Archive for the ‘workshops’ Category

On Saturday May 5, 2018 join me for “Micro Fauna of the Desert – A Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop” What is a Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop? They are a series of inexpensive, half day workshops that give back to the participants! Just how will they give back? For every 5 Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops that a participant attends they will receive a $50 (Canadian currency) voucher redeemable on a future workshop of their choice.

This workshop will run from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The cost of this event is $125 plus HST, which includes admission to the Reptilia Zoo.

During Micro Fauna of the Desert we will cover the fundamentals of working with flash to capture incredible imagery of these fascinating, nocturnal animals. We will also incorporate some creative options for these critters such as white backdrops and mirrors. We will photograph scorpions under ultraviolet lighting – did you know they glow under such illumination! We will photograph  several species of tarantulas as well as two incredibly colourful  lizards – the Tokay Gecko and the Leopard Gecko. Time permitting we may be able to include a Madagascar Day Gecko too!

These various species will be photographed under controlled conditions using natural, table top set-ups, for approximately two hours. Afterwards we will explore the displays in the Reptilia Zoo and have opportunities to photograph many species of venomous snakes through the safety of their glass enclosures. Although the workshop will concluded at 12:00 p.m. participants are permitted to spend the remainder of the day exploring the displays within the Reptilia Zoo.

The recommended gear for this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop is a macro lens and flash. Ideally a flash bracket to get the flash off camera will work best but is not mandatory. I have devised various options for working with camera mounted flash for macro work. If you do not own a macro lens you could always rent one for the day from either Henry’s or Vistek. Alternately, using a high quality close-up filter on a telephoto lens is another option to make such lenses focus close enough. If you are uncertain whether your lenses will be suitable for this event please do inquire so that I can provide you with the best advice and solution. A tripod will be required to photograph the scorpions under ultraviolet lighting.

To register your self for this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop please contact me by clicking here. Payment can be made by email transfer or by cheque made payable to Andrew McLachlan.

Cancellation Policy: no refunds 30 days prior to the workshop date.

Hope to see you there 🙂


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Flat Rock Scorpion – captive
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm f2.8D Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

On Thursday, March 8th I drove out to a potential workshop location to scout out some critters for an upcoming workshop. This workshop will feature Scorpions, Tarantulas, Geckos, and a few other very interesting subjects. While we were working with the subjects the handler suggested that we could use an ultraviolet light on the scorpions as they glow under such light. I thought that would be very cool to try, but I did not bring along a tripod as they would need to be photographed under the UV light along and flash could not be used. We gave it a try anyway and dialed the ISO up to 20,000 (that is not a typo!) to permit a hand held capture at f3.2 for 1/100 second. After applying some noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw I was actually quite surprised at the end result. The opening image shows the Flat Rock Scorpion under normal lighting and below is the same scorpion glowing under the ultraviolet light. I was also surprised to see that the sand turns purple under the UV lighting.

For folks that do not want to miss out on their opportunity to attend this soon to be announced photographic workshop please send me a note by clicking here to be added to my workshop contact list.

Flat Rock Scorpion under Ultraviolet Light
ISO 20,000, f3.2 @ 1/100 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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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

Brown Booby_7019

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


Spotted Stonefish

West Indian Whistling Duck_783

West Indian Whistling Duck

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Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario

On January 27th & 28th we held our first-ever Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop. We had 5 fabulous clients that made the entire event lots of fun. Our conditions at the waterfalls could have been better but we all made the best of the conditions that we were presented with. The area experienced a real swing in temperatures throughout January from -30 Celsius to +10 Celsius with lots of rain. The rain and warm temps melted away much of the snow that had accumulated early in the month and the rain over the course of the last few weeks created some treacherously, icy conditions. The ice was so made at some locations that it did prevent us from accessing certain vantage points at some waterfalls for safety reasons. On the flip side though there were some really cool ice formations along the river banks that we all took advantage of with our long lenses. To illustrate the effect of the warmer than usual weather and excessive rains the image below of an old weathered boathouse on Lake Rosseau pretty much sums it up.

Lake Rosseau Boathouse in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

In the coming weeks I will share some of the images created by the particiapnts with you here on the blog. From what I have seen so far, you are in for a real treat 🙂

In the photo that opens this blog post you can see the glare ice at Hatchery Falls and this ice extended down to the base of the falls making it impossible to access the lower area for different perspectives. My trusty Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens was used to create this extreme wide angle view.

Ice details at Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario

The ice detail images that I created were captured with the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens mounted to a Nikon D800. This is a great b-roll lens that produces razor sharp images, which is quite the opposite to what the so-called internet experts have to say. I will do a thorough review of this lens in the coming weeks.

Ice details at Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario

The timing of this workshop also coincided with the3rd annual Bracebridge Fire & Ice Festival. After supper a couple of us decided to see what Bracebridge Falls looked like all lit up at night and explore the fireworks display that was to occur later that evening.


Bracebridge Falls at Night, Muskoka, Ontario


Bracebridge Fire & Ice, Muskoka, Ontario

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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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I am pleased to announce that after the success of the Lake Traverse 2017 Photographic Workshop in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park there will be a Lake Traverse 2018!

Join me for an exclusive, weekend workshop deep in the heart of Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park on scenic Lake Traverse for an opportunity to create stunning imagery from this remote, pristine landscape. This event will be held on September 14, 15, & 16. Lake Traverse is situated in a remote area of the park and is rich in both history and stunning scenery. To reach this remote location in Algonquin Provincial Park you must enter at the Sand Lake Gate. In the early 1900’s lumber baron J.R. Booth established a private lodge – The Booth Turtle Club on the shores of Lake Traverse. Today remnants of this lodge can be found in the woodlands such as impressive stone fireplaces and a rusted old wreck decaying in the forest. The timing of this event will allow for misty sunrises over Lake Traverse and assuming weather conditions co-operate we are in one of the best locations in all of Ontario to photograph the night sky and possibly the aurora borealis. Furthermore, we are situated a short walking distance from picturesque waterfalls on the Petawawa River.

Our accommodations for this event will be at the very comfortable Algonquin Radio Observatory, located on the shores of Lake Traverse. A tour of the immense satellite has been arranged during the mid-day hours when lighting for photography is generally at its worst. Also available to participants is the use of canoes and kayaks during the mid-day hours to explore the lake on your own.

A quick note about the Algonquin Radio Observatory:

The Algonquin Radio Observatory (ARO) is Canada’s national radio observatory featuring Canada’s premiere Earth station facility. ARO is a division of space technology company Thoth Technology Inc.

Completed and commissioned in the 1965, ARO’s 46m antenna is the largest antenna in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The observatory is situated on a 100 acre wild and breathtakingly beautiful site in the North of Algonquin Provincial Park on Lake Traverse, deep inside the park. The observatory hosts a suite of state-of-the-art scientific equipment including its own atomic clock and still operates with a state-of-the-art technical capability.

ARO is the official ground station for Northern Light, Canada’s mission to Mars.

This workshop will be open to a maximum of 15 participants.

The cost is $525 plus taxes, based on double occupancy (single supplement fee add $40). Payable by cheque or e-mail transfer.

A non-refundable retainer of $250 to secure a space in this workshop is required. Payable by cheque or e-mail transfer. The balance owing will be due by June 1, 2018

Participants with any special dietary needs must communicate them at time of booking so the necessary arrangements can be made to meet your requirements.



Friday September 14:

Meet & Greet Dinner at 6:00 p.m. follow by photographic presentation and a nightscape photo session (assuming weather conditions co-operate)

Saturday September 15:

Morning Photo Session (6am – 10am followed by breakfast, tour of satellite, Petawawa River Session, Rusty Old Wreck Session, Evening Photo Session, Nightscape Session (assuming weather conditions co-operate)

Sunday September 16:

Morning photo session (6am – 10am) followed by breakfast. Checkout is at 11:00 a.m. however, participants are permitted to explore other areas of the park at their leisure for the remainder of the day.

Do Note: Each location we will photograph at is a short walking distance from our home base at the Algonquin Radio Observatory.

What’s Included:

  • In-depth landscape photography instruction by yours truly
  • Lodging at Algonquin Radio Observatory
  • Friday – dinner
  • Saturday – breakfast, lunch, & dinner
  • Sunday – breakfast

What’s not included:

  • Transportation to Algonquin Radio Observatory
  • A 3 day, daily vehicle permit fee must be purchased at the Sand Lake Gate to enter the park (currently $17 per day. This would allow participants to remain in the park until 10:00 pm on Sunday)
  • Snacks
  • Alcholic Beverages

To book and reserve your spot for this exclusive workshop please contact me by clicking here.

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