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Archive for the ‘Reptiles and Amphibians’ Category

Due to the very successful, first-ever Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop in May I will be hosting two photographic workshops, with new species of dart frogs in each session, in August at the Crinan Community Centre located at 13568 Dunborough Line in West Elgin, Ontario, located near London, Ontario.

The dates and times for these workshops are:

Saturday, August 19, 2017  10:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  (SOLD OUT – wait list)

Sunday, August 20, 2017       10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (SOLD OUT – wait list)

The space for each workshop is limited to a maximum of 8 participants to allow ample time for folks to photograph each species. Each workshop will feature different species and colour varieties of dart frogs.

These are the only workshops available whereby you will be able to capture stunning imagery of 15 different species of dart frogs endemic to the Amazon rainforest. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to explore the Amazon jungle 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 species of dart frogs for only $195, plus HST, 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 provide custom made flash diffusers that will allow folks to capture equally stunning imagery using camera mounted flash as well.

Please note: folks wishing to sign up for both dates will receive a 15% discount, which works out to $339.13 plus HST to attend both sessions.

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

To register for this workshop folks may contact me by clicking here for availability.

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

Hope to see you there!

 

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Phyllobates terribilis (mint)
©Martina Schneider

Today’s post features  several images from some of the participants that attended the first ever Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop.  I think you will agree with me that they all did a fantastic job of creating many stunning images. As you scroll down through the images do note the captions to see which participant created each photo and please do click on the photos to see the larger versions. In the opening photo Martina Schneider did an absolutely amazing job of capturing the image of the Phyllobates terribilis from a very low perspective – a frog’s eye view if you will 🙂

Ranitomeya ventrimaculata
©Paul Infelise

Paul Infelise also used a very low perspective to capture a stunning image of the Ranitomeya ventrimaculata revealing the stunning colouration of the frog’s underside.

Ranitomeya fantastica
©Laurie Thomson

For one of our set-ups we got a little creative by utilizing a large white plastic serving tray to display the frogs against the pure white background. Laurie Thomson’s took the creativity one awesome step further in her photo of the Ranitomeya fantastica above by including the fingertips of the frog handler to create a sense of scale. Notice how the full grown frog is not much bigger than a fingernail!

Cruziohyla crasperdopus
©Barb Marszalek

Towards the end of the workshop we brought out a group of three Cruziohyla crasperdopus which Barb Marszalek captured beautifully as they climbed over each other. The colouration of these frogs allows them to remain camouflaged on the bark of certain palm trees while they sleep during the daylight hours. Barb attended one of my previous workshops at Reptilia and created many incredible photos, of which one received a Gold Ribbon at the Etobicoke Camera Club competition and a Bronze Medal in the Animal Category of the Greater Toronto Council of Camera Clubs competition. Awesome achievement Barb!

Ranitomeya imitator
©George Nagy

Longtime blog supporter George Nagy created this wonderful image of my favourite dart frog the Ranitomeya imitator as it rested on a large monstera leaf. George not only positioned the frog very nicely within the frame but also paid close attention to the details of the leaf allowing the one yellowish vein to act as a diagonal leading line.

Below you will see a few additional images created by each of these participants.

We will be announcing the date of the next dart frog workshop very soon and it will feature a completely new collection of dart frogs!

Dendrobates tinctorius “citronella”
©Martina Schneider

 

Epipedobates anthonyi
©George Nagy

 

La Palma Glass Frog (Hyalinobactrachium valerioi) – female with eggs
©Laurie Thomson

 

Dendrobates auratus campana
©Barb Marszalek

 

Dendrobates tinctorius “azureus”
©Paul Infelise

 

Ranitomeya vanzolinni
©George Nagy

 

Epipedobates anthonyi
©Laurie Thomson

 

Dendrobates auratus
©Martina Schneider

 

Dendrobates tinctoius “azureus”
©Barb Marszalek

 

Ameerega hahneli – defence posture
©Laurie Thomson

 

Ameerega hahneli
©Barb Marszalek

 

Ameerega hahneli
©Martina Schneider

 

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Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/500 sec.

 

On previous travels throughout the Caribbean I have had the opportunity to photograph Rock Iguanas in Cuba. I have also photographed them on the island of Little Cayman within the Cayman Islands. On my recent trip to Cayman Brac I encountered a large male Rock Iguana sunning in an open area far off from the main road on the island. I would estimate his length at roughly 3 feet from nose to tail. This was a special moment for me as the Rock Iguanas found on both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are a unique subspecies known as the Sister Islands Rock Iguanas and they are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Please do take a moment to read about this subspecies of the Rock Iguana on the IUCN Red List. When reading the report make note that on Little Cayman these iguanas occupy a range of 18 square kilometres while on Cayman Brac their range of habitat is 20 square kilometres. Several factors are to blame for their decline including; habitat destruction, feral cats, domestic cats and dogs, invasion species such as the Green Iguana and Norway Rat, and road mortality. While the Sister Islands Rock Iguana is a protected species there is little in the way of protected habitat for them.

When photographing wildlife, whether it is a critically endangered species or one of least concern, it is important that the welfare of the animal transcends the photographic opportunity.

Please remeber to click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version of this impressive reptile.

 

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 420mm (630mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 800
f8 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 310mm (465mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/640 sec.

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American Toad
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

On Sunday April 9th, two days after receiving a late season snowfall, the temperatures rose to just above the 20 degree Celsius mark in south-central Ontario. Perfect conditions for a night time excursion to the neighborhood frog pond. As I drove through the night to reach the pond I did so with the car window rolled down and as I neared the pond’s location I could already hear the deafening chorus of hundreds of Spring Peppers. Typically at this point in the season it is only the Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs, and Wood Frogs that are chorusing. Other species will generally emerge a few weeks later. On this night I did note many Green Frogs, and American Toads had also emerged but had not yet begun to chorus. I spent about two hours wading through the shallow waters of the pond searching out the crooners and also keeping a close eye on a newcomers to the pond – Beavers. Late last fall it appears that beavers have moved into the pond creating a dam to retain a deeper depth to the pond which should benefit the frog’s offspring in their metamorphosis to adulthood without the risk of the pond drying out. When searching for these frogs it is often best to search the grasses and shrubbery at the pond’s periphery, as this is where they will be discovered most often. On this first excursion I was pleasantly surprised to locate a juvenile Bullfrog as well.

Here are a few images that were created on this first excursion into this year’s spring chorus.

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

Have you have ever thought about trying your hand at photographing frogs and toads at night during the spring chorus. If so, send me an email to schedule a private in-the-field session to learn how I photograph them under the cover of darkness.

Wood Frog
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Spring Peeper
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Spring Peeper
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Bullfrog – juvenile
Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

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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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Daybreak at Marie Louise Lake in Ontario's Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Daybreak, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

 

Looking back over the past year I came to the realization that I created some of my own personal favorites during 2016. As this year comes to a close here is the selection of my most favorite images. From the stunning daybreak display above on Marie Louise Lake in Ontario’s Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, to the Bullfrogs on Horseshoe Lake, to beautiful vistas along the Niagara Escarpment in Bruce Peninsula National Park, to winter scenes close to home, and to the highest cliffs in Ontario at the Top of the Giant Trail over-looking Lake Superior. I arrived just in time to capture nature’s beauty when she was ready to put on a stellar show!

I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2017 as I will commence several new ventures with my photography, including a schedule of upcoming workshops that I will announce shortly.

I would like to take a moment to thank you all for your support of my work and to wish you all a very Happy New Year and all the best for the year ahead.

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Bullfrog in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Bullfrog in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Winter Stream in Thornton, Ontario

Winter Stream in Thornton, Ontario

 

Daybreak on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Daybreak on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive

 

Top of the Giant, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

Top of the Giant, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

 

Interrupted ferns in autumn in woodland setting, Torrance Barrens, Ontario, Canada

Ferns in Autumn Woodland, Torrance Barrens, Ontario

 

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Night Scape on Marie Louise Lake in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Minor crop applied to fix tilted horizon.

Night-scape, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

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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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