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Archive for the ‘Macro Photography’ Category

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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Red-eyed Tree Frog

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive

Today’s post will feature imagery from Tim Harding. I first met Tim a couple of years ago at Tiny Marsh near Elmvale, Ontario. Tim signed up for my recently concluded frog and reptile photographic workshop that was held at Reptilia on January 7th and captured some lovely images. We had a great turn out of talented folks and I hope to feature more imagery from the workshop participants as they submit their images. Here are a few images that Tim was able to create during the workshop. As usual, the Red-eyed Tree Frogs performed perfectly and posed very co-operatively atop the pink bromeliad blossom. The Vietnamese Moss Frogs with their superb, camouflage coloring blend in nicely on a large, lichen covered piece of tree bark. The dendrobates auratus dart frog with its incredibly bright colors really pops when placed on a few old dried oak leaves to create a forest floor-like setting. And finally the Fire Salamander gives us a nice pose while it is crawling around on a large section of moss. Tim was using a small softbox on his off camera flash to help soften the light. Using small softboxes is an excellent way to soften the harsh light of a bare flash bulb and often they will help to reduce some, but not all, of the flash generated spectral highlights as well.

Vietnamese Moss Frog - captive

Vietnamese Moss Frog – captive

 

Dendrobates auratus - captive

Dendrobates auratus – captive

 

Fire Salamander - captive

Fire Salamander – captive

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reptiles-and-amphibians

On Saturday, January 7, 2017 I will be hosting a Reptile & Amphibian Photographic Workshop at Reptilia commencing at 8:30 a.m. sharp. The cost of the workshop will be $85, which includes admission to the Reptilia Zoo. We will be photographing each of the animals featured in the above card during the first two hours, before entering the Reptilia Zoo to photograph many species of snakes (both venomous and constrictors), alligators, and lizards for roughly another two hours. Generally  two to three hours provides ample time to photograph the reptiles located within the zoo after we have finished photographing the reptiles and amphibians in the controlled set-ups, but folks that wish to stay longer do have the remainder of the day available to spend in the zoo. This workshop will be limited to a maximum of 10 people. Payment for this workshop can be made via email transfer or by cheque. Please contact me at mclachlan@bell.net at your earliest convenience to reserve your spot for this workshop and for further info on sending payment.

To photograph these subjects I do find it best use a 100mm macro lens, or other lenses with close focusing capability. You will also need to bring along your flash and either a flash sync cord or a wireless flash trigger as we will be working with off camera flash and preferably a flash bracket that will allow you to position the flash out over the lens to yield the optimum results. I often have two spare off-camera macro flash brackets that folks can borrow for the day should they be in need of such a bracket and a couple of killer home-made flash diffusers too. The room in which we photograph the reptiles and amphibians does have a tendency to get rather warm so you may wish to wear light clothing. To photograph the reptiles in the zoo afterwards lenses that cover the 100mm to 300mm range will be preferable. Tripods have a tendency to become an exercise in frustration when photographing reptiles and amphibians, which is why I recommend using off camera flash and hand-holding so that you will have the mobility to capture these quick-moving subjects.

During this workshop we will photograph the following species:

  • Vietnamese Moss Frog
  • Red-eyed Tree Frogs
  • Blue & Black Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)
  • Fire Salamander
  • Green Tree Python
  • Rainbow Boa

Each of these species will be photographed in “natural-like” settings using my popular, home-made mini-pond, stunning tropical plants in full bloom, as well as an array of natural props so that each set-up will offer something unique. Your images will look like you just spent an awesome day in the jungle photographing these amazing and colourful critters. Do get your name in early as I have several folks already anticipating the announcement of this workshop.

 

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White's Tree Frog Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR lens ISO 100, f18 @ 1/60 sec

White’s Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR lens
ISO 100, f18 @ 1/60 sec

 

Today’s blog post is featuring the work of Barb Marszalek. Barb was one of the participants on the recently concluded Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop. To create these photos Barb was using her hand-held Nikon D5200 with a Nikon 105mm Micro VR Lens. Since the Nikon D5200 has an APS-C size sensor the 105mm Micro lens becomes the 35mm equivalent of a 157mm lens. Barb’s Nikon Speedlight was fitted with my custom-made tracing paper flash diffuser. I will feature this ridiculously inexpensive but extremely effective, do-it-yourself- flash diffuser in a future blog post. Barb did a great job capturing the White’s Tree Frog a-top of the brilliant red Bromeliad blossom as well as the Vietnamese Moss Frog – a true master of camouflage – on a large, flat piece of lichen and moss covered tree bark. Also you can anticipate the action of the Red-eyed Tree frog  as it is poised to leap from it’s perch on the pink bromeliad blossom. In the final image of the female Fire Belly Toad, which was photographed on a small lichen covered branch resting in the home-made mini-pond that I set-up for each of these workshops, Barb framed the composition quite nicely ensuring that the water extended across the entire bottom edge of the frame.

Congrats on the beautiful images Barb!!!

Vietnamese Moss Frog Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec

Vietnamese Moss Frog
Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR Lens ISO 100, f18 @ 1/60 sec

Red-eyed Tree Frog
Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR Lens
ISO 100, f18 @ 1/60 sec

 

Fire Belly Toad - captive Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec

Fire Belly Toad – captive
Nikon D5200, Nikon 105mm Micro VR Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec

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Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec

 

The recently concluded Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop was a great success with the amphibians being very co-operative. The workshop participants came away with a stunning selection of imagery, of which I will share with you in a soon to be published blog post. A beautiful selection of tropical plants was sourced out to maintain natural looking set-ups to mimic what would we would find in the native habitats of each species we were photographing. This past workshop featured a couple of new additions as well – Dendrobates auratus dart frog and a Fire Salamander! Here are a few of the images I created in between assisting the workshop participants with their compositions and off camera flash techniques.

I will be hosting the next workshop in January and will likely mix it up a bit with some amphibians and a couple of very colorful, non-poisonous snakes!!! Please send me an email at info@andrewmclachlan.ca to be added to the “early-bird sign-up list” and you to can be creating stunning images of these incredibly beautiful and colorful critters without slogging through the swamp!

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

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

Fire Salamander - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Fire Salamander – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

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

Fire Belly Toad – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

Dendrobates auratus - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Dendrobates auratus – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

White's Tree Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

White’s Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

Vietnamese Moss Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Vietnamese Moss Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

Dendrobates auratus - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Dendrobates auratus – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

 

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frog-pond-adventures

I am pleased to announce that tonight I will be presenting my Frog Pond Adventures program for the Country Images Camera Club at 8:00 p.m. The presentation will be held at the Newmarket Community Centre in Hall 1, which is located at 200 Doug Duncan Drive in Newmarket, Ontario. This will be my third time presenting to the Country Images Camera Club and I am looking forward to meeting these great folks again.

Just a quick reminder to folks about my upcoming Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop on Saturday November 26th at 8:30 a.m. I still have some space available. Please click here to see the blog post announcement for the workshop and feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience if you have any questions regarding this upcoming workshop.

frogs-of-the-world_november-26th

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A male Green Frog in wetland Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec

A male Green Frog in wetland
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec (Handheld – 1.5 DX CROP)

In June 2015 Venus Optics announced the release of their Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens. I discovered this lens a few months ago and became quite intrigued by it’s specifications, most notably the ability to focus down to 4.7mm from the front element of the lens. There is currently no other lens on the market that is capable of doing what this lens can do. It is a master at wide-angle macro imagery. I had a hunch that this lens would be deadly for creating my frog-scape style imagery even though the lens requires 100% manual operation, including focusing and setting of the diaphragm as there is no coupling to the camera meter. I had hoped to include within this review the results of how the lens performs for landscape photography but unfortunately I suffered a very painful flare-up of my chronic lower back problems. As a result my mobility has been severely limited for the last week or so. I will do an update to this review at a later date to give my impressions of the lens’ performance for landscape use.

A handheld Nikon D800 was used for each of the images in this review and were photographed using the full frame sensor or the 1.5 DX crop. Notations within the image captions will indicate FULL FRAME or 1.5 DX CROP.

Each of the featured images in today’s blog post were created in my favorite wetland on Horseshoe Lake in Muskoka near Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.

Lens Barrel of the Laowa 15mm f4 Macro Lens The inner ring controls focusing The outer ring controls the diaphram

Lens Barrel of the Laowa 15mm f4 Macro Lens
The inner ring controls focusing
The outer ring controls the diaphragm

The Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens is a well built lens of metal construction. The front lens cap, rear lens cap, and lens hood are of plastic construction. Do note I did not use the lens hood for any of the images within this post as the lens hood would have either shadowed the subject or created unpleasant reflections in the foreground water due to focusing so closely on the subjects. The lens will accept 77mm threaded filters and I was quite pleased to see that my Singh-Ray 77mm Warm-Tone Thin Mount Polarizer did not vignette when used. The lens also incorporates a shift mechanism that allows for 6mm of upward or downward shift, but I did not test this feature as I did not photograph any landscapes as of yet. The focusing and diaphragm rings both have smooth and easy operation. One downfall of the lens is that it does have strong barrel distortion, but since I am primarily using the lens for my frog-scape imagery it is of little concern to me – each of the images featured in today’s post have had no distortion correction applied to them. Chromatic aberration is very well controlled and when present is easily corrected. Center sharpness is excellent but corners do get a little soft, which improves when the lens is stopped down and is seldom worrisome at macro distances such as those in the featured imagery.

In the next series of photos I will illustrate how I go about creating my frog-scape imagery while handholding this set-up.

Arms extended outwards to pull the camera strap tight around my neck for added stability. Live View  and Virtual Horizon activated Thumb is positioned on Zoom Button Index and Middle Finger are positioned on the Focusing Ring

Arms extended outwards to pull the camera strap tight around my neck for added stability.
Live View and Virtual Horizon activated
Thumb of left hand is positioned on Zoom Button
Index and Middle Finger of left hand are positioned on the Focusing Ring

 

While in Live View my left thumb will zoom into the scene. I would then place the frog's eyeball within the area of the red square and using my index and middle-finger on my left hand, rotate the focusing ring until sharp focus is achieved.

While in Live View my left thumb will zoom into the scene. I would then place the frog’s eyeball within the area of the red square and using my index and middle-finger on my left hand, rotate the focusing ring until sharp focus is achieved.

 

Left index finger and middle-finger positioned on the focusing ring to adjust focus

Left index finger and middle-finger positioned on the focusing ring to adjust focus

The Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens is a versatile lens that is capable of producing dramatic wildlife imagery when focused closely on the subject matter. There are many pros to this lens such as:

  • low chromatic aberration
  • excellent center sharpness
  • 1:1 Macro capability
  • Focuses down to 4.7mm from the front element of the lens
  • smooth focusing
  • smooth aperture control
  • shift mechanism
  • inexpensive at approximately $499 US

The only downfalls I  noticed were the barrel distortion and soft corners. When focusing in at macro distances and stopping down to f16 I found the corners to be more than acceptable for my frog-scape style images. The barrel distortion while more noticeable in some images than others again is of little concern to me. In nature we do not encounter perfectly straight lines that often, therefore, I find the distortion to be not too big a deal and can sometimes be used to one’s advantage for creative effect. I will likely not be using this lens for architectural work or for ocean sunrises where the barrel distortion would become very problematic.

Here are a few additional images that I created using the Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens.

Bullfrog in Wetland Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog in Wetland
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60 sec Handheld 1.5 DX CROP

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60 sec
Handheld
1.5 DX CROP

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/20 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/20 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 2500, f16 @ 1/80 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 2500, f16 @ 1/80 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15 mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15 mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 1/80 sec Handheld 1.5 DX CROP

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 1/80 sec
Handheld
1.5 DX CROP

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Marco Lens ISO 5000, f16 @ 1/25 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Marco Lens
ISO 5000, f16 @ 1/25 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 500, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 500, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm macro Lens ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/25 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm macro Lens
ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/25 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

And one B-Roll image from the wetland. A very co-operative Northern Watersnake that was found sunning itself on a log within the wetland. The front element of the lens is roughly one inch away from the snake’s head in the photo below. This extreme close focusing capability of the Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens makes it my new go to, never leave home without it lens. It is quite simply to versatile and deadly for creating up-close and personal photos of wildlife subjects within their habitat. Spending my hard-earned money on this amazing lens was a good investment!

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

Northern Watersnake Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 800, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Northern Watersnake
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

 

 

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