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Posts Tagged ‘frogs’

Red-eyed Tree Frogs Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Red-eyed Tree Frogs
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

For those that may have missed the early posting regarding my first-ever Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop to be held on Saturday March 5th at 8:00 a.m. please click HERE for more information. We still have a few spaces available for this controlled session with captive frogs that are endemic to Madacasgar, Vietnam, South America, Costa Rica, and Australia. After we have completed our 2 hour session with the frogs we will be able to photograph some beautiful reptiles, including some highly venomous snakes through the safety of their enclosures :)

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

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

 

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

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

 

Green Mamba Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 111, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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Frogs of the World Workshop

Today I am pleased to announce my first-ever, captive frog photography workshop. We will meet on Saturday March 5th 2016 at 8:00 a.m. at Reptilia in Vaughan, Ontario where we will spend the next two hours photographing Tomato Frog (Madagascar), Vietnamese Moss Frog (Vietnam), Red-eyed Tree Frog (Costa Rica), Budgett’s Frog (South America), and White’s Tree Frog (Australia). After we have completed the two hour frog session, as an added bonus, we will be permitted to enter the Reptilia Zoo to photograph a wide assortment of venomous and non-venomous reptiles, in their enclosures, for the remainder of the day. The use of flash is permitted and it is highly recommend that folks use an off-camera, macro flash set-up for photographing the frogs. Some of the species tend to be quite active, making the use of a tripod virtually impossible. I do recommend a tripod and flash for the various opportunities that will present themselves in the zoo afterwards.

The cost of this workshop is $85.00 and payment can be made via email transfer or cheque made payable to “Andrew McLachlan” Space will be limited to 10 participants. Please contact me at info@andrewmclachlan.ca for further information and for sending either the email transfer or cheque as payment. Once participants have signed up and paid I will forward driving directions to Reptilia as well as other information that you may find useful to be prepared for an exciting day of amphibians and reptiles.

Hope to see you there :)

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Red-Eyed Tree Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Flash Bracket

Red-Eyed Tree Frog walking along branch- captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Flash Bracket

I often receive kind words from the folks that follow my Instagram feed (@mclachlanwild), Facebook page, and here on the blog regarding my frog photography. It is these kind words that keep me inspired to keep creating and trying out new ideas with my frog imagery. About a week and a half ago I booked a controlled photo shoot with various, captive, tropical frog species.  This photo shoot was planned for two main reasons with the first being to add some very cool frogs to my image library, and secondly to see if such a set-up could work for frog photography workshops. I am pleased to announce that I will indeed be organizing frog workshops, under controlled conditions, with several captive frog species. Please do stay tuned as I will announce the details soon. This blog post is just a taste of the kind of imagery that will be created during the workshops. I created no less than 500 images during the session and still have numerous images to optimize. While I do enjoy wading through wetlands and laying in the muck to capture the various frogs of the Great Lakes Region, it is a nice change of pace to create imagery of these beautiful tropical frogs species under controlled conditions whereby you will stay clean, warm, and dry :) Please feel free to shoot me an email at info@andrewmclachlan.ca if you are interested in this upcoming workshop and I will be sure to add you to the contact list.

The frogs species that I photograph during this controlled shoot were:

  • Red-Eyed Tree Frog – endemic to Costa Rica
  • Budgett’s Frog (also known as Paraguay Horned Frog) – South America
  • White’s Tree Frog – endemic to Australia
  • Vietnamese Moss Frog – endemic to Vietnam
  • Tomato Frog – endemic to Madagascar

My favorite frogs to photograph during this controlled shoot were the highly aquatic Budgett’s Frog, which is a voracious predator quite capable of devouring prey as large as mice, and secondly the Vietnamese Moss Frog. Moss Frogs have amazing coloration and skin textures, which allow them to blend into their native habitat along river banks in Vietnam.

Here is a selection of the various species that were photographed during this session. Each of these species will most likely be featured in the first workshop. Also note that each of these images was created using a handheld rig with a small Nikon SB400 Speedlight (now discontinued) on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Please do remember to click on each of the images to view the sharper, larger version :)

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

White’s Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

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

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

 

Budgett's Frog on land - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Macro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley Macro Bracket

Budgett’s Frog on land – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Macro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Vietnamese Moss Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon q05mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely Macro Bracket

Vietnamese Moss Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely Macro Bracket

 

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

Vietnamese Moss Frog abstract – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

White's Tree Frog - captive Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely Macro Bracket

White’s Tree Frog – captive
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

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American Toad (Bufo americanus) Artistic Rendering Using Topaz Glow

American Toad (Bufo americanus)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Glow Wire Preset

I have been very busy over the last few weeks with print sales, writing projects, and household renovations. Each of the images in this post have had an artistic rendering applied to them by using the Photoshop plug-in Glow by Topaz Labs. To check out various examples of what this great plug-in is capable of doing please have a look at the Topaz website by clicking here. I was very hesitant to give Topaz Glow a try when it was first released several months ago because I was so accustomed to using the Fractalius plug-in available from Redfield Plugins, however, with the release of the newest version of Fractalius I was very disappointed and found it virtually impossible to create my most favorite frog fracts that I used to do. With Topaz Glow I feel that my artistic frog imagery has been given new life and that I am able to create effects that I was never able to create with the Fractalius software. I was able to create a couple of nice custom settings with the new version of Fractalius, but do feel that I will revert to my older versions for my most favorite custom presets that were featured in the eBook Fractastic, which I co-wrote with the very talented Denise Ippolito.

Please click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version and let me know what you think of these Topaz Glow amphibian creations :)

American Toad (Bufo americanus) Topaz Glow Fur & Feathers II Preset

American Toad (Bufo americanus)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Fur & Feathers II Preset

 

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Topaz Labs Glow - Heavy Metal Preset

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Heavy Metal Preset

 

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)  Topaz Labs Glow - Fur & Feathers II Preset

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Fur & Feathers II Preset

 

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Topaz Labs Glow - Glow Wire Preset

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
Artistic Rendering using Topaz Labs Glow – Glow Wire Preset

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American Toad (male) chorusing in wetland at night. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Handheld

American Toad (male) chorusing in wetland at night.
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Handheld

It has been quite some time since I have played around with the Photoshop Plug-in Fractalius. On October 15th a new version of Fractalius was released (Version 2.51) and I decided I would upgrade to this version and give it a try. I have always loved using the previous versions of Fractalius to created artistic renderings of my frog and toad imagery, so it was only natural that I select such an image to experiment with this latest version. Above is an image of a male American Toad (Bufo americanus) with it’s vocal sac fully inflated while chorusing in a wetland at night during last spring’s breeding season. Below is the same toad image as it appearred in the Fractalius software interface page. Please note the slider settings if you wish to try such an effect out on one of your own images. Once I was happy with my slider adjustment settings I saved these settings as a custom preset, calling it “Glow Wire For Frogs,” so that I can recall the same settings for any future images that I wish to apply a similar effect too.

Fractalius Version 2.51 Interface

Fractalius Version 2.51 Interface

And below you will see the final version of the Fractalius rendering on the American Toad image. If you look closely you wil notice that I have erased the effect of the Fractalius filter from the toad’s eyeball, allowing the natural eye to be visible.

American Toad With Fractalius Rendering Applied

American Toad With Fractalius Rendering Applied

 

While this effect may not be everybody’s cup of tea, it can be fun to play around and experiment with various effects and ideas. What do you think of this American Toad rendering?

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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

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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.

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