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Posts Tagged ‘Horseshoe Lake’

Bullfrog_1116

Bullfrog in Wetland – Nikon D800 & Nikon 18-35mm

This past summer I created numerous frog-scape photographs using either the new AFS Nikkor 18-35mm f3.5-4.5G ED Lens or the Sigma f2.8 EX DG 15mm Fish-eye Lens. Nikon’s new 18-35mm lens allows a close focusing of 12 inches while the Sigma Fish-eye focuses down to 5.9 inches, which is almost a full 4 inches closer than that of Nikon’s 16mm fish-eye lens (being able to focus closer with the Sigma lens is a huge advantage). The main difference between using the fish-eye lens versus using the wide angle zoom for frog-scapes is that the fish-eye lens will distort the horizon line giving it a rounded appearance, while the wide angle zoom will keep the horizons straight. I like both perspective equally so I will often change lenses to create two variations, especially when the subjects are being co-operative.

As you scroll through my favorite frog-scapes created last summer at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario, do note the captions that indicate which lens was used to create each of the images.

Please click on each image to see the larger, sharper versions and please take a moment to let me know which ones are your favorites.

Bullfrog in Wetland - Nikon D800 & Sigma f2.8 EX DG 15mm Fish-eye Lens

Bullfrog in Wetland – Nikon D800 & Sigma 15mm Fish-eye

Bullfrog in Wetland - Nikon D800 & Nikon 18-35mm

Bullfrog in Wetland – Nikon D800 & Nikon 18-35mm

Bullfrog in Wetland - Nikon D800 & Sigma 15mm Fish-eye

Bullfrog in Wetland – Nikon D800 & Sigma 15mm Fish-eye

Bullfrog in Wetland - Nikon D800 & Sigma 15mm Fish-eye

Bullfrog in Wetland – Nikon D800 & Sigma 15mm Fish-eye

Bullfrog in Wetland - Nikon D800 & Sigma 15mm Fish-eye

Bullfrog in Wetland – Nikon D800 & Sigma 15mm Fish-eye

 

 

 

 

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Bullfrog_1431

Male Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Technical Specs:
ISO 6400
f22 @ 1/40 second
Live View
Hand-Held

The last couple of weeks have been rather hectic, after returning from the cottage on Horseshoe Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound Region I was only home for a couple of days prior to heading back to the cottage. During my first of the two stays I spent several nights working with the Bullfrogs. By the time I had noticed this fella with his head lifted nicely out of the water it was already getting quite dark out, as can be seen by the late setting sun reflecting in the frog’s right eye. I could have easily given up and called it a night, but if you don’t push yourself or the limits of your gear you will not know what is achievable down the road. It is very important for photographers to get to know both their limits and those of their equipment.

To create the above portrait of this male American Bullfrog I positioned my canoe in front of him and then sat in the bottom of the canoe for increased stability. Then utilizing the Live View feature of my D800, a bubble-level in the hot-shoe and a Nikon 105mm Micro Lens I framed the image. To capture the low perspective the camera and lens were hand-held at the water’s surface. In fact, both the lens hood and quick release plate were getting wet. As night was quickly falling upon the frog and I an ISO of 6400 was dialed in, which gave me 1/40 seconds at f22. The small aperture was necessary to maximize the depth of field at this close range. The canoe was sitting relatively stable due to very shallow water conditions at this location within the marsh and prior to pressing the shutter I took a breath then I clicked the shutter while holding the breath. This technique will help keep your body relatively still for slower than desired exposures, producing a better percentage of keepers.

When viewing the above image on my computer after I arrived home, I was quite impressed with the low-level of noise present at such a high ISO. It is critical to maintain proper exposure by remembering to expose to the right (ETTR). If you have to brighten a poorly exposed frame you will surely introduce noise into the image. In Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) I did perform a tiny bit of noise reduction and later in Photoshop I removed several dust bunnies :) Otherwise this is how the image appeared on the LCD screen in the marsh.

After I created several frames of this fella he lunged forward and gobbled up a smaller frog that I had not noticed, in one quick motion. Bullfrogs are notorious for their canabalistic tendencies.

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version and the D800 quality at high ISOs.

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Image Copyright: Andrew Mclachlan

I am currently hanging out at the cottage with a bad back and the Cartoon Camera Pro app for android phones. The back flared up a couples of days ago and is just now starting to feel a little better. While I was resting the back I was playing around with the Colored Edges preset in Cartoon Camera Pro with a few cottage scenes. Above is the front door of the cottage and below is a scene from the living room.

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Image Copyright: Andrew McLachlan

And below is a scene from looking out from the dock. The Colored Edges preset had a very interesting effect on the clouds.

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Image Copyright: Andrew McLachlan

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Bullfrog_8692

One of my main reasons for wanting to try the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens, which was on loan from Gentec International, the Canadian distributor for Sigma lenses, was for photographing Bullfrogs in the wetland on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. When my parents bought our family’s cottage over 30 years ago there were great numbers of Bullfrogs to be found and their signature jug-o-rum chorusing would echo through the night air. Today all but a few individuals can be heard singing at night and locating them can be a chore some days. Fortunately, there is one very reliable fella that always hangs out in the vicinity of a very tiny island, covered with sedges and shrubs, within the wetland. I have had the pleasure of photographing this individual for over and over. For exactly how long I am unsure, but I would guess at least three years. I can often place my hand underneath him and he will crawl aboard and allow me to pose him. Do note that amphibians should NEVER be handled if you have insect repellent or sunscreen on your hands – it is deadly to them.

Each of these frog-scapes were photographed handheld, selecting the Live View function on my Nikon D800, auto-focus and a double bubble level in the hot shoe to make sure the froggies were sitting square with the world in the photos. This is the easiest way I know of to capture such images from the dry comfort of a canoe. Often my hands are submerged in order to hold the camera just millimeters above the water’s surface. I found over-cast conditions to be more favorable as with the extreme wide angle view of this lens it was easy to accidentally see my shadow or that of the camera and lens within the frame under sunny conditions. Also if the camera and lens is held above and over the frogs it is easy to get the camera and lens reflecting in the water in front of the subject, but by hand-holding the rig just above the water this problem is eliminated. A slight downward pointed fisheye lens will create the rounded prespective that works beautifully to show the frog’s within their world. And since the world is round, this is a pleasing perspective :)

Below are some of my favorite frog-scapes photographed while using the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye lens.

Please remember to click on the photos to see the larger, sharper versions and let us know which is your favorite and why.

Bullfrog_9252

Bullfrog_8817

Bullfrog_9267

Bullfrog_9277

Bullfrog_8684

Bullfrog_8806

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Bullfrog_0578

Bullfrog in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

For those folks who have been following the blog for some time now you may recall my review of Sigma’s 8-16mm ultra-wide angle zoom lens. For those who are new to the blog and for those who might like to read the review of this great lens again please click here for the complete article with loads of accompanying images photographed with the lens.

In the April issue of Canadian Geographic Magazine the above photo has been used as a double-page spread for the beginning of the article ‘A Frog for the Killing‘ found on pages 46 & 47. Bullfrogs are an invasive species in British Columbia and are a very serious threat to the ecosystem in that province and must be eradicated. The frogs are not to blame – we are! Bullfrogs have actually invaded at least 15 countries as a result of importing them for the farming of frogs legs. Bullfrogs are known carriers of the deadly chytrid fungus which has decimated frog populations throughout the globe. To better understand just how this deadly fungus is affecting frog populations I urge you to please click this link.

The use of the image above as a double-page spread is a testament to the image quality that one can achieve with this amazing lens. I have primarily used the lens for bullfrog images in the wetlands of Horseshoe Lake, located near Parry Sound, Ontario. And because the lens focuses very close I am able to fill a large portion of the foreground with the frog while maintaining the vast expanse of their wetland homes.  I have also used this lens with great success in my waterfall photography as well. If I had to describe this lens in three words I would have to say it is a “ton of fun” to use.

The Canadian distributor for Sigma lenses in Canada is Gentec International. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Gentec International for loaning me this lens to create specific photographs that will be featured in my eBook on Frog Photography, which is in the writing stage and will be an extensive guide to creating stunning images of these amazing amphibians.

Please do remember to click on the above image to view the larger, sharper version.

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Bullfrog in wetland_1503

Male Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Looking back over the past year I realized I probably photographed a little bit more wildlife than landscapes, which is some what different for me. Mostly I was photographing frogs and toads for various chapters in the frog book that I am currently writing. As a result it is easy to see why my top 12 images from 2012 contains a few frog photos :)

Here is a selection of a few of my favorite images created in 2012.

Tiny Marsh_9697

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, Ontario

Massassauga Rattlesnake_1773

Eastern Massassauga Rattlesnake, Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

Rosseau River_734

Rosseau River at Lower Rosseau Falls, Ontario

Bullfrog_juvenile_1695

Over-under juvenile Bullfrog

Sandpiper_2172-1

Willet on Liebeck Lake, Ontario

Horseshoe Lake Sunset_2213

Horseshoe Lake wetland at sunset, Ontario

Common Loon (Gavia immer) with chick on Horseshoe Lake

Common Loon with chick on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Zimmerman's Poison Frog (Ranitomeya variabilis)_2921-1

Zimmerman’s Poison Frog

Beaver Pond_Algonquin_3429

Beaver Pond, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Horseshoe Lake_2459

View from the dock at sunset, Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

White-breasted Nuthatch_4543

White-breasted Nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch image above represents the last photograph captured for 2012. It was visiting my suet feeder set-up frequently yesterday while I was out in the blind for another round of winter songbird photography.

Wishing everybody all the best in 2013.

Happy New Year!!!

Please remember to click on each of the photos to see the larger sharper version.

See ya soon!

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Horseshoe Lake at sunset

 

I have been busy catching up on my processing of images captured throughout the summer and thought I would share a collection of sunsets from Horseshoe Lake. The above image was created after an evening session of photographing Bullfrogs at dusk. While I was packing away my gear to begin canoeing back to the cottage I turned around to notice this impressive sunset and cloud formation in the sky. Since I was in the canoe and my tripod was back at the cottage I cranked up the ISO to 800, activated the Virtual Horizon feature on the Nikon D800 and fired away. With no grad filters on hand I exposed for the highlights and later in photoshop revealed a touch of detail from the shadows.

The two images below were photographed one after the other. Since the colours were somewhat lacking on this night I chose to use a Cokin Blue/Yellow Polarizer on the first image to add some colour to the scene. The final image portrays the natural colours as they were that night. Please do take a moment to indicate which of the two scenes is your favorite and why.

Remember to click on the photos to see the larger, sharper version of each.

Horseshoe Lake with Cokin Blue/Yellow Polarizer

Horseshoe Lake un-filtered

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I don’t photograph near as many outdoor lifestyle images as I would like to. This is probably due to the very fact that I tend to arrive at my chosen destinations during inclement weather, while most folks are still tucked in their beds, after peak summer vacation periods when the human presence is almost non-existent, or folks are not wearing clothing with eye-catching colour. On a few occasions I will wear some colourful clothing such as a red t-shirt or jacket while out in the field, so that when I come across a scene that would simply work more effectively with a human being within the photo I can set the self-timer feature on my camera and jump into the photo.

On a recent weekend getaway to the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario while I was sitting down to breakfast with my daughter, my brother Gregg McLachlan, the founder of WorkCabin, Canada’s  Environmental Jobsite was preparing to go for a morning paddle in his kayak. I knew immediately that his yellow kayak and red life-jacket would look stunning against the blues and greens from the sky and forest reflecting in the water’s of the lake. As I carefully framed each of the photos so not to clip Gregg’s reflection, I pressed the shutter for a series of images only when the kayak paddle was approaching the position that I favoured. I was then able to select the photos with just the right position or angle that the kayak paddle was being held. Here are three of my favourite images of Gregg kayaking on the water’s of Horseshoe Lake.

Do remember to click on each photo to see the larger, sharper version. Also note that I have now added a clickable photo in the sidebar to link you directly to Denise Ippolito’s ‘Creative Photography eMini Magazine’ which is a free to subscribe to magazine that is loaded with great info.

 

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I have just return from several days up near Parry Sound, Ontario at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake where I spent much of time getting to know my new Nikon D800 and swimming in the lake with my daughter, who is now able, with floaties, to swim quite some distance out from the dock.

I will do a more in-depth look at the D800 in a future post, but first wanted to share these images of the Common Loon family that reside in our bay on the lake. They have two chicks and both seem to be doing very well, diving on their own and both have very healthy appetites. Last year one chick had perished but hopefully this year’s brood will survive. The first two images in this post were photographed from the canoe, using the handheld Nikon 80-400mm VR lens with an ISO setting of 800 and the last image was captured with an ISO setting of 1250. I did not need any additional focal length to create images of these loons on this particular day, but when I did need extra focal length I could easily select the 1.5 crop mode on the D800 and immediately convert the 80-400mm lens to a 120-600mm lens.

Please remember to click on each photo to view a much larger version.

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Female Wild Turkey on nest

I have spent the last several days up in Ontario’s Muskoka region opening up the family cottage. Aside from the regular chores of opening weekend, I made time for visits to my favorite frog pond in the forest to photograph chorusing Grays Treefrogs, take my daughter in the canoe to a nearby wetland to see what was new in there this spring, my daughter also decided that it was a perfect day for swimming, jumping off the dock, and practicing her doggy paddle in the frigid water, and of course take my dog for several long walks. It was during one of these walks on Friday afternoon that something caught my eye at the base of a massive, rocky outcrop near the entrance to our cottage lot. Something looked different, not quite right, and certainly out-of-place as I remembered it. And then as my eyes adjusted to what I was seeing before me, I made out a female Wild Turkey sitting among the leaf litter. She was not at all alarmed to see me and my dog walk past her at only a distance of about 15 feet. My dog was oblivious to her on the ground and I figured that the turkey was probably quite comfortable with how well concealed she was on the forest floor. I concluded that she was probably sitting on a clutch of eggs. What surprised me most was that every time I passed by her over the course of several days, during the dog walks, she was always in the exact same position on the nest. I have explored the woodlands in this region for over 30 years and not once have I ever seen a Wild Turkey in the vicinity of the cottage and today there is one nesting right on our lot. Nature never ceases to amaze me, but I do wish this turkey had selected a more photogenic location for nesting :).

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