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Archive for the ‘Reptiles and Amphibians’ Category

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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Cayman Brac_743

Sunrise at Pollard Bay on Cayman Brac

Today I begin my journey home. Assuming flights are on time I will arrive in Toronto at 5:40 p.m. and then make the one hour drive north to my home.

It was a great honour to have bird photographer extroadinare Arthur Morris and previous workshop attendee Anita North as participants for Cayman Brac 2018. We had a great time and created tons of Brown Booby nesting season images.

I remained on island for an additional week after the conclusion of the photo tour and was able to create some of my very best underwater imagery to date using a Nikon D500 and Nikkor 18-35mm lens in an Ewa Marine housing.

Yesterday, towards the end of the day, I was rewarded with a sighting of the critically endangered Sister Island Rock Iguana. He was most cooperative allowing me to photograph for about 10 minutes before he disappearred into the think underbrush of the surrounding forest.

Here are a few of my most favorite images created during my two week stay on Cayman Brac. There will be many more images to share in the days to come.

Cayman Brac 2018 Participants_685

Andrew McLachlan, Anita North, & Arthur Morris

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Brown Booby in Flight

Caribbean Reef Squid_1609

Caribbean Reef Squid

Sister Island Curly Tail_229

Sister Island Curly-tailed Lizard

Sister Island Rock Iguana_8461

Sister Island Rock Iguana

Peacock Flounder_3914

Peacock Flounder

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Spotted Stonefish

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West Indian Whistling Duck

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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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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 June 30 – July 6, 2018 (6 nights). Maximum number of participants is 6. All accommodations for this photo tour will be shared with no single supplement option available. The photo tour fee is $3500.00 US Currency. We need to arrive in Tarapoto, Peru on June 30th and we will depart for home on July 6th.

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 within their natural habitat, or venturing out to explore the night life within 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.

If you have not already viewed my image gallery from my scouting trip to Peru’s Cordillera Escalera please click here.

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. There is also the possibility of river crossings on some hikes, however, these rivers are narrow and shallow. If you have any concerns regarding these please do inquire for additional information.

Our accommodations will be at the luxurious Understory Enterprises Field 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. 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.

 

 

Itinerary:

Meet and greet on June 30, 2018 at the Understory Enterprises Field House.

Daily excursions will be determined based on the current weather conditions.

Image review sessions will be conducted both in the field via LCD and via laptop computers at the Understory Enterprises Field House.

Breakfasts – will be at the Understory Enterprises Field House

Lunches – at various locations during the tour based on each day’s travel plans

Dinners – we will go into the town of Tarapoto for dinner at one of the many fine restaurants

 

What’s Included:

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

What’s Not Included:

  • Transportation to and from Lima, Peru
  • Transportation to and from Tarapoto, Peru
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance

Photo Tour Fee:

$3500.00 US per person.

To secure your spot a non-refundable retainer of $1200 US is due now. The balance of the photo tour fee ($2300.00 US) is due no later than March 31, 2018.

A signed Waiver of Liability form must accompany the non-refundable retainer. 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.

Cancellation Policy:

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

No refunds 90 days prior to the date.

 

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