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Archive for July, 2015

Bullfrog Among Lily Pads on Horseshoe Lake Nikon D800 (with 1.5 sensor crop activated), Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens ISO 800, f8 @ 1/60 sec

Bullfrog Among Lily Pads on Horseshoe Lake
Nikon D800 (with 1.5 sensor crop activated), Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/60 sec

Without a doubt my most often go-to lens for Bullfrog in the wetland on Horseshoe Lake is my Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, and more often than not I select the Nikon D800’s 1.5 sensor crop when creating these images. By selecting the 1.5 sensor crop I am effectively using a 22mm fisheye lens with a close focusing distance of 5.5 inches. The close focusing capabilities of the Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens are hard to beat when it comes to creating these Bullfrog portraits. To view a larger selection of my fisheye imagery on the Sigma Canada website please click here.

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

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Horseshoe Lake at Sunset, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 19mm ISO50, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

Horseshoe Lake at Sunset, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 19mm
ISO50, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

I have just returned from a week long stay at the cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario and can’t wait to head back up for another week-long stay in a few days. It was a very productive week for wildlife imagery that I will share with you in an upcoming post. On the evening of Saturday July 18th there was a splendid sunset. The lay of the land at the cottage does not usually allow for too many sunset opportunities unless there is a spectacular display. I quickly grabbed my Nikon 18-35mm lens and ran down to the dock when I saw the colors developing in the sky, but the downside was too much wave action from passing motor boats ruining the foreground water. The solution? Create two images. After composing the scene I created one exposure for the sky and then one with a long exposure for the water. This long exposure would “smooth” the surface of the lake hiding the wave action of the passing boats. I then loaded both images into Adobe Camera Raw and made some initial tweaks before opening both images into Photoshop. I am using Photoshop CS6 for my processing of image files so I simply selected the sky image and using the Move Tool moved that image onto the image with the smooth water. I now had each image on its own layer. Next I selected the Eraser Tool and erased the wavy water from the sky image to reveal the smooth water of the second image with the longer exposure.

A simple but effective technique to utilize technology and over-come a challenging situation. If I had waited for the waves to die down the colors in the sky would have been gone.

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

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Common Snapping Turtle Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens Nikon Circular Polarizing Filter ISO 800, f11 @ 1/320

Common Snapping Turtle
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens
Nikon Circular Polarizing Filter
Handheld at ISO 800, f11 @ 1/320

A couple of weeks ago while I was in search of Bullfrogs in the wetland on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario I came upon a very cooperative Common Snapping Turtle basking in the sun on a partially water-logged white pine tree trunk. Several years ago this large white pine trunk became stuck near the entrance to the wetland, but this past winter / spring it has moved deeper into the wetland to a location that is sure to find it being used by several species of turtles and watersnakes. I am eagerly awaiting my next extended stay at the lake to try for more reptile images.

Common Snapping Turtles are usually difficult to approach as they will often retreat into the water at first sight. I made a slow and cautious approach in my canoe hoping not to disturb the turtle and every few feet I would stop to create a few images. Do note in the above photo I used my Nikon Polarizing Filter to cut the glare from the vegetation as well as the turtle’s shell. I soon came to realize that this particular turtle was being very cooperative, so I proceeded a little closer. Soon I had pulled the canoe right up alongside of the turtle and yet it remained undisturbed. I quickly switched out my Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens for my Nikon 18-35mm Lens to create an up-close and personal wide-angle view, and employed my Live View technique that has often worked well for frog-scapes. While using the Live View feature on my Nikon D800 I will lean out over the side of the canoe and hold the camera very close to the water’s surface to get a very low perspective. Using the virtual horizon in Live View will assist in keeping the resulting photos square with the world.

The only thing that kinda bugs me about these snapping turtle photos is the very large bloodsucker that can be seen on the turtle’s left cheek 🙂

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

Common Snapping Turtle Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 35mm Handheld at ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1000

Common Snapping Turtle
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 35mm
Handheld at ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1000

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Amazon Milk Frog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Amazon Milk Frog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

A few months ago there was a wonderful exhibit of tropical frogs at Ontario’s Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. One day in April I made a trip out to see and photograph some of the species that were on display. Photographing such animals through the glass walls of their enclosures can often be a bit troublesome due to finger prints and scratches on the glass, however, there are few simple techniques that can be employed for success. When I photograph captive subjects through the glass walls of their enclosures I will always get as close to the glass as possible to eliminate / reduce the risk of scratches and fingerprints from showing up in the resulting images. To get as close to the glass as possible I ensure that I am using my rubber lens hood so that I do not become one of those individuals that has left unsightly scratches on the enclosures. A relatively large rubber lens hood aligned flush with the glass wall of the enclosure will often reduce the risk of the flash from reflecting off the glass, ruining the photos when it fires.

Rubber Lens Hood on Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

Rubber Lens Hood on Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

At public exhibits I often find it too difficult to work with a tripod, mostly due to the number of visitors and elementary school class trips that attend. As a result I do much prefer to work with flash and when I photogenic subject and pose is noticed I can then quickly grab a few photos without affecting the other visitors that are also there.

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

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

For the image above of the Dendrobates auratus I was able to get a very low perspective and a pleasing background by placing the lens flush with the glass wall at the moment the dart frog jumped to the front of the enclosure. Dart frogs are often very quick and sometime difficult to photograph, but this image gives the impression that I am lying flat on the ground in their rainforest home, yet I was dry and comfy 🙂

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

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

Pictured above is an African Bullfrog. What is not to love about a frog with teeth! These frogs will eat anything they can stuff in their mouths from insects to full grown mice. You will notice that in this image the camera was pointed downwards, with the lens close to the glass and in a downward postion the flash will not reflect back into the resulting images, however, if I tried the same perspective after taking a few steps backwards the flash would be noticeable and the images would be deleted.

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

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

Warty skinned frogs such as the above Argentine Horned Frog do pose some challenges with flash generated spectral highlights. In Photoshop I will often evict the most noticeably distracting highlights, for many of the smaller ones as seen above I will open Selective Color and add a touch of Black to the White channel which tones them down a bit.

Waxy Monkey Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Waxy Monkey Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Treefrog specimens are usually very uncooperative subjects as they are mostly nocturnal so when one is encountered alert and wide-eyed grab as many photos as you can because they will probably go back to sleep very soon.

Below is a Fire-belly Toad which is an Asiatic species and very common in the pet trade. Believe it or not I actually used to keep Fire-belly Toads in a large terrarium many years ago and they lived for roughly 21 years.

Fire-belly Toad Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Fire-belly Toad
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

After photographing many of these wonderful frog species from around the globe in a single afternoon I thought it would be fun to take one of the images and create a frog fract using the Photoshop plug-in Fractalius. Below is a Goliath Frog skeleton. The Goliath Frog is the largest frog in the world, they live alongside streams and such in Cameron, in Africa.

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

Goliath Frog Skeleton Fractalius Rendering

Goliath Frog Skeleton
Fractalius Rendering

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Gray Treefrog on Branch at Night Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Gray Treefrog on Branch at Night
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

For the first time since the inception of this blog I went an entire month without a new blog post. Yikes! Sorry folks. The month of June quickly became a hectic month me as I was spending many evenings driving to various frog ponds near my home and the cottage in search of fresh froggie imagery, processing a large, multi-print, fine art order for the corporate head-quarters of a financial institution in the United States, and several other responsibilities that were leaving me little time to post any new content. The good news is that I was by no means slacking off on creating fresh imagery and now have many new photos, tips, and info to share in upcoming posts.

Each of the frog images within the post were created throughout the month of June during the peak of the spring chorus (breeding season) and surprisingly enough I do still hear the American Toads and Gray Treefrogs chorusing around my home, mostly due to the cool nights prolonging the breeding season this year.

American Toad with Vocal Sac Inflated

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

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

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

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

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

During my travels to various ponds in June I discovered two new ponds that have become my preferref locations for frog photography. At one pond I was amazed at the sheer numbers of American Toads that were floating out in the deeper, inaccessible sections of the pond. They would make their way in towards the stands of last season’s dried cattail stems to chorus. Also among the dried cattail leaves were vast numbers of Spring Peepers. Finding a Spring Peeper among a stand of dried cattail leaves is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Most often the Spring Peepers will be chorusing well above the surface of the pond and once discovered, a slow approach is mandatory as they will become aware of your presence quickly and stop chorusing. If this happens remain still for about 10-15 minutes and you will soon be rewarded for your patience.

Spring Peeper with Vocal Sac Inflated.

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

At the second pond that was newly discovered there were large congregations of Northern Leopard Frogs, which were quite co-operative as well as Green Frogs. Creating images of these two species with their vocal sacs inflated has always been a challenge for me as the call is quick and seemingly unannounced, but upon carefully studying the frog’s behavior I have noticed that they do indeed give very subtle clues that they are about to croak 🙂 Green Frogs will quickly flap the skin on their throat a couple of times just prior to calling, and the Northern Leopard Frogs (as do other frogs) will noticeably begin to draw air in making their body appear inflated. Once they look pretty full of air, a song is soon to follow.

Northern Leopard Frog with Vocal Sacs Inflated

Northern Leopard Frog with Vocal Sacs Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Green Frog with Vocal Sac Inflated.

Green Frog with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

This season I wanted to try creating some night-time imagery of frogs that had a slightly different look to them and thus I decided to head-out into the ponds with my Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens to see what I might be able to create. Below are two of my favorite fisheye night frog photos. When using the fisheye lens for these images it was imperative that I paid close attention to the placement of the flash, cords, and mini-flashlight (used for focusing) as they would end up within the image if placed incorrectly.

Gray Treefrog at Night in Wetland. Nikon D800, Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket, ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Gray Treefrog at Night in Wetland. Nikon D800, Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket, ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Green Frog in Wetland at Night.

Green Frog in Wetland at Night. Nikon D800, Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket, ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Of all the frogs and toads I get to photograph, none are more enjoyable than the Gray Treefrog. Often Gray Treefrogs will strike interesting poses as they climb around vegetation. Below are a few more Gray Treefrog photos that were created over the past month.

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

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

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

Gray Treefrog with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Gray Treefrog with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

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