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Archive for July, 2018

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 1000
f16 @ 1/50 sec

I have long wanted to experiment with over-under, or also known as split shots, of Bullfrogs in their watery worlds. Several days ago I gave it a whirl for the first time and cannot wait to get back up to Horseshoe Lake to create more of these images. Each of these over-under images was created handheld from the canoe using the Nikon D500 and the Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens in an Ewa Marine Housing. Why did I use a crop sensor camera to create these images with the Laowa 15mm Wide Angle Macro, quite simply because the 15mm focal length will vignette horribly with a full frame camera inside the Ewa Marine bag. The 15mm focal length on a crop sensor camera works perfectly though. The Live View feature was activated to assist with composing and focusing each of the scenes. I was unsure how the Laowa lens would perform inside the Ewa Marine housing, but was more than pleased with the results, considering that the Laowa lens is a fully manual lens. The easiest was I found to capture these photos was to place the camera and lens inside the Ewa Marine housing but to not use the rail clamp to close the housing. This allows the top of the housing to remain open allowing my hand to easily focus the manual lens. The easiest way to ensure sharp focus while using the Laowa lens and Live View is to enlarge the view to 100% on the LCD screen and focus on the frog’s eyeball. To quickly enlarge the view to 100% over the frog’s eyeball I pre-position the Live View focusing sensor over where I want the frog’s eye to be positioned within the composition. I then press the center button on the Nikon D500’s multi selector to immediately attain a 100% view, allowing me to accurately focus on the frog’s eyeball and capture the intended frame.

I am often asked “How do I get so close to these frogs?” The answer – large bullfrogs tend to be more tolerant than the juveniles. A slow approach works best as do slow movements inside the canoe. Any sudden movement triggers a flight response. Once the canoe is in position beside a chosen subject I kneel down in the canoe and slowly move the camera into position. For many of these images the front of the lens is only about 2-3 inches away from the subject.

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 500
f16 @ 1/320 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 500
f16 @ 1/640 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 500
f16 @ 1/640 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland at dusk, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 320
f16 @ 1/50 sec

 

Bullfrog in wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Macro Lens
ISO 800
f16 @ 1/500 sec

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Join Andrew McLachlan on Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula this September 18th, 19th, & 20th 2018 for 2 ½ days of in-depth photographic exploration. During this landscape photography workshop we will visit some of the finest landscapes that the Georgian Bay coast has to offer. Embrace the beauty of turquoise waters and rugged limestone cliffs along the Niagara Escarpment – an UNESCO World Biosphere. Maximum number of participants is 8. This workshop has been scheduled mid-week to avoid the crowds that are present during weekends.

Do note that there will be some walking involved on woodland trails and rocky shorelines, with uneven terrain. The longest walk will be roughly 20 – 30 minutes in length. Please do not hesitate to inquire should you have any concerns regarding physical limitations that may affect your ability to attend this event. It is also recommended that you purchase your vehicle day pass for each day in advance at www.reservations.pc.gc.ca

Itinerary:

Tuesday, September 18th:

  • Meet in the parking lot of Halfway Log Dump for sunrise / daybreak photo session at 6:00 a.m.
  • Stop for lunch (on your own) as a group at 1:00 p.m.
  • 20-30 minute walk to Indian Head Cove / The Grotto for afternoon photo session
  • Dinner (on your own) as a group before or after sunset based on group decision
  • Sunset photo session at Singing Sands at 6:00 p.m.
  • Get some rested for early start on Wednesday

Wednesday, September 19th:

  • Meet at 6:00 a.m. at Little Cove for sunrise photo session
  • Stop for lunch (on your own) as a group at 1:00 p.m.
  • Afternoon photo session  – location to be determined
  • 20-30 minute walk to sunset photo session at Indian Head Cove for 6:00 p.m. arrival
  • Complimentary dinner at local restaurant

Thursday, September 20th:

  • Indian Head Cove / The Grotto for sunrise photo session – 20 – 30 minute walk
  • Depart for home 12:00 p.m.

What’s Included:

  • In-depth photographic instruction during each photo session with LCD review to ensure you are capturing the best possible images given the conditions of the day
  • Dinner at restaurant in Tobermory on Wednesday, September 19th

What’s Not Included:

  • Accommodations (numerous options available in Tobermory… I will be staying in the park at the Poplars Campground)
  • Day use vehicle passes for each day. These can be purchased in advance at www.reservations.pc.gc.ca
  • Transportation
  • Car pooling of participants is encouraged for each photo session
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

$325.00 CDN plus taxes

Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque.

To reserve your spot in the Bruce Peninsula Workshop please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment.

Cancellation Policy:

No Refunds. Check your schedule carefully prior to booking.

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Join Andrew McLachlan in Ontario’s Muskoka District on October 1st, 2nd, & 3rd 2018 for 2 ½ days of in-depth photographic exploration of the finest waterfalls and rivers, forests and wetlands of the region. Embrace the beauty of Muskoka and learn the skills of landscape photography amid the palette of autumn. If we are lucky enough to have clear night skies we will add on a starry night-scape session too. Maximum number of participants is 8.

Do note that there will be some walking involved, through woodland trails with uneven ground. The longest walk will be roughly 1 kilometre in length. Please do not hesitate to inquire should you have any concerns regarding physical limitations that may affect your ability to attend this event.

Itinerary:

Tuesday, October 1st:

  • Meet in the parking lot of Brooks Falls (Huntsville area) at 7:00 a.m. for waterfall photo session
  • Stop for lunch (on your own) at 1:00 p.m.
  • Oxtongue Rapids (Huntsville area) photo session
  • Dinner (on your own) at local restaurant at 7:00 p.m.
  • Get some rested for early start on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 2nd:

  • Meet at 6:00 a.m. at pre-determined location in Bracebridge and carpool to waterfall for photo sessions
  • Stop for lunch (on your own) at 1:00 p.m.
  • Additional waterfall / river sessions
  • Sunset photo session
  • Complimentary dinner at local restaurant

Thursday, October 3rd:

  • Meet at 6:00 a.m. at pre-determined location in Bracebridge and carpool to Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve for sunrise and morning photo session
  • Depart for home 12:00 p.m.

What’s Included:

  • In-depth photographic instruction during each photo sessions with LCD review
  • Dinner at nearby restaurant on Wednesday October 2nd

What’s Not Included:

  • Accommodations (numerous options available… I will be staying at the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge – they serve a continental style breakfast)
  • Transportation
  • Car pooling of participants is encouraged to arrive at each location
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

$325.00 CDN plus taxes

Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque.

 

To reserve your spot in the Muskoka Autumn Colour Spectacular please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment. Please do not delay in booking your accommodations as hotels / motels in the area will fill up quickly.

 

Cancellation Policy:

No Refunds. Check your schedule carefully prior to booking.

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Halfway Log Dump
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

In May of 2016, I made a three day visit to Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula National Park. Today I revisited the folder of images from that trip to optimize several of the photographs that were tucked away due to my backlog in editing the files. Bruce Peninsula National Park can be found at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula near Tobermory, Ontario. It is also on the Niagara Escarpment – an UNESCO World Biosphere site. One section of the park lies on Lake Huron while the remainder of the park is facing beautiful Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay provides landscape photographs with a plethora of stunning vistas with ragged cliffs, cobblestone beaches, and unlimited shoreline details to photograph. A short distance out into Georgian Bay lies the Fathom Five National Marine Park, which is home to the famous Flower Pot Island. If you are a landscape photographer the Bruce Peninsula needs to be one of your bucket list items.

Halfway Log Dump
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Indian Head Cove
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Indian Head Cove
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Flower Pot Island
Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario

 

The Grotto
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Flower Pot Island
Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario

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We will be holding a one day only event for the next Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop with an optional add-on Photoshop session from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. that will be held at LifeLike Imaging in Mississauga, Ontario. This will likely be the last frog workshop of 2018.

Saturday, September 22, 2018 10:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Optional Add-on Photoshop Session 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

The space for this workshop is limited to a maximum of 8 participants to allow ample time for folks to photograph each species of frog.

These are the only workshops available whereby you will be able to capture stunning imagery of 15 – 20 different species of frogs from all over the world. We will be photographing numerous varieties of dart frogs endemic to the Amazon rainforest, several tree frogs of Costa Rica and South America, as well as the bizarre Leaf Frog of the Malaysian jungle. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to explore the jungles of the world on your own in hopes of photographing a mere fraction of these species. These workshops, in partnership with Understory Enterprises, will bring you an incredible opportunity to photograph these 15 – 20 species of frogs 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 here if you have any equipment inquiries when registering for this workshop. I also have custom made flash diffusers that will allow folks to capture stunning imagery using camera mounted flash as well.

New to this workshop will be an optional 2 hour add-on Photoshop session for folks that wish to learn how I edit and optimize my frog photography. I will also be on hand to guide you through optimizing a couple of your own images from the workshop.

Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided during the workshop.

To register for this workshop folks may contact me by clicking here .

Payments can be made via email transfer or by cheque made payable to Andrew McLachlan.

The cost of the workshop is $195 CDN plus taxes. Folks that wish to sign-up for the 2 hour Photoshop add-on session please add $65 CDN plus taxes.

Please specify when registering for these workshops if you wish to sign-up for the Photoshop session afterwards.

Cancellation Policy

Full refund, less a $25 administration fee, 31 days prior to the workshop date.

No Refunds 30 days prior to the workshop date.

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Brown Booby in flight, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 90mm
ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/5000 sec.

Originally released in August of 2010 the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens has to be one the most versatile lenses available. Often you can find this lens in the used gear department for approximately $700 CDN. Like most folks, before I purchased this lens for my own gear bag I read several on-line reviews. I did not believe that the lens could really be as bad as folks were leading on. Here is a selection of some items that I noted during my internet readings:

  • softness in the center, sharpening up out towards the corners, and the some more corner softness
  • stopped-down results are downright blurry at the telephoto end of 300mm @ ƒ/36)
  • the 28-300 isn’t a really sharp lens and the corners are mush
  • zoom range exhibited shockingly poor off-axis image quality
  • is not a pro level lens nor one I’d use for critical shoots
  • I’m assuming this lens was defective as I couldn’t get a sharp picture no matter how hard I tried

I determined that in order to find out for myself I would need to add this lens to my gear bag. Right before I boarded the plane for my Cayman Brac Photo Tour in February I did just that. It is now one of my most favorite lenses. The lens does have one annoying habit, or at least my copy does. When the lens is pointed downward the zoom creep is very evident. Nonetheless, my honest opinion is that this lens does produce stellar results when good technique and creative vision is applied. Often I can be found in-the-field with my 28-300mm lens attached to one of my Nikons ready to capture those fleeting moments where changing lenses is not an option. The 28-300mm range is perfect for such circumstances.

I have never been one to trust the so-called internet experts. I much prefer to take gear out into the field and put it to the test. A real world review illustrating the quality of the lens with photographic examples.

Having the ability to zoom from 28mm to 300mm is a definite plus. On Cayman Brac I was able to photograph nesting Brown Boobies at close range and then quickly zoom out to 300mm to capture Brown Boobies in flight as they approached the cliff edge on their return to their nests.

Brown Booby pair at the nest, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 55mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

I also find the lens to be a powerful tool for my landscape work as illustrated in the below image of a winter wheat field at sunset near my rural home in Thornton, Ontario. A Singh Ray 3-stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter was also used in the capture of the sunset scene below.

Winter Wheat at Sunset, Thornton, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 82mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 3 seconds.

Having a minimum focusing distance of a mere 1.6 feet throughout the entire zoom range is also a huge bonus to my frog photography. In the past I would have to switch lenses to create my signature frog-scapes and close-up portraits. With the Nikon 28-300 I can simply zoom the lens from wide to telephoto and create both scenarios in mere seconds, as illustrated in the two Bullfrog images below.

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 48mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/800 sec.

 

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

While photographing Wood Ducks in Toronto, Ontario I am also able to create stunning portraits and close-up feather details due to the short, minimum focusing distance. While I was photographing feather details of a Wood Duck hen that had chose to sit beside me on a particular outing I had noticed that a lovely drake Wood Duck had also come into close proximity allowing me to zoom out and create a tight head shot of him. The versatility of the Nikon 28-300mm lens allowed me the opportunity to create both these images without the need to switch lenses , which would likely had caused one of the two birds, or both, to move further away.

Drake Wood Duck, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 2000, f5.6 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Hen Wood Duck Feather Details, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 1000, f11 @ 1/80 sec.

While walking along the shoreline of the Caribbean Ocean in Cayman Brac I came upon a dead crab. The shell of the dea crab was beautifully colored with interesting details too. To create the below macro shot of the crab shell details I used my Canon 500D Close-up Filter on the Nikon 28-300mm lens and stopped down to f22. There is some minor softness in the extreme corners of the image but this is due to the curvature of the shell. Ideally I should have used the focus stacking method to gain perfect sharpness in the corners.

Crab Shell Details, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/40 sec.

For those of us longing for some cooler temperatures in this heat wave, I have included a winter river detail image from my Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop this past January 🙂

Winter River Details, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

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