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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Hurricane Crab Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 80mm ISO 100, f25 @ 1/60 sec. Canon 500D Close-up Filter Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Hurricane Crab
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 80mm
ISO 100, f25 @ 1/60 sec.
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

With this post I unveil my new logo that now occupies the header section of the blog. Hope y’all like it :)

As mentioned in the previous post, I had several unsuccessful nights of searching for and photographing frogs while on the island of Cayman Brac. These nights were not wasted though. While exploring the understory of the seagrape trees I encountered numerous Soldier Crabs and Hurricane Crabs. I quickly noted that these crabs were very sensitive to the light from my flashlight. Often if too much light fell upon them they would immediately and quickly head for cover. A slow, cautious approach and careful use of the flashlight allowed me to get in low and close for the imagery I had hoped for. The Hurricane Crabs were very large with their bodies being roughly four inches across. Mostly they were a purplish-red color but I did encounter one specimen that had olive to yellowish coloration.

Hurricane Crab Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 85mm Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket Canon 500D Close-up Filter ISO 100, f18 @ 1/60 sec

Hurricane Crab
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 85mm
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f18 @ 1/60 sec

Hurricane Crab Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 92mm Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket Canon 500D Close-up Filter ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Hurricane Crab
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 92mm
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

The other type of crab that was most often encountered during my night time excursions for frog imagery was the Soldier Cab, which is a type of land hermit crab. They varied in size greatly with some having very small shells and others having very large shells. They most often are seen using abandoned whelk shells for their homes. Again these crabs were also sensitive to the light from my flashlight, but careful use also allowed the opportunity for some interesting imagery, particularly when I found a lone Soldier Crab walking along a very thin branch – almost like walking a tight-rope.

Soldier Crab Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 165mm Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket Canon 500D Close-up Filter ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Soldier Crab
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 165mm
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

As with the Cuban Treefrog images in the previous post note that I have once again used the Canon 500D Close-up Filter on my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens. This is the combination that I always use when traveling. It is a very convenient solution for quality close-up photography and also helps to reduce the overall weight of gear to carry onto an aircraft or out into the field.

Do remember to click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version and if you feel so inclined, let me know which is your favorite image :)

Soldier Crab Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 mm VR @ 210mm Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket Canon 500D Close-up Filter ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Soldier Crab
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 mm VR @ 210mm
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Soldier Crab Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 220mm Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket Canon 500D Close-up Filter ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Soldier Crab
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 220mm
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

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Daybreak at Pollard Bay on Cayman Brac Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1 second Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Daybreak at Pollard Bay on Cayman Brac
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1 second
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

I returned from my 14 day stay on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac late on March 19th. Since my return I have been busy getting caught up on various things and processing a few of my initial favorites, from the vast number of images created during the trip. Today’s post will highlight my most favorite photos from the trip and in subsequent posts I will get into the nitty-gritty of what worked, what didn’t work, and the techniques used to create the images.

During my trip there were many lovely sunrises, a few nice sunsets, lots of Brown Booby chicks, reptiles, amphibians, and it seemed like with each day of snorkeling, which was everyday, I found something really cool to photograph in the ocean too :)

Here are a few images from this recent trip to Cayman Brac.

Please do remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version. Hope ya like ’em :)

Male Brown Booby with Chick Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/320 sec.

Male Brown Booby with Chick
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/320 sec.

Hurricane Crab Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 80mm ISO 100, f25 @ 1/60 sec. Canon 500D Close-up Filter

Hurricane Crab
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 80mm
ISO 100, f25 @ 1/60 sec.
Canon 500D Close-up Filter

Cuban Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 195mm ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60sec Canon 500D Close-up Filter

Cuban Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 195mm
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60sec
Canon 500D Close-up Filter

The Bat Cave Nikon D800, Sigma f2.8 EX DG 15mm Fisheye Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 0.6 sec.

The Bat Cave
Nikon D800, Sigma f2.8 EX DG 15mm Fisheye Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.6 sec.

Octopus Sony RX100 @ 10.4mm (28mm equivlent) ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1000 sec

Octopus
Sony RX100 @ 10.4mm (28mm equivlent)
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1000 sec

Rock Iguana Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 390mm ISO 100, f8 @ 1/800 sec

Rock Iguana
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 390mm
ISO 100, f8 @ 1/800 sec

Stonefish Sony RX100 @ 10.4mm (28mm equivalent) ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

Stonefish
Sony RX100 @ 10.4mm (28mm equivalent)
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

 

 

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Bullfrog_1431

Bullfrog at Dusk. Nikon D800 & Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

The winning images were announced a couple of weeks ago for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and I thought I would take a moment to share two of my entries that proceeded to the final round of judging. Unfortunately, that is where this story ends but nonetheless I was thrilled that two of my both Bullfrog photos created in my favorite wetland at my family cottage on Horseshoe Lake, near Parry Sound, Ontario had made it to the final round in this prestigious competition.

To view the Grand Prize winning image and to see the category winners for both the adult and young awards click here and follow the links to the corresponding galleries. And do remember to click on each image to see the larger, sharper version.

Bullfrog in Wetland - Nikon D800 & Nikon 18-35mm

Frog-scape – Nikon D800 & Nikon 18-35mm

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Bullfrog at Dawn on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Bullfrog at Dawn on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

During my last round of trips to photograph the Bullfrogs on Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound region I was under close watch by one member of the resident beaver family that resides in the marsh. In fact, the Bullfrogs most often hang out in very close proximity to the active beaver lodge. Each evening as I would arrive at the wetland to photograph the frogs the beaver would swim out of the lodge and feast on the stems of the yellow pond lily leaves while seemingly watching my every move. I did think that the beaver was behaving a little differently than usual. Nonetheless I happily photographed the bullfrogs and was even lucky enough to catch an ambient light image of one of the males with it’s vocal sac inflated, and I love the blurred effect of the water beside the vibrating vocal sac.

Bullfrog_350

Bullfrog Chorusing

I was also able to work on some more of my frog-scapes with my Nikon 18-35mm lens, which quickly became my favorite lens for such imagery. The easiest and most effective way to create frog-scapes is to use a wide-angle lens with the Live View feature that is available on DSLRs today. I like to use a bubble level in the camera’s hot-shoe to ensure all is square with the world as well.

Bullfrog at Dusk on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Bullfrog at Dusk on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

On the week I departed from the cottage on Horseshoe Lake my brother Gregg had shown up to spend a week at the lake. A couple of days later he sent me a text message to inform me to be very careful of the beavers in the marsh. The large male beaver (see image below) charged my brother in the canoe as well as a couple of kids that were also nearby. As it turns out the beaver pups were now old enough to leave the den for under the protective eyes of their parents. Beavers can be very dangerous animals and should not be under-estimated. In May 2013, a Russian fisherman was killed when a beaver attacked him and severed a major artery. When I travel north to the cottage again next week I will need to be very careful of the beavers and be mindful of there whereabouts while I am with the Bullfrog.

Beaver in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Beaver in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

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

 

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White Horse in fog, Milton, Ontario, Canada

White Horse in fog, Milton, Ontario, Canada

Today’s post features a few images that were created over the last couple of years. Living in a rural region of Ontario I often stop to photograph horses when the conditions are optimum or when neighbors ask me if I have time to take a few photographs of their horses. The above image of the horse in the fog was created last fall after I spent the better part of my morning photographing rusty old wrecks with Denise Ippolito and the Toronto Digital Photography Club – who can resist a white horse in fog :)

Horses in fog, Milton, Ontario, Canada

Horses in fog, Milton, Ontario, Canada

The foggy conditions of that morning were quite special and in the above image I liked the contrast between these two horses and the fog. A touch of Nik’s Detail Extractor was used to bring out a little detail in the trees behind the horses.

Horse_8827

Above and below are some portraits of a neighbor’s horses. In the images below I could resist the temptation to apply an artistic rendering to them.

Foal - Topaz Simplify

Foal – Topaz Simplify

Horse Portrait - Fractalius

Horse Portrait – Fractalius

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

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Optimized Version of Cuban Treefrog on Cayman Brac

Optimized Version of Cuban Treefrog on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

I have just spent the last hour optimizing the above photograph of a juvenile Cuban Treefrog. During my trip to Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. Each night I would leave the villa and go for a night-time stroll in search of some night-life. The Cuban Treefrogs were plentiful and I spent many enjoyable hours creating numerous images of them. In the original RAW capture below you do not need to look too closely to identify many of the issue.

Original RAW Capture - Cuban Treefrog

Original RAW Capture – Cuban Treefrog

First and foremost I was not holding the camera square with the world, there are two unsightly, tiny stones on the frog’s lip and if you click on the images to see the larger, sharper version you will see a lot of flash generated spectral highlights. To optimize this image I first rotated until I felt that froggie was square with the world and then using both a series of quick masks and clone stamp tool I painstakingly worked on the image at 400% to effectively evict each of the spectral highlights. The nice thing about the massive image files created by the Nikon D800 is that you can afford to lose a few pixels when rotating and cropping such as this with no degradation to the image quality.

Now for the quiz: to photograph the Cuban Treefrog I used a Nikon D800 and what lens? The frog measured about an inch in length. I will reveal the answer in 2-3 days.

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Octopus, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Octopus, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

I returned home from the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. Cayman Brac is a small island, which is 12 miles long and averages 1.5 miles wide with a population of approximately 1200 very friendly people and fabulous Conch Chowder. Leaving the island to head back to the snow and cold was hard to do. Throughout my 12 day stay on the island I experienced numerous very special photographic opportunities on land and in the deep blue sea. One such opportunity took place when I reach forward, grabbing a rock to steady myself in a strong current when the rock moved and out shot a small Octopus. I was delighted that the Octopus only swam about 5 feet away before coming to rest on the sea floor in about 6 feet of water. I was using my Sony RX100 in an underwater housing with ambient light, so this shallow water setting was perfect for retaining color within the scene (more on this in a future post). I snorkeled around the octopus for about half an hour creating numerous compositions before it slowly moved to a less photogenic location. The Sony RX100 is a powerful point and shoot camera for underwater photographic applications and I shot with it in the RAW mode (which creates a 20Mb file) the entire time so that I would have full control while optimizing the images upon my return home.

In the coming weeks I will share many more images from this trip and my rookie adventures into the wonderful world of underwater photography.

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

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