Spark and shared it on my social media sites. I wanted to share this project with those that follow along here at the blog as well. To view the slideshow simply click on the above picture and scroll down through the project.

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement in the next week or so about an exclusive opportunity to join me in Febraury 2018 for a guided tour of these stunning vistas on Cayman Brac. Folks that are interested in this photo tour can send a quick email here to have their email address added to my workshop email list to avoid missing out on this incredible opportunity.

The Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop is fast approaching with limited space remaining. On Saturday May 13th at 10:00 am at the Crinan Community Centre located at 13568 Dunborough Line in West Elgin, Ontario those that are already registered will be creating incredible imagery of a vast variety of dart frogs endemic to the forests of Peru. In order to photograph this vast variety of frogs in the wild it would cost tens of thousands of dollars and extensive, guided travel, but in this four hour photographic workshop you will create impressive imagery of nature’s most colourful animals, in natural settings, in comfort.

One lucky participant will be walking away with a door prize donated by Wimberley!

One such frog we will be photographing is Phyllobates terribilis aka “The Terrible One.” This frog is the deadliest vertebrate on the planet with enough alkaloid toxins to kill 100 people. Fortunately all dart frogs in captivity lose their toxins and are perfectly safe. They develop their toxins through the ants and termites that they feed on in the Amazon Rainforest, without this food supply they lose their toxicity.

All frogs used in this workshop are captive bred specimens.

Here are a few examples of what you will be able to capture if you register for the workshop. Do note that there are limited spaces remaining. For more information please click here.

Phyllobates terribilis (mint) – captive

 

Phyllobates terribilis – captive

 

Dendrobates auratus campana

 

Epipedobates anthonyi – captive

 

Phyllobates vittatos – captive

 

Dendrobates tinctorius (Azureus) – captive

 

Dendrobates tinctorius (Citronella) – captive

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 500
f5.6 @ 1/800 sec

Without a doubt the Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) is North America’s most beautiful duck. In the late 19th and early 20th century they were hunted to near extinction, but in 1918 after the hunting season was closed they steadily grew in numbers and now there is estimated to be more than a million Wood Ducks in North America. I frequently encounter them in the woodland ponds and quiet lake shores throughout the Parry Sound region however, they are often very quick to take flight and disappear into deeper, inaccessible areas of the wetlands. During a recent trip to Toronto’s High Park to photograph the famous Sakura Cherry trees in full bloom I encountered a large flock of very co-operative and very tame Wood Ducks. I spent roughly three hours photographing the ducks until the lighting began to turn too harsh and created close to 3,000 images. The photos featured in today’s blog post represent a small number and my favorites of the initial edit from the day. The proximity of the pond that the ducks were foraging in provided a nice mixture of sun and shade which allowed for capturing the ducks in various lighting scenarios. My preference is to create images of the Wood Ducks in shade or overcast light for beautiful fine feather details.

Each of the featured images were created with the amazing Nikon D500 and the Nikkor 200-500mm VR lens handheld. Being able to capture images at 1o frames per second with the Nikon D500’s 200 image buffer ensures that I never miss a shot due to exhausting the camera’s buffer, which will happen often with my Nikon D800 due to the large size of the image files. I do however selectively use the 10 fps on the Nikon D500 in very short bursts. I will only hold down the shutter for longer bursts during periods of intense action whereby I am hoping to capture the best possible image for the corresponding action.

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

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 410mm (615mm equivalent)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/200 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake wing flap
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/400 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake taking flight
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 800
f8 @ 1/2000 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/800 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 200
f5.6 @ 1/320 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/400 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake wing flap
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 370mm (555mm equivalent)
ISO 200
f8 @ 1/320 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/500 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 410mm (615mm equivalent)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/200 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – hen
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/100 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 500
f8 @ 1/500 sec

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) – drake
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 640
f8 @ 1/1000 sec

Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 100, f11 @ 1/60 sec.

With each and every excursion I undertake into natural environs the negative effect of humans on our natural world is sadly noted. From the highly destructive nature of ATVs, to the illegal dumping of garbage, degradation of the environment through vandalism or trampling, and to photographers engaging in unethical practices for personal financial gain have become commonplace within our wild places. It is time for a change.

This is where the ‘League of Landscape Photographers’ comes into place. They are a group of artists that have bound themselves to photograph by a code of ethics. To better protect our wild places, the flora, and the fauna, developing a code of ethics in which we conduct ourselves is of the utmost importance to protect the places we love.

In my own photography I have always maintained a high ethical standard whereby the welfare of my photographic subject rises above any photographic opportunity. For me it is always about the experience first, with resulting images being an extension of the experience. Whenever possible I photograph the degradation of our environment and publish resulting images on social media to help raise awareness of such concerns. I show respect for the environment with each visit and to each individual I encounter along the way, hoping they will exhibit the same level of respect to me, to others, and to the environment. Education is also paramount to the protection of our environment, therefore, informing others on how the negative effects of their behaviour will impact a given situation is brought to their attention whenever it is safe to do so.

Please visit the League of Landscape Photographers by clicking here.

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/500 sec.

 

On previous travels throughout the Caribbean I have had the opportunity to photograph Rock Iguanas in Cuba. I have also photographed them on the island of Little Cayman within the Cayman Islands. On my recent trip to Cayman Brac I encountered a large male Rock Iguana sunning in an open area far off from the main road on the island. I would estimate his length at roughly 3 feet from nose to tail. This was a special moment for me as the Rock Iguanas found on both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are a unique subspecies known as the Sister Islands Rock Iguanas and they are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Please do take a moment to read about this subspecies of the Rock Iguana on the IUCN Red List. When reading the report make note that on Little Cayman these iguanas occupy a range of 18 square kilometres while on Cayman Brac their range of habitat is 20 square kilometres. Several factors are to blame for their decline including; habitat destruction, feral cats, domestic cats and dogs, invasion species such as the Green Iguana and Norway Rat, and road mortality. While the Sister Islands Rock Iguana is a protected species there is little in the way of protected habitat for them.

When photographing wildlife, whether it is a critically endangered species or one of least concern, it is important that the welfare of the animal transcends the photographic opportunity.

Please remeber to click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version of this impressive reptile.

 

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 420mm (630mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 800
f8 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 310mm (465mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/640 sec.

American Toad
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

On Sunday April 9th, two days after receiving a late season snowfall, the temperatures rose to just above the 20 degree Celsius mark in south-central Ontario. Perfect conditions for a night time excursion to the neighborhood frog pond. As I drove through the night to reach the pond I did so with the car window rolled down and as I neared the pond’s location I could already hear the deafening chorus of hundreds of Spring Peppers. Typically at this point in the season it is only the Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs, and Wood Frogs that are chorusing. Other species will generally emerge a few weeks later. On this night I did note many Green Frogs, and American Toads had also emerged but had not yet begun to chorus. I spent about two hours wading through the shallow waters of the pond searching out the crooners and also keeping a close eye on a newcomers to the pond – Beavers. Late last fall it appears that beavers have moved into the pond creating a dam to retain a deeper depth to the pond which should benefit the frog’s offspring in their metamorphosis to adulthood without the risk of the pond drying out. When searching for these frogs it is often best to search the grasses and shrubbery at the pond’s periphery, as this is where they will be discovered most often. On this first excursion I was pleasantly surprised to locate a juvenile Bullfrog as well.

Here are a few images that were created on this first excursion into this year’s spring chorus.

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

Have you have ever thought about trying your hand at photographing frogs and toads at night during the spring chorus. If so, send me an email to schedule a private in-the-field session to learn how I photograph them under the cover of darkness.

Wood Frog
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Spring Peeper
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Spring Peeper
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Bullfrog – juvenile
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

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