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Posts Tagged ‘amphibians’

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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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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Ranitomeya reticulata (Iquitos) – captive bred
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec

Over the last several days I have been hard at work doing an edit on my soon to be completed eBook on frog photography. I have also been doing a few edits of recently captured images from the November installment of “Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop,” which was a great success with folks creating many stunning photos of 15 different species of frogs endemic to the Amazon rainforest. It is also important to mention that all of these frogs are captive bred specimens. As of this writing the next frog workshop will likely be held in late February after I have returned from my Cayman Brac 2018 Photo Tour. Folks that are interested in attending this event should reach out to me here to be added to the contact list.

In case folks missed the posts announcing some of my recent workshop additions for 2018 please click on the below workshop titles for more information and how you can get signed up for these events while there is still space available:

Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular

Peru 2018: Landscapes & Micro Fauna of the Cordillera Escalera

Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat

 

Cruziohyla craspedopus – captive bred
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec

During the most recent frog workshop we had fun trying out both white and black backgrounds for creative effect. The Dendrobates tinctorius Matecho worked out quite well on both. This was a large, male specimen of about 2 inches and quite co-operative.

Dendrobates tinctorius (Matecho) – captive bred
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec

 

Dendrobates tinctorius (Matecho) – captive bred
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec

For those that sign up for the first-ever Peru 2018 photo tour you will have the amazing opportunity to photograph dart frogs within their natural habitat, not too mention the incredible landscapes and other micro fauna opportunities. One such specimen we are likely to encounter will be Ranitomeya summersi shown below. Having photographed dart frogs in captivity and in the Amazon rainforest I can honestly say that it is quite a thrill to be able to see them in the wild and to photograph them too.

Ranitomeya summersi – captive bred
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec

A newcomer to the frog workshop this time around was the Dendrobates tinctorius oyapock. In a few weeks I will be doing a private shoot of many new frogs that will be featured in upcoming workshops, including a nice selection of tree frogs. Stay tuned for the new pics soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Ranitomeya tinctorius (Oyapock) – captive bred
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec

 

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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 โ€“ 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.ย  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 โ€“ will be at the Understory Enterprises Field House

Lunches โ€“ at various locations during the tour based on each dayโ€™s travel plans

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

ย 

Whatโ€™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

Whatโ€™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:ย 

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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Ameerega trivittata, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Perhaps the biggest highlight of my recent trip the Cordillera Escalera region of Peru was having the opportunity to photograph several species of dart frogs within their natural habitat. Since dart frogs are a diurnal species, searching for them is made somewhat easier as we are doing so during the light of day. Often we encountered the frogs among the dry leaf litter on the jungle floor where their brilliant coloration really stands out. My go to set-up for photographing the dart frogs in the wild is the same set-up that I use here at home, in the wild or in my Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Workshops – a Nikon D500 with Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens and a Nikon SB400 Speedlight mounted on a Wimberlet F-2 Macro Bracket (the best macro bracket available today). To be more specific regarding my macro lens of choice, I use the Nikkor 105mm f2.8 D Micro Lens originally released in 1990 and now discontinued, but it is still a fantastic lens that focuses down to lifesize which is perfect for these tiny frogs.

The above photo of the Ameerega trivittata represents the largest dart frog we encountered, with this species being approximately one inch in length. The remainder of species encountered were not much larger than a thumbnail. Since the dart frogs are most often encountered on the jungle floor creating pleasing images of them means you to must get down to their level. Lying down among the leaf litter will, 99% of the time, yield the best perspective from which to photograph them.

Please note that I prefer to caption my dart frogs according to their scientific name. Not only is the most accurate means of identification, it is also less confusing as many of these dart frog species can have several common names.

 

Ameerega cainarachi, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

The below Ranitomeya imitator is actually a frog that mimics the coloration of dart frogs. These tiny frogs are completely harmless and incapable of producing toxins, yet their brilliant colors warn potential predators that perhaps they should stay away.

 

Ranitomeya imitator, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

My favorite encounter was with the Ranitomeya summersi we discovered during a grueling 8 kilometer hike through a large, multiple hectare reserve belonging to Understory Enterprises. Without the expertise of Understory Enterprises these dart frog images would have been very difficult to capture.

 

Ranitomeya summersi, Chazuta, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

The below images of Ameerega femorlais and Cryptophyllobates azuriventris were located on a short excursion in the jungle near Pongo, Peru. The Cryptophyllobates azuriventris was a particularly nice find as my guide indicated it was the first time he had found an adult specimen here in about 12 years.

 

Ameerega femoralis, Pongo, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Cryptophyllobates azuriventris, Pongo, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

During one of our night excursions along small streams within the Cordillera Escalera to search for tree frogs and insects we encountered several Hyloxalus nexipus sleeping on narrowed leaved plants over-hanging the streams. To create the below image sitting in the stream to gain the low perspective was required.

 

Hyloxalus nexipus, Tarapoto, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

WORKSHOP UPDATE

A quick update on the Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop – Understory Enterprises and yours truly have added a second date on Sunday November 26 in Mississauga, Ontario and there are only two spaces remaining for this event. We do not use wild caught specimens in these workshops, they are all captive bred here in Ontario at the Understory Enterprises breeding facility. These workshops give folks the incredible opportunity to photograph nature’s most colorful animals in a comfortable setting with natural set-ups. Click here for more information and click here to register yourself for this event.

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Small stream in the Cordillera Escalera, Peru
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 4 seconds

Over the course of the last few days I have been busy optimizing the image files from my trip to the Cordillera Escalera near Tarapoto, Peru. I created and uploaded of a selection of the imagery into a gallery of its own to my website today. Please click here to view the Peru Gallery. The daily temperatures during the trip were around 34 degrees Celsius with humidity around 80%, which in turn gives us a humidex value of close to 52 degrees Celsius. To say it was hot would be an understatement. In fact, I felt very tired for several days after returning from Peru. Although I drank plenty of water, I believed that my electrolytes might be on the low side, therefore a trip to the pharmacy to buy some electrolytes packets was in order and upon drinking the electrolytes I felt 100% better. On my next trip I will be sure to pack electrolyte packets to replenish what is sweated out during the heat of the day.

Tree Frog (Osteocephalus family) in the Cordillera Escalera, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Photographically speaking the main subjects I created images of were landscapes and micro fauna. Above is an image of a tree frog from the Osteocephalus family that was encountered during one of our many night-time excursions. Being able to photograph numerous species of frogs within the Amazon rainforest was a fantastic opportunity, especially the Cochran Frog (Rulyrana saxiscandens) an endangered species with a very limited range within Peru’s Cordillera Escalera. I was also fascinated by a large, old growth tree that I discovered during one of the hikes. This tree had another tree that had set root and grabbed hold of it’s massive trunk some time ago, but what really caught my eye was the plethora of orchid roots that covered virtually every inch of the old growth tree.

Root details in the Cordillera Escalera, Peru
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 85mm
ISO 100
f16 @ 0.8 sec

Please do remember to click on each of the photos to view the larger, sharper versions and enjoy the new website gallery ๐Ÿ™‚

Cochran Frog (Rulyrana saxiscandens),ย  Cordillera Escalera, Peru
Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100
f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

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Ranitomeya flavovittata – captive (Eastern Peru)
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm Micro Lens
f22 @ 1/60 sec (ISO 100)
Nikon SB400 Spedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Today at 1:00 p.m. my excursion to Tarapoto, Peru begins. I will commute to Toronto, Ontario to board the first flight of two flights required to get to my destination. The first flight lands in Lima, Peru at roughly 2:00 a.m. After a 5 hour lay over we will then board the final plane that flies over the Andes and into Tarapoto. The blog will be quiet while I am away, but I will be posting a few cellphone snaps of the trip on my Instagram page as frequently as wifi availability will allow. To follow my Instagram page look me up at @mclachlanwild.

See you all soon ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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