Archive for the ‘Macro’ Category

On Saturday May 5, 2018 join me for “Micro Fauna of the Desert – A Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop” What is a Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop? They are a series of inexpensive, half day workshops that give back to the participants! Just how will they give back? For every 5 Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops that a participant attends they will receive a $50 (Canadian currency) voucher redeemable on a future workshop of their choice.

This workshop will run from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The cost of this event is $125 plus HST, which includes admission to the Reptilia Zoo.

During Micro Fauna of the Desert we will cover the fundamentals of working with flash to capture incredible imagery of these fascinating, nocturnal animals. We will also incorporate some creative options for these critters such as white backdrops and mirrors. We will photograph scorpions under ultraviolet lighting – did you know they glow under such illumination! We will photograph  several species of tarantulas as well as two incredibly colourful  lizards – the Tokay Gecko and the Leopard Gecko. Time permitting we may be able to include a Madagascar Day Gecko too!

These various species will be photographed under controlled conditions using natural, table top set-ups, for approximately two hours. Afterwards we will explore the displays in the Reptilia Zoo and have opportunities to photograph many species of venomous snakes through the safety of their glass enclosures. Although the workshop will concluded at 12:00 p.m. participants are permitted to spend the remainder of the day exploring the displays within the Reptilia Zoo.

The recommended gear for this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop is a macro lens and flash. Ideally a flash bracket to get the flash off camera will work best but is not mandatory. I have devised various options for working with camera mounted flash for macro work. If you do not own a macro lens you could always rent one for the day from either Henry’s or Vistek. Alternately, using a high quality close-up filter on a telephoto lens is another option to make such lenses focus close enough. If you are uncertain whether your lenses will be suitable for this event please do inquire so that I can provide you with the best advice and solution. A tripod will be required to photograph the scorpions under ultraviolet lighting.

To register your self for this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop please contact me by clicking here. Payment can be made by email transfer or by cheque made payable to Andrew McLachlan.

Cancellation Policy: no refunds 30 days prior to the workshop date.

Hope to see you there 🙂


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Flat Rock Scorpion – captive
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm f2.8D Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

On Thursday, March 8th I drove out to a potential workshop location to scout out some critters for an upcoming workshop. This workshop will feature Scorpions, Tarantulas, Geckos, and a few other very interesting subjects. While we were working with the subjects the handler suggested that we could use an ultraviolet light on the scorpions as they glow under such light. I thought that would be very cool to try, but I did not bring along a tripod as they would need to be photographed under the UV light along and flash could not be used. We gave it a try anyway and dialed the ISO up to 20,000 (that is not a typo!) to permit a hand held capture at f3.2 for 1/100 second. After applying some noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw I was actually quite surprised at the end result. The opening image shows the Flat Rock Scorpion under normal lighting and below is the same scorpion glowing under the ultraviolet light. I was also surprised to see that the sand turns purple under the UV lighting.

For folks that do not want to miss out on their opportunity to attend this soon to be announced photographic workshop please send me a note by clicking here to be added to my workshop contact list.

Flat Rock Scorpion under Ultraviolet Light
ISO 20,000, f3.2 @ 1/100 sec

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Fringed Tree Frog (Cruziohyla craspedopus)

On the weekend on February 24th & 25th we held another highly successful frog workshop. This workshop, aside from the incredible assortment of dart frogs, included several species of captive-bred tree frogs. My typical set-up for photographing these frogs is to use my Nikon D500 with an old discontinued Nikkor 105mm Micro lens and an old discontinued Nikon SB400 Speedlight mounted on a single arm Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket. The Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket allows me the flexibility to position the flash anywhere I desire for optimum lighting on the subject.

We are currently in the midst of planning our next event for the London, Ontario area, which will feature both dart frogs and an even larger selection of awesome tree frog species displayed on beautiful tropical flowers. These events will be planned as full day (8 hour) workshops that will include 3 hours of Photoshop instruction at the end. Yours truly will walk folks through the steps I use edit and optimize my frog photography. Folks will also be encouraged to bring their own laptops to the workshops so that I can assist them with editing and optimizing a few of their own image files.

Stay tuned for dates to be announced soon. If you would like to be added to the contact list for this or any other workshop notifications please do contact me by clicking here.

Here are a few of my recent captures from the recently concluded workshop.

Ameerega pepperi


Dendrobates tinctorius “Patricia”


Amazon Milk Frog (juvenile)


Red-eyed Tree Frog


Vietnamese Moss Frog


Abstract of Fringed Tree Frog Skin


Ranitomeya fantastica


Phyllobates terribilis


Vietnamese Moss Frog – a master of camouflage


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Adelphobates galactonotus

Here are a few recently optimized dart frog images from one of our previous Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop. Registration is open for the recently announced, first dates of 2018.  I was pleased to enroll a few more participants yesterday for the Sunday February 25th date. Effective today there is space for only one participant on Sunday February 24th and a few spaces available for Saturday February 25th. These workshops allow you to create stunning imagery of nature’s most colorful animals in a comfortable setting. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars in both travel expenses and the hiring of guides to be able to photograph a fraction of the varieties offered during these events.

For the February dates we are having three very special additions to our line-up. They are Red-eyed Tree Frogs, Brazilian Milk Frogs, and Vietnamese Moss Frogs.

To find out more about the workshop please click here and to register yourself for either or both dates please do so by clicking here.


Ranitomeya imitator

The Ranitomeya imitator are very small, and very colorful with bright iridescent markings. Interestingly enough the Ranitomeya imitator are completely harmless. They mimic the bright coloration of dart frogs to warn predators that maybe they should stay clear of them. Did you know that all species of dart frogs lose their toxicity in captivity? They require the ants and termites that they feed on in the wild to generate their deadly toxins. Each and every frog that is featured in these workshops is a captive-bred specimen. At no time do we ever use wild caught frogs.

Dendrobates auratus campana


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Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive bred

This just in! The recently announced Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop will now feature three amazing additions to the line-up of incredibly beautiful dart frog specimens. Folks attending the events on February 24th or 25th or both dates will now be photographing Red-eyed Tree Frogs, Brazilian Milk Frogs, and Vietnamese Moss Frogs. The Red-eyed Tree Frogs and Brazilian Milk Frogs will be displayed on both natural branches and Bromeliads in full bloom for an added pop of color and interest. The Vietnamese Moss Frogs will be displayed in such a manner to emphasize their amazing, cryptic coloration that allows them to perfectly camouflage themselves on moss covered rocks and bark, as they do in the wilds of Vietnam. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to photograph these amazing tree frogs. It would cost thousands of dollars to travel to the native habitats of each of these specimens in hopes of capturing a few images. Folks in attendance will easily created hundreds of images at a fraction of that cost.

To register yourself for one or both of the workshop dates please email me by clicking here for enrollment and payment details.

Brazilian Milk Frog – captive bred


Vietnamese Moss Frog – captive bred


Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive bred


Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive bred


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cayman brac, cayman islands, british west indies, caribbean

Sunrise at Pollard Bay
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

As 2017 draws to a close, I would like to share a selection of my ten personal favorite images that I created over the last twelve months. Two highlights for 2017 were spending a couple of weeks on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac, as well as one week in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Amazonian rainforest near Tarapoto, Peru. For 2018 I am offering workshops to both of these locations and cannot wait to meet-up with the folks attending the Cayman Brac Workshop in February. There is still space available for our inaugural Peru 2018, which promises to be a one-of-a-kind adventure for landscape and micro fauna photography.

sister island rock iguana, rock iguana, cayman brac, cayman islands, british west indies, cyclura nubila caymanensis

Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies


brown booby, sula leucogaster, cayman brac, cayman islands, british west indies

Brown Booby chick (Sula leucogaster)
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

In September I embarked on a journey to Tarapoto, Peru as a scouting trip for the upcoming Peru 2018 – Landscapes and Micro Fauna of the Cordillera Escalera event which is scheduled for early July 2018. Our rainforest hikes were most productive with several species of dart frogs photographed, awe inspiring waterfalls, and a rare opportunity to photograph the endangered Cochran Frog (Rulyrana saxiscandens). I am looking most forward to taking a group of participants into this region for an all-inclusive, once-in-a-lifetime photographic experience!

peru, cordillera escalera, sunrise, rainforest, amazon rainforest, jungle

Sunrise in the Cordillera Escalera, Peru


peru, dart frog, peru, cordillera escalera, ameerega trivittata, three striped poison frog

Three-striped Poison Frog (Ameerega trivittata), Cordillera Escalera, Peru


peru, cordillera, escalera, amazon rainforest, rainforest, waterfall, tununtunumba

Cataratas Tununtunumba in the Cordillera Escalera, Peru


peru, amazon rainforest, cochran frog, rulyrana saxiscandens, cordillera escalera

Cochran Frog (Rulyrana saxiscandens)
Cordillera Escalera, Peru


Aside from the two main trips taken in 2017 I spent a significant amount of time exploring my own backyard here in Ontario. Several visits to the Georgian Bay shoreline yielded many lovely scenes. During the springtime months I spent my usual amount of time exploring nearby wetlands, at night, for fresh images of frogs and toads chorusing during the breeding season. On one of those evenings I located a wonderful male Spring Peeper singing in a Hemlock bough high above the pond. Throughout the summer much of my photograph efforts seemed to be concentrated at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario where I encountered a very co-operative female White-tailed Deer grazing on a nearby peat bog as I canoed through the wetland one evening.


sunset, pary sound, ontario, muskoka, georgian bay

Sunset on Georgian Bay near Parry Sound, Ontario


frog, tree frog, spring peeper, hyla crucifer, ontario, barrie, wetlands

Spring Peeper (Hyla crucifer) with vocal sac fully inflated


deer, white tailed deer, peat bog, wetland, parry sound, ontario, muskoka, canada

White Tailed Deer on peat bog with cotton grass.
Parry Sound, Ontario

With the new year just around the corner I am pleased to say that I have finally completed my eBook on frog photography. It is now undergoing the editing phase prior to publication. I will also be announcing several new photographic workshops in the coming months. Stay tuned for the announcements regarding those. As a side note for folks that may have missed the announcement for the Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop there are a few spaces still available. The Muskoka region has seen a lot of snow this year, which is going to make these waterfalls even more inspiring. Hotel accommodations will be in short supply for this event with folks booking up rooms for their snowmobile excursions and other area events. If you are interested in attending please contact me by clicking here.

I would like thank everybody for their continued support of my blog, those that have attended my photogaphic workshops and to wish everybody a safe and prosperous 2018!

See you next year 🙂



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La Palma Glass Frog – unedited RAW Image File

The above photo is an unedited RAW image file of a La Palma Glass Frog that was photographed at our popular “Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshops” with a Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens, and a Nikon SB400 Speedlight mounted on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket. While the flash-generated spectral highlights are well controlled and their is minimal debris to clean-up on the Monsterra leaf, used as a prop, there is one thing that bothers me about this photo as presented. What is that? I do wish that I had switched to the vertical orientation to best represent the frog’s pose on the leaf, however, all is not lost and my wish can be easily achieved with a few simply steps in Photoshop.

After making some initial edits to the image in Adobe Camera Raw the image is brought into the Photoshop interface as seen below.

La Palma Glass Frog Photoshop Interface with the Crop Tool selected and the Content-Aware box checked

Once the image is opened in Photoshop I select the Crop Tool and the Ratio option from the drop down box in the upper left corner of the interface. When using the Ratio option you can select the exact pixel dimensions that you want to use. In this case I entered the pixel dimensions fro a vertically oriented image photographed with a Nikon D500. With crop dimensions now in place over the image I simply drag out the corners of the crop for the desired look and position the frog where I want it to be within the frame. Before I click the check mark to perform the desired crop I check the Content-Aware box. By doing so Content-Aware will fill in the black areas outside of the actual image area to match the surrounding elements. In this case it will fill in the sliver along the bottom and the larger portion at the top. The natural indent of the Monsterra leaf will be fixed later with a simple quick mask removal technique.

After performing the above mentioned steps, the optimized image file for the vertically oriented La Palm Glass Frog image can be seen below. In this situation the Content-Aware did an amazing job of replicating the leaf to fill in the areas that were outside of the image. The Clone Stamp tool was used at varying hardnesses to evict the flash generated spectral highlights and debris on the leaf surface. The lower left corner of the image where the indent of the Monsterra leaf was creating a distraction was fixed quickly and effortlessly by utilizing a Quick Mask. To learn more about using Quick Masks and other techniques to easily optimize image files take a look at APTATS 1 & 2.

La Palma Glass Frog – Optimized Image File



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