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


Sunrise over Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario


Shortly after Google announced that they will be ending support the Nik Collection, Macphun announced that they will be releasing a Windows version of Luminar. I took the time to try out the beta version of Luminar and do initially like what it has to offer. The software interface is very user friendly and some of the presets seems to be a little over the top for my tastes, others are quite functional, yielding natural looking results. It is important to keep in mind that this is a beta version and the official release of the program later this fall will have many more features available. In my opinion it will be a very viable option for folks that relied on the Nik Collection as a standard part of their workflow.

Here are a few older images that I have tweaked using the beta version of Luminar.

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



Oxtongue River, Ontario


Lower Rosseau Falls, Ontario


Pre-dawn on Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario


Rusty Old Wreck, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario


Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario


Sunset on Georgian Bay, Ontario


Oxtongue River, Ontario


Gargantua Harbour, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario





Lake Superior offers photographers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery that Ontario has to offer. Join Andrew McLachlan from October 19th to 22nd and immerse yourself in a photographic retreat capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline and area waterfalls during the Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat. Experience sensational sunsets over Lake Superior, ragging waterfalls, and crashing waves. This photographic retreat has been timed to coincide with the onset of Lake Superior’s storm season, which should mean massive waves crashing into the rugged coastline of the greatest of the Great Lakes. In addition this event as been timed at the start of a new moon cycle that will allow for impressive opportunities to photograph the night sky and possibly the Aurora Borealis, given the right weather conditions to permit clear skies. I am well travelled along Lake Superior’s coast and have selected various locations that will enable participants to create stunning imagery accompanied by in-depth, personal, in-the-field, photographic instruction that will aid you on all your future photographic endeavours. There will be no set itinerary for this photography retreat as we will make daily decisions based on the current weather conditions to maximize our photographic opportunities.

This will photography retreat is open to a maximum of 8 participants.

The cost of this event is $625 + HST based on double occupancy (Single Supplement Fee is an additional $120)

What’s Included:

  • 3 Nights Accommodation at the Wawa Motor Inn (Check-in on the 19th at 4:00 p.m. / Check-out on the 22nd at 11:00 a.m.)
  • In-room coffee
  • High-Speed Wireless Internet (poor weather conditions may affect quality)
  • Continental Breakfast (October 20, 21, & 22)
  • Box Lunch (October 20 & 21)
  • Meet and greet dinner on October 19th at 6:00 p.m.
  • Dinner (October 20 & 21)


What’s Not Included:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Snacks
  • Transportation (participants are encouraged to carpool from the Wawa Motor Inn to our daily destinations)


To secure your spot in Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat your payment, in full, is due now. Payments can be made via email transfer or by cheque made payable to Andrew McLachlan. To book and reserve your spot please email me by clicking here.


Cancellation Policy:

No refunds after September 18, 2017.


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!

Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec


Earlier this month while relaxing by the water of Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario I took notice of the patterns created by the gentle, undulating surface of the lake. The weather conditions at the time was mostly sunny with numerous puffy white, cotton clouds in the sky. In the sections of water that were cast in shade, the reflected sky and clouds were creating ever-changing patterns of white and blue. Using my Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens I zoomed in on different sections of the water to record several images of these patterns as they evolved. I found it best to set the Nikon D500 to record the images at 10 frames per second so I would not miss any of the subtle changes in the patterns. After creating a rather ridiculous number of these images I narrowed down the keepers to these three images. Each of the images in this post are straight out of the camera with only minor adjustments to contrast and some cloning of debris floating on the surface of the water.

Please do remember to click on the photos to see the larger versions.


Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 200mm (35 Equivalent = 300mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec


Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

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.



On The Cover

Summer 2017 Issue of ON Nature Magazine

The Summer 2017 issue of On Nature Magazine has hit the newstand. On the cover of this issue is a starry nightscape created by yours truly. I created this image from the deck of my cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario with a Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens mounted to a Nikon D800 and pointed it straight up at the sky. The wide angle view of the fisheye lens also caught the tree tops as they were silhouetted against the dark starry sky.

Ontario Nature (formerly known as The Federation of Ontario Naturalists) dates back to 1931. They are dedicated to protecting our natural places through conservation and education. To find out more about Ontario Nature and how you too can get involved please click here .

Please click on the photo to see the larger version.

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about a nightscape workshop in one of Ontario’s absolute best locations for viewing the night sky.

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