Archive for the ‘Reptiles and Amphibians’ Category

Ranitomeya flavovittata – captive (Eastern Peru)
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
f22 @ 1/60 sec (ISO 100)
Nikon SB400 Spedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Today at 1:00 p.m. my excursion to Tarapoto, Peru begins. I will commute to Toronto, Ontario to board the first flight of two flights required to get to my destination. The first flight lands in Lima, Peru at roughly 2:00 a.m. After a 5 hour lay over we will then board the final plane that flies over the Andes and into Tarapoto. The blog will be quiet while I am away, but I will be posting a few cellphone snaps of the trip on my Instagram page as frequently as wifi availability will allow. To follow my Instagram page look me up at @mclachlanwild.

See you all soon ūüôā




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La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi)
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

The La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi) is a small tree frog (about one inch) endemic to the rainforests of Costa Rica. When view from underneath you can see all of their internal organs, blood vessels, and bones – hence the name glass frog. During each Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop we bring this species out as a bonus species. The above image is optimized from a horizontal capture as can be seen in the unedited RAW directly file below. In hindsight this fantastic pose on a Monsterra leaf should have been capture in both horizontal and vertical orientations. Hindsight and Photoshop knowledge is a wonderful thing because with a little tweaking you can have both.

La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi) RAW FILE
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

In the screen shot of the Photoshop interface below you can see that I have selected the Crop Tool (I set the Ratio to 3712 X 5568 pixels, the same dimensions as an image from a Nikon D500). I then moved the crop tool and enlarged the ratio until I had the frog positioned exactly where I wanted it to be. As you can see from the screen shot below, the crop tool as been extended well beyond the actual image. This was done deliberatley. Note that I have checked the Content Aware box (please click on the image to view the larger version making it easier to see). All I have to do now is click on the crop tool’s check mark to initiate the cropping and let content aware will fill in the areas beyond the frame. usually there may be a little touch up needed as the content aware may not fill in the spaces perfectly, but in this case it did a wonderful job with no additional touch up required. The final task that was performed was cloning out the flash generated spectral highlights on the frog. I often find that enlarging the image to about 400% simplifies the task of cloning out these highlights, although it can be a time consuming task.

And last but not least is the optimized horizontal orientation of the La Palma Glass Frog. Please do remember to click on the images to view the larger, versions.

La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi)
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket


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Ranitomeya fantastica © Paul Infelise

A quick update on the recently announced Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop on Saturday, November 25th as it is now SOLD OUT (wait list). If enough interest is generated or the wait list becomes sufficient we will add a second date on Sunday, November 26th. If you missed out on getting your name in for the Saturday date, it is not too late, please send me an email by clicking here asking me to add you to the wait list.

Today’s post again features imagery by two participants in the recently concluded dart frog workshop. I love the pose of the Ranitomeya fantastica on the branch in the opening photo that Paul Infelise captured. The male Denrobates tinctorius “Mount Matecko” below seems to have a tough guy look to him and although a tad tight in the frame I really do like the pose on the Dendrobates tinctorius in the final image by Paul.


Dendrobates tinctorius “Mount Matecko” ¬© Paul Infelise


Dendrobates tinctorius © Paul Infelise


Mark Pomeroy sent along a small selection of his imagery from the day as well. Each of the frogs that mark sent are very small, measuring roughly the size of a thumb nail, with the exception of the Ranitomeya reticulata which is a little bit smaller than that! Mark’s Ranitomeya variablis on the Monsterra leaf is posing for us quite nicely and the placement within the frame works well too. The La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi) has a very inquisitive look to its pose. The dark background creates the effect that this is a night time capture, which is an accurate representation for this nocturnal species. The Glass Frogs are always brought at the end of each event as a bonus species and they never disappoint. As mentioned previously the Ranitomeya reticulata is slightly smaller than a thumb nail in size and I like that mark kept it small in the frame as I think it enhances the diminutive size of this incredibly tiny, yet colorful dart frog.


Ranitomeya variablis © Mark Pomeroy


Hyalinobatrachium valerioi © Mark Pomeroy


Ranitomeya reticulata © Mark Pomeroy

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Ameerega hahneli   ©Sherry Butts

This post is feature several images from some of the participants that attended the recently concluded Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshops on August 19th & 20th. We had a great group of folks for each date and tons of fun creating great images. We incorporated the use of props for some species to illustrate just how tiny they are. These props included a ten cent coin and the thumb of yours truly for a human touch ūüôā I am really proud of the images that the workshop participants created during these two events as well as their post processing skills. I will share more images from other participants when they are able to send their images along. Below are a few images from the first group of participants that were able to submit their images this week. Stay tuned for more images soon ūüôā

First time participant Alan Jones made the trek from Michigan to attend both days of the workshop and created many great images using his Nikon D800 with the now discontinued Nikon 200mm Micro lens and the R1 Wireless Close-up Speedlight System I love the upright pose Alan captured of the Epipedobates tricolor, the side profile of the Phyllobates terribilis, and the low perspective for the Dendrobates leucomelas.

Dendrobates leucolemla   ©Alan Jones

Phyllobates terribilis   ©Alan Jones


Epipedobates tricolor   ©Alan Jones


Jennifer St. Louis was also a first time participant at the dart frog workshop. Jen was using a small soft box on her camera mounted flash to add a soft even light, which is something I may start incorporating. I absolutely love the image she captured of the Ranitomeya flavovitta below. Her low perspective allows the frog to stand out beautifully against the poster-like, out-of-focus background. Her image of the Hyalinobatrachium valerioi on the Monsterra leaf creates a nice sense of scale for this tiny tree frog and her Dendrobates leucomelas image really pops against the soft greens of the same leaf.


Ranitomeya flavovittata   ©Jen St. Louis


Hyalinobatrachium valerioi   ©Jen St. Louis


Dendrobates leucomelas   ©Jen St. Louis


Return workshop participant Don Johnston captured the Epipedobates tricolor on a 10 cent Canadian coin which really gives us a great sense of scale for this tiny but colorful frog. Don was also using the discontinued Nikon 200mm Micro lens with a light source provided by his Nikon SB900 Speedlight mounted to a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket. The benefit of using such a lens is that you gain more working distance, which can be most beneficial at times. Don’s capture of the Dendrobates tinctorius on the soft green moss (direct from Peru) pops nicely as does his Phylobates terribilis sitting on the Cordelyne leaf – what better combination than a bright yellow frog sitting on a bright purplish-pink leaf ūüôā


Epipedobates tricolor   ©Don Johnston


Dendrobates tinctorius “azureus”¬†¬† ¬©Don Johnston


Phyllobates terribilis   ©Don Johnston


Sherry Butts’, a returning workshop participant, opening image of the Ameerega hahneli reaching up to my thumb nail was only made better when the frog actually climbed up onto my thumb nail. Sherry was using one of my home-made flash diffusers to add soft, even lighting and while these custom-made diffusers are impracticable for field use they allow the workshop participant to create stunning imagery without the need to invest in expensive off camera flash brackets. Sherry loves going for a creative look in her images and as a result applied a beautiful texture overlay to her capture on the Phyllobates terribilis on a leaf stem.


Ameerega hahneli   ©Sherry Butts


Phyllobates terribilis   ©Sherry Butts

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Phyllobates terribilis

This past weekend we held our Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop at the Crinan Community Centre located just west of London, Ontario. We had a great group of participants in attendance and a couple of folks that took advantage of the two day discount that was offered. Several participants were repeat participants from the first event held in May of this year. One lucky participant from each of this weekend’s events walked away with a fabulous door prize – The Plamp that was graciously supplied by Wimberely.

Here are a few of my initial edits from a few of the images I captured in between assisting participants with their images. As usual during each event we bring out a couple of bonus species at the conclusion of the day. For this event we featured the La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi) and The Fringed Leaf Frog (Cruziohyla craspedopus).

In the coming days I will be featuring some participant photos.

In September I am travelling to Tarapoto, Peru on a scouting trip to be able to add an incredible rainforest photographic workshop opportunity to my 2018 line up of available workshops. Stay tuned for news about this upcoming workshop.

The next Ontario based Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop will be held in Mississauga, Ontario in November. Once the logistics for this event are finalized I will announce the event here.

Please do remember to click on each photo to view the larger and sharper versions.

Phyllobates terribilis “orange black foot”


Ameerega hahneli “tonhauyo” Peru


Dendrobates leucomelas “microspot”


Dendrobates auratus “microspot”


Dendrobates auratus “reticulated”


Dendrobates tinctorius “cobalt”


Dendrobates tinctorius “mount matecko”


Ranitomeya imitator “chazuta”


Ranitomeya imitator “chazuta”


Ranitomeya benedicta


The Fringed Leaf Frog – Cruziohyla casperdopus


La Palma Glass Frog – Hyalinobactrachium valerioi


The Fringed Leaf Frog – Cruziohyla craspedopus

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Two spaces have just opened up for the Saturday, August 19th Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop. One lucky participant will walk away with an awesome door prize graciously supplied by Wimberley. To find out more information about the workshop please click here and contact me here to arrange payment via email transfer or by cheque and reserve your spot. It would take tens of thousands of dollars to explore the rainforest to photograph a fraction of the species that you will be able to photograph on this date in the comfort of the Crinan Community Centre located near London, Ontario. Hope to see you there!

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Juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens at 500mm (35mm equivalent = 750mm)
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/250 sec
B&W Polarizing Filter

Try as I may I have yet to find any Bullfrogs within the wetland at my cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. To date I have heard all but one male Bullfrog chorusing so far this season but locating him is another matter altogether. I believe the difficulty in finding the Bullfrogs may have something to do with the very cool and late start of the growing season as the waterlilies are well behind schedule in terms of water surface coverage and blooming. The lake level is also considerably higher this year, by as much as one foot. It is possible that the Bullfrogs are seeking refuge in the dense thickets of leatherleaf that surround the wetland edges and will emerge out into the more open areas of the wetland when the waterlilies provide more coverage.

On a recent exploration of the wetland I did however have the good fortune of locating some very co-operative turtles and water snakes. On one outing I located 12 Northern Water Snakes basking on a beaver lodge! The highlight of my excursions was finding a juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle that was small enough to be sunning on a yellow pond lily leaf. To create the opening photo I chose a low perspective by seating myself in the bottom of the canoe and carefully framed the scene to ensure I maintained the turtle’s reflection in the slice of open water between two lily pad leaves. By resting the lens on the gunwale of the canoe I was able to gain the additional support for this handheld capture. A polarizing filter is pretty much a necessity when photographing basking turtles to eliminate the unwanted glare from the vegetation and the turtle’s carapace, they are also very useful for eliminating the undesirable glare from the scales of snakes. My choice of polarizing filter for use on the Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens is the B&W 95mm F-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizing MRC Filter.

Snapping Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 340mm (35mm equivalent = 540mm)
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/125 sec.
B&W Polarizing Filter

The Common Snapping Turtle above was photographed in the exact same manner as the juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle although a passing cloud thankfully provided some temporary over-cast conditions, which eliminated the harsh shadows that were being cast from upward pointing branches on the log. Whenever I locate an overly co-operative subject such as this large snapping turtle I put away my long lens after creating a few images and reach for my wide angle lenses for an unique perspective as shown below.

Snapping Turtle-scape, Horseshoe Lake Wetland, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/50 sec
Nikon Polarizing Filter


Snapping Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-85mm lens @ 78mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec

Below are two Northern Water Snake images that were captured over the course of the last two weekends. The first water snake was discovered within the wetland complex at rest among the branches of a beaver lodge while the second was found resting on a rock beside my dock in late evening light. Each of these images makes use of killer features found on the Nikon D500. In the first image I could not get in as close I was wanted to due to the branches extending out into the water. The work around was to select the Nikon D500’s 1.3X sensor crop and presto – I had the composition I desired. Once again, seating myself in the canoe and using the gunwale to provide additional support and activating the Vibration Reduction on the Nikkor 200-500mm lens I was able to handhold the shot at the 35mm equivalent of a 1,000mm lens!

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500 (35mm equivalent = 1000mm)
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/160 sec
B&W Polarizing Filter

Often I will venture down to the dock in the evening to see what critters have begun to emerge and was delighted to find the water snake at rest on the rock beside the dock. The only way to effectively photograph the snake was to get into the water. Due to the fading light, hand-holding the image was going to be impossible so I set-up my tripod in the lake allowing me to mount my camera and lens just above the water’s surface. Once again I was wanting to create a slight tighter composition so I set the 1.3X sensor crop. To deal with the low light and slow shutter speed I set my self-timer to 2 seconds, activated the Live View feature, and since the Nikon D500’s LCD screen is a touch screen you can actually touch the screen where you want it to focus. Once focus is achieved an image will be captured. In this case, I touched the LCD screen where the snake’s right eye is and two seconds later the camera recorded the image you see below.

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (35mm equivalent = 1000mm)
ISO 500, f11 @ 1/15 sec

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



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