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Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive bred

This just in! The recently announced Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop will now feature three amazing additions to the line-up of incredibly beautiful dart frog specimens. Folks attending the events on February 24th or 25th or both dates will now be photographing Red-eyed Tree Frogs, Brazilian Milk Frogs, and Vietnamese Moss Frogs. The Red-eyed Tree Frogs and Brazilian Milk Frogs will be displayed on both natural branches and Bromeliads in full bloom for an added pop of color and interest. The Vietnamese Moss Frogs will be displayed in such a manner to emphasize their amazing, cryptic coloration that allows them to perfectly camouflage themselves on moss covered rocks and bark, as they do in the wilds of Vietnam. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to photograph these amazing tree frogs. It would cost thousands of dollars to travel to the native habitats of each of these specimens in hopes of capturing a few images. Folks in attendance will easily created hundreds of images at a fraction of that cost.

To register yourself for one or both of the workshop dates please email me by clicking here for enrollment and payment details.

Brazilian Milk Frog – captive bred

 

Vietnamese Moss Frog – captive bred

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive bred

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive bred

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The first Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop for 2018 will be held on the weekend of Saturday February 24th and Sunday February 25th. As many of the folks that have previously attended several of these events know, we always have new species available to photograph. The February dates will be no exception, with some new varieties being featured on each day.  All of the frogs featured in these workshops are captive-bred specimens. Below is the workshop info and details on how to register yourself for the event:

The next Dart Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest Photographic Workshop will be held in Mississauga, Ontario at LifeLike Imaging on:

Saturday, February 24, 2018 10:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m. ($195 + hst)

Sunday February 25, 2018 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. ($195 hst)

The space for each workshop is limited to a maximum of 8 participants to allow ample time for folks to photograph each species of frog.

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 have custom made flash diffusers that will allow folks to capture stunning imagery using camera mounted flash as well.

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!

Cancellation Policy

Full refund 31 days prior to the workshop date

No Refunds 30 days prior to the workshop date

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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 🙂

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 – 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.  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 – will be at the Understory Enterprises Field House

Lunches – at various locations during the tour based on each day’s travel plans

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

 

What’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

What’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: 

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 🙂

Cochran Frog (Rulyrana saxiscandens),  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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