Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Wetlands’ Category

Spring Peeper Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Flash Bracket

Spring Peeper
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Flash Bracket

 

About one and a half weeks ago the temperatures around my home warmed up enough to lure the first frogs out of hibernation and into the vernal ponds to chorus. As usual I grabbed my chest waders and jumped into the pond. The first frogs to emerge around my home are the Chorus Frogs, Spring Peeper, and Wood Frog. I had great success with each of these species, including an interesting encounter whereby two male Wood Frogs had mistaken a pair of Spring Peepers, in amplexus, as potential mates. I was also able to locate my first ever pair of Chorus Frogs in amplexus. A couple of nights ago the temperatures rose high enough to bring out the Northern Leopard Frogs (I was able to photograph an awesome grayish-brown phase specimen), which filled the night air with their guttural snore-like song. The American Toads have also emerged, but have yet to start singing. With the next several nights destined to be cooler than normal, with the risk of snow flurries, the ponds will go silent again until things warm up again. Here are a few of my newest images from my outings to the vernal ponds this season.

You may notice in some of these images that my ISO was set at 400. This was my bad as my default setting is always ISO 100 for such imagery. This is a reminder to me to remember to double check my camera settings each time I head out to the ponds. The iTTL flash ensured correct flash exposure even though I forgot to reduce the ISO from 400 down to 100.

Chorus Frogs in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec  Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Chorus Frogs in Amplexus
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

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

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

 

Wood Frogs grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frogs Grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Wood Frogs grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micor Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec. Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frogs Grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus (the second Wood Frog and Spring Peeper are beneath the water in this capture)
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

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

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

 

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

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

Read Full Post »

Bullfrog in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 31mm ISO 800, f18 @ 1/100 second Nikon Polarizing Filter

Bullfrog in Wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 31mm
ISO 800, f18 @ 1/100 second
Nikon Polarizing Filter

The recent warm weather that we have been experiencing this week has already got me dreaming of the new Bullfrog images that I will be creating in the wetland on Hosreshoe Lake, near Parry Sound, Ontario. While there are numerous locations throughout the province of Ontario that could easily be named as my favorite places, I do feel most at home on Horseshoe Lake. Of all the Bullfrog images that I create each year in the wetland on the lake, this image that was created last summer is by far my personal favorite. This coming year I am looking forward to trying new things with my frog work, which will include video clips. I am all set with LED lighting and microphones for night-time forays into wetlands. I am also intrigued by a new camera concept / design by LIGHT and hope to be able to give this new camera technology a whirl with the Bullfrogs of Horseshoe Lake.

To create the frog-scape image above I simply positioned my canoe alongside of this large male Bullfrog, sat in the bottom of the canoe for greater stability, and using the Live View feature on my Nikon D800, I reached out over the side of the canoe, placing the camera low to the surface of the water to create an image whereby the frog dominates the foreground yet the habitat in which the frog lives is quite apparent.

Read Full Post »

Tiny Marsh in Winter Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 200mm ISO 400, f22 @ 0.4 sec.

Tiny Marsh in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 200mm
ISO 400, f22 @ 0.4 sec.

 

I awoke at 5:00 a.m. this morning to make the drive to Tiny Marsh in Elmvale, Ontario for what I hoped would be some nice winter sunrise scenes over the frozen wetland. As it turned out the cloud cover persisted and eliminated any chance of a sunrise, however, as often happens at Tiny Marsh, there is frequently interesting wind-swept patterns of snow and ice over the frozen marshland. The temperatures were a balmy -3 degrees Celsius and the winds were relatively light – it was a good morning to be at the marsh. In south-central Ontario we have been experiencing unusually warm weather and have just started to get some colder weather settling in to freeze the lakes, rivers, and wetlands. I spent several hours exploring the frozen patterns along the edges of the marshland and located one Snowy Owl but it was too far out across the unstable, newly forming ice to risk approaching it for photos. In fact, for many of the images I created this morning I received no less than half a dozen soakers when I stepped too far off the edge of the shoreline for a better perspective and sank through the ice up to my calfs. By the time I was ready to leave my boots were full of ice cold water and my toes were a tad chilly…hopefully the images were worth the effort:)

Please remember to click on each image to view the sharper, larger versions.

 

Pre-dawn Light Over Tiny Marsh Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 20 seconds

Pre-dawn Light Over Tiny Marsh
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 20 seconds

 

Winter Details at Tiny Marsh Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm lens @ 480mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1 second

Winter Details at Tiny Marsh
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 480mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1 second

 

Winter at Tiny Marsh Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm lens @ 68mm ISO 100,  f16 @ 0.3 sec

Winter at Tiny Marsh
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm lens @ 68mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.3 sec

Read Full Post »

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

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

In frog photography patience is a virtue and good things will come to those who wait. On May 30th of this year (yes, I am way behind on processing my image files) the night time temperatures were perfect for the male Green Frogs to congregate at a nearby wetland and chorus to entice females to the pond for mating. As I waded about the pond I noticed one particular male that was clinging to an old cattail stem, while floating in a section of the pond with no distracting debris floating in the water. I slowly made my way over to where he was and once directly in front of him, I slowly moved myself into a kneeling position in front of him. As I did this I was reminded of the hole in my chest waders as cold pond water began to trickle into the waders. Also it was a perfect night for the first mosquitoes of the season to emerge and feast upon your truly. I do not use any sort of bug spray when I am out photographing frogs and toads due to its toxicity to them. I would hate to handle a frog or toad with bug spray on my hands as it would be harmful and likely fatal to them. The time span between the above image and the one below is exactly seven minutes. Once I was in position, I waited and waited and waited, all the while swatting mosquitoes with slow-motion-like movement so that I would not disturb the frog. As I was waiting I kept watching the frog’s torso, as it began to fill with air I knew it was going to call very soon. In the above photo you can clearly see how bloated the frog looks and then in one quick moment all the air is pushed out, inflating the vocal sac, and the Green Frog’s signature loose banjo string-like call can be heard.

Male Green Frog with Vocal Sac Inflated Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Male Green Frog with Vocal Sac Inflated
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Read Full Post »

Sigma 180 Macro_4363

In 2012 Sigma released the Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens. In July of this year I had the opportunity to spend about a week with the lens, to give a thorough workout, as it was on loan to me from Gentec International, the Canadian distributor for Sigma lenses. The Sigma 180mm Macro lens is physically a large lens yet does handle very nicely. It is equipped with Sigma’s Optical Stabilization feature, which will compensate for about 4 stops. At the time of this lens’ release it was the only 180mm Macro lens to offer such superb stabilization. It is also a fast lens with a maximum aperture of f2.8 therefore the viewfinder is bright making manual focus easy (should you prefer to manually focus your macro lenses – I generally do). Since my main objective was to use this lens handheld from the canoe for frog photography and wetland details too, I was very eager to put the Optical Stabilizer to the test. Some other features that are noteworthy to mention for this high-performance lens are:

  • Three low dispersion glass elements for excellent correction of both axial chromatic aberration and lateral chromatic aberration.
  • Hyper Sonic Motor delivers auto-focusing that is quiet, fast, and accurate.
  • Multi-layer coatings to minimize flare and ghosting.
  • Accepts 86mm size filters.
  • Tripod collar to easily switch from horizontal to vertical orientations.
  • Minimum focusing distance of 18.5 inches.
  • Magnification ratio of 1:1 at the minimum focusing distance.

Let’s head out into the Horseshoe Lake wetland in the canoe and see what we can find. Do note additional info that is provided in the image captions.

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 800, f11 @ 1/160 sec.

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 800, f11 @ 1/160 sec.

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 800, f11 @ 1/100 sec.

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 800, f11 @ 1/100 sec.

One of the first things that did take some getting used to on my part was working with the greater minimum focusing distance. Since I am most accustomed to using my Nikon 105mm Micro Lens which has a minimum focusing distance of 12 inches I often found that I was getting in too close with the Sigma 180mm Macro lens and would have to adjust my positioning to accommodate for the greater minimum focusing distance. This is by no means a hindrance though, in fact the greater minimum focusing distance has many benefits to it. If you enjoy photographing butterflies, small lizards, snakes or other often difficult to approach subjects, the Sigma lens will permit photographing from a greater distance which in-turn will lessen the chance of entering the animals comfort zone causing them to take flight.

Hand-holding the Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens in the Horseshoe Lake wetland was a very enjoyable experience and allowed me to create numerous images that would have been difficult to do otherwise, as it would have been impossible to set-up a tripod in the soft mucky bottom. Do note that macro lenses as a rule are some of the best optics available and I will often use them for landscape imagery as well, including some of the intimate wetland scenes below.

Fragrant White Water Lily Blossom Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 200, f16 @ 1/80 sec.  Hand-Held

Fragrant White Water Lily Blossom
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/80 sec.
Hand-Held

 

Spatulate Leaved Sundew Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 800, f11 @ 1/50 sec. Hand-Held

Spatulate Leaved Sundews at the Edge of the Wetland
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 800, f11 @ 1/50 sec.
Hand-Held

 

Wetland Details Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 800, f8 @ 1/250 sec Hand-Held

Wetland Details
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/250 sec
Hand-Held

 

Arrowheads at Edge of Wetland Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 800, f11 @ 1/80 sec. Hand-Held

Arrowheads at Edge of Wetland
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 800, f11 @ 1/80 sec.
Hand-Held

After photographing several different scenarios in the wetland environment I decided to head into the woods with my tripod and photograph some woodland details. Many years ago I used spend much of my time in woodlands photographing woodland plants, tree bark details and any bugs that I could find. It was a ton of fun to take the Sigma 180mm Macro lens into the woods to re-visit my photographic roots.

Staghorn Sumac Leaves Close-up Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 400, f16 @ 0.6 sec Tripod Mounted with OS off

Staghorn Sumac Leaves Close-up
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 400, f16 @ 0.6 sec
Tripod Mounted with OS turned off

 

Silver Birch Tree Bark Detail Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 200, f29 @ 6 seconds Tripod Mounted with OS turned off

Silver Birch Tree Bark Detail
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 200, f29 @ 6 seconds
Tripod Mounted with OS turned off

 

Daddy Long-Legs on White Birch Tree Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 200, f32 @ 8 seconds Tripod Mounted with OS turned off

Daddy Long-Legs on White Birch Tree
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 200, f32 @ 8 seconds
Tripod Mounted with OS turned off

And last but not least, I could not resist the temptation to create a pleasing blur of a lovely cluster of ferns growing alongside of the cottage road. To create the blurred effect I simply stood at the edge of the road, looking down upon the ferns and using an in-camera sideways motion with a shutter speed of 1/15 created an image that revealed the subject matter, yet had a pleasing amount of blur to it as well. This is a technique that I learned from colleague, mentor and friend Denise Ippolito.

Pleasing Fern Blur Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens ISO 800, f8 @ 1/15 sec Hand-Held with a Sideways Movement

Pleasing Fern Blur
Nikon D800, Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/15 sec
Hand-Held In-camera Blur with a Sideways Movement

Conclusion: The Sigma 180mm f2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS Lens was an absolute joy to use. The 18.5 inch minimum working distance took some getting used to on my part, but is very beneficial to photographing subjects that are prone to spook very easily. The Optical Stabilization feature’s performance is superb offering a stable solution to creating hand-held imagery in often difficult situations. While I mainly used the lens hand-held, the tripod collar did make switching from horizontal to vertical orientations effortless when a tripod was in use. Alternately, the tripod collar would offer an excellent and very simple solution to mounting an off-camera flash for night-time macro photography, much like I do for my night-time frog imagery whereby I use flash 100% of the time. I would highly recommend this lens to anyone looking for a macro lens, or looking to upgrade to a longer focal length macro lens. It is a large, sturdy, and well built lens that delivers superb image results. I only wish that I had more time to fully explore the capabilities this lens has to offer.

Please do click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Read Full Post »

Bullfrog Among Lily Pads on Horseshoe Lake Nikon D800 (with 1.5 sensor crop activated), Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens ISO 800, f8 @ 1/60 sec

Bullfrog Among Lily Pads on Horseshoe Lake
Nikon D800 (with 1.5 sensor crop activated), Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/60 sec

Without a doubt my most often go-to lens for Bullfrog in the wetland on Horseshoe Lake is my Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, and more often than not I select the Nikon D800’s 1.5 sensor crop when creating these images. By selecting the 1.5 sensor crop I am effectively using a 22mm fisheye lens with a close focusing distance of 5.5 inches. The close focusing capabilities of the Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens are hard to beat when it comes to creating these Bullfrog portraits. To view a larger selection of my fisheye imagery on the Sigma Canada website please click here.

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

Read Full Post »

Common Snapping Turtle Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens Nikon Circular Polarizing Filter ISO 800, f11 @ 1/320

Common Snapping Turtle
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens
Nikon Circular Polarizing Filter
Handheld at ISO 800, f11 @ 1/320

A couple of weeks ago while I was in search of Bullfrogs in the wetland on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario I came upon a very cooperative Common Snapping Turtle basking in the sun on a partially water-logged white pine tree trunk. Several years ago this large white pine trunk became stuck near the entrance to the wetland, but this past winter / spring it has moved deeper into the wetland to a location that is sure to find it being used by several species of turtles and watersnakes. I am eagerly awaiting my next extended stay at the lake to try for more reptile images.

Common Snapping Turtles are usually difficult to approach as they will often retreat into the water at first sight. I made a slow and cautious approach in my canoe hoping not to disturb the turtle and every few feet I would stop to create a few images. Do note in the above photo I used my Nikon Polarizing Filter to cut the glare from the vegetation as well as the turtle’s shell. I soon came to realize that this particular turtle was being very cooperative, so I proceeded a little closer. Soon I had pulled the canoe right up alongside of the turtle and yet it remained undisturbed. I quickly switched out my Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens for my Nikon 18-35mm Lens to create an up-close and personal wide-angle view, and employed my Live View technique that has often worked well for frog-scapes. While using the Live View feature on my Nikon D800 I will lean out over the side of the canoe and hold the camera very close to the water’s surface to get a very low perspective. Using the virtual horizon in Live View will assist in keeping the resulting photos square with the world.

The only thing that kinda bugs me about these snapping turtle photos is the very large bloodsucker that can be seen on the turtle’s left cheek:)

Do remember to click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version.

Common Snapping Turtle Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 35mm Handheld at ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1000

Common Snapping Turtle
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 35mm
Handheld at ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1000

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 845 other followers

%d bloggers like this: