Archive for the ‘Reptiles and Amphibians’ Category

Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop

The next Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop has been confirmed and will be held at the Crinan Community Hall in Dutton, Ontario on the following dates:

Saturday, June 8, 2019  (10:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)  (SOLD OUT – wait list only)

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, and several tree frogs of Costa Rica and South America. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to explore the jungles of the world, with hired guides, 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.

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

To register for this workshop contact me by clicking here .

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

Hope to see you there!

The one day cost of the workshop is $195 CDN plus taxes.

Cancellation Policy:

No Refunds


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Red-eyed Tree Frog_3529

Red-eye Tree Frog – captive bred

On Saturday February 16th we held another highly successful and sold out Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop with 8 fabulous participants. Several of those participants were repeat students. During these workshops with captive bred specimens we use set-ups that mimic the natural habitat of the frogs in the wild for a truly realistic appearance.

Each image that appears in this post utilizes my homemade flash diffuser that was the highlight of the This Might Just Be The Best Flash Diffuser Ever blog post and post processing techniques employ light use of luminosity masking techniques by using the TK Basic V6 Action Panel by Tony Kuyper

To find out more about future Frogs of the World Photographic Workshops please click here and to be added to the contact list for upcoming events please send me an email  by clicking here

Ranitomeya vanzolinni - captive bred

Ranitomeya vanzolinni – captive bred


Cruziohyla craspedopus_3543

Fringed Leaf Frog – captive bred


Dendrobates auratus microspot albino

Dendrobates auratus microspot ablino – captive bred


Oophaga sylvatica_3512

Oophaga sylvatica – captive bred


Vietnamese Moss Frog_3471

Vietnamese Mossy Frog – captive bred


Vietnamese Moss Frog_3489

Vietnamese Mossy Frog Abstract – captive bred


Cruziohyla craspedopus_3553

Fringed Leaf Frog – captive bred


Ranitomeya vanzolinni_3523

Ranitomeya vanzolinni – captive bred

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Amherst Island_1740

Sunrise, Amherst Island, Ontario

It is always fun to look back at this time of the year and reflect on the past year and the images that were created during my travels. In this post I am featuring my favorite photographs of 2018. All of the images featured in this blog post have been featured here over the course of the year with the exception of the opening sunrise image, which was created during a trip to Ontario’s Amherst Island a few days ago. As the sun rose the clouds took on the appearance of what resembled a blazing forest fire. It was a lovely sunrise to complete the year with 🙂

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the very best for a prosperous 2019!


Daybreak, Lake Superior, Wawa, Ontario

Rock Iguana_8468

A critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana, British West Indies

Ice Details, Ontario, Canada

Ice Crystal Details, Georgian Bay, Ontario


Over-Under Bullfrog, Parry Sound, Ontario

Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Caribbean Reef Squid, Radar Reef, Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Skeleton River_9777

Skeleton River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

Spring Peeper_6451

Spring Peeper, Parry Sound, Ontario

Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana), Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Southern Stingray, Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Storm Clouds Over Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

Approaching Storm Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

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Join Andrew McLachlan and Mark Pepper (Understory Enterprises) for an exclusive photography retreat within the Cordillera Escalera, near Tarapoto, Peru. This location is situated within the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in Amazonian Rainforest. The dates for this event are October 19 – October 26, 2019 (6 ½ days of photography). Maximum number of participants is 6 / 8 depending on participants attending (if two couples are attending the tour we can extend the capacity to 8). The minimum number of participants for this tour is 3. The photo tour fee is $3800.00 US Currency. We need to arrive in Tarapoto, Peru on October 19, 2019 and we will depart for home on October 26, 2019. Depending on everybody’s departure time on October 26, 2019, we may be able to fit in one additional half day of photography.

The focus of this photo tour will be landscapes and micro fauna of the Cordillera Escalera. There is nothing quite like watching the sun rise over the foothills of the Andes Mountains as each new day awakens, standing in awe at towering waterfalls, photographing dart frogs in their natural habitat, or venturing out to explore the night life of the Amazon rainforest. One highlight of the night-time excursions will be photographing the endangered Cochran Frog, which has a very limited range in the Cordillera Escalera. We will also be photographing many species of insects endemic to this region. The biodiversity of the Cordillera Escalera leaves no shortage of subjects to photograph.

For more info or to register, please contact Andrew via e-mail.

Mark Pepper

We could not ask for a more friendly and knowledgeable guide. Mark Pepper has been exploring this rainforest environment for over 15 years. Mark has even worked with BBC film crews filming in the area. Using his extensive knowledge and keen eye he will locate several species of dart frogs for us to photograph, not to mention some very fascinating insects!

Some locations during this tour will require the ability of being able to walk several kilometres over uneven terrain in a humid environment. If you have any concerns regarding this please do not hesitate to inquire for additional information.

Our accommodations will be at the luxurious Understory House, which is also equipped with a gorgeous infinity pool over-looking the Cordillera Escalera, within the foothills of the Andes Mountains and Amazonian rainforest. There are two rooms with one queen bed each and one room with two sets of adult bunkbeds. Many of our morning sunrise sessions will be conducted on site, as we have an outstanding view of the sun rising over the mountain range.


Daily excursions will be determined based on the current weather conditions.
Image review sessions will be conducted both in the field via LCD and at the Understory House via laptop computers.
Breakfast – at the Understory House
Lunch – at various locations during the tour based on each day’s travel plans
Dinner – in the town of Tarapoto at one of the many fine restaurants

What’s Included:

In-depth Photographic instruction
Accommodation at the Understory House
Transportation to and from Understory House and to all photographic destinations
Pick-up and drop-off at the Tarapoto airport for your arrival and departure
Free Wifi at the Understory House
All meals

What’s Not Included:

Your airfare to and from Tarapoto, Peru (via Lima).

Alcoholic beverages
Travel insurance
Medical insurance

The Details

Photo Tour Fee: $3800.00 US per person.

To secure your spot a non-refundable deposit of $1,200 US is due now. The balance of the fee, $2600.00 US, is due no later than March 31, 2019. A signed Waiver of Liability form must accompany the non-refundable deposit. Waiver of Liability forms will be emailed to those wishing to register.

Travel Insurance: Participants are encouraged to purchase their own medical, travel, and trip cancellation insurance.

The Cancellation Policy:

Full refund less $1200 US non-refundable deposit up to 91 days prior to Photo Tour date.

No refunds 90 days prior to the date.

If fewer than three folks sign up you will receive a complete refund that will include your non-refundable deposit.

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Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

After spending several additional days on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario in the provinces Muskoka District I experimented with some additional techniques to creating over/under or split shots of Bullfrogs within their wetland habitat on the lake. During my first attempts at creating these images I was a little frustrated by the amount of time I had to wipe water droplets off the front element of the Ewa Marine housing. This time around I decided to try an old underwater photography trick whereby rubbing a thin film of parafin wax over the element to help repell water droplets. Using an unscented, parafin wax votive candle to rub some wax onto the element and a dedicated micro fibre cleaning cloth that will be reserved for this purpose only I buffed the wax until it was well distributed and no longer visible, however, a very thin film of wax remained. This techinque did help to repell much of the water droplets that I found annoying during my first attempts. I did however, need to perform some minor cleaning of the housing’s element with the micro fibre cleaning cloth to eliminate droplets that would have been problematic for subsequent captures. The best technique still seems to be pre-planning the look of the image and slowly sink the camera below the water’s surface creating images as you to capture that perfect moment. If you raise the camera out of the water to create additional frames, after sinking it, it is most likely that water droplets will become problematic.

As with the previous post each of today’s featured images were created using the Nikon D500 with the Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens in an Ewa Marine Underwtaer Housing. Utilizing the Nikon D500’s Live View feature was indispensible to composing and focusing each of the scenes.


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing



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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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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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