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Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 34mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec Handheld

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 34mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec
Handheld from canoe

I spent last week up at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. On the morning of July 17th we were treated to a rather refreshing break from the heatwave we have been enduring with a morning temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. This drop in temperature created the perfect conditions for autumn-like mist to blanket the entire lake. Seeing these conditions I abandoned my plans of heading off in search of a cow Moose and her calf that I had seen the day before in favor of a paddle on the lake. The mist was so thick at times I could barely see the tip of the canoe as I paddled across the lake to a couple of small islands that the sun would soon be rising behind. This was a very special morning whereby the heavy mist conditions persisted for roughly three hours past sunrise, before the sun had rose high enough in the sky to burn off the mist. Best of all I had the entire lake to myself. It was such a tranquil morning to be out on the water enjoying the beauty of the moment and listening to the sounds of nature with no motor boats to rudely disturb the moment.

Each of these images were created handheld while seated in my canoe with various lenses (see captions for details).

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

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 62mm ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 62mm
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Misty sunrise over forest, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/250 sec Handheld from canoe

Misty sunrise over forest, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/250 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise and Island on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec
Handheld from canoe

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Wimberley Sidekick_4769

As a landscape photographer I do not really have a need for a full gimbal style tripod head, however, on more than one occasion I do recall wishing for such functionality in a tripod head with some of the wildlife encounters I stumble upon while shooting landscape imagery. Enter the Wimberley Sidekick. The Sidekick is designed to convert any ball head into a gimbal-style tripod head in seconds and is available from Wimberley. The Sidekick is light weight at 1.3 lbs and can easily fit into a gear bag or the large pockets of cargo-style pants (as I do with my Sidekick). I find the Sidekick to be particularly useful when I am using my Nikon 200-500mm lens. It would also be highly useful for other folks that are using other super-zooms such as the Sigma 150-600mm lenses or the Tamron 150-600mm lens. Although super-zooms are designed to be relatively light weight they do still weigh in at 5-7 lbs (when handholding this gets heavy and can cause arm strain after awhile, especially if you suffer from tennis elbow), by adding a Sidekick to a ballhead the strain of supporting the gear is completely eliminated and you can effortlessly track and photograph you wildlife subjects.

Wimberley Sidekick attached to ballhead with Nikon 200-500mm lens mounted on a Nikon D800

Wimberley Sidekick attached to ballhead with Nikon 200-500mm lens mounted on a Nikon D800

When fitting a super-zoom set-up to the Wimberley Sidekick you will need to slide the lens’ tripod foot in the Sidekick’s quick release mechanism to find the optimum balance for the gear depending on what focal length you have the lens zoomed too. To effectively balance your rig you may need to purchase a long lens plate such as those available from Wimberley here. I am typically using the lens at it’s 500mm focal length for the wildlife subjects I am photographing, so balancing the set-up is usually required once and then I am good to go. To use this set-up you must flop the ballhead into the vertical position and then insert the Sidekick and lock the ballhead’s quick release mechanism. Position the lens and camera in the Sidekick’s quick release mechanism, balance the set-up and lock down the quick release mechanism. Once proper balance is set you can loosen the ballhead’s panning knob and the Sidekick’s five-lobed soft touch knob. You should now be able to freely and effortlessly move the gear around, in all directions, without fear of the lens flopping up or down because it is perfectly balance within the gimbal style set-up.

The convenience of this small, light weight accessory to convert my ballhead into a gimbal type tripod head is a huge advantage for me in the field. I never leave home or head down a trail without it. I can make the switch from photographing landscapes to wildlife in seconds, which can often translate into getting the shot or missing the shot.

Below are a few images that I have created over the last several months of using the Wimberley Sidekick with my Nikon 200-500mm lens:

Do click on each image to view the sharper, larger versions.

My dog Koko.  She is often my guinea pig for new photo gear when the need arises.

My dog Koko.
She is often my guinea pig for new photo gear when the need arises.

 

Common Loons at Tiny Marsh Elmvale, Ontario, Canada

Common Loons at Tiny Marsh
Elmvale, Ontario, Canada

 

Blue Jay Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, CAnada.

Blue Jay
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

 

Gray Jay Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Gray Jay
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Pine Marten Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Pine Marten
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter Thornton, Ontario, Canada

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter
Thornton, Ontario, Canada

 

Red Squirrel Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Red Squirrel
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Common Loon Horseshoe Lake, Ontario, Canada

Common Loon
Horseshoe Lake, Ontario, Canada

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Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 50, f16 @ 3 seconds Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 50, f16 @ 3 seconds
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

It has been roughly 10 years since my last trip to Ontario’s stunning Bruce Peninsula National Park. Last week I made a much needed return trip to to the park and spent several days exploring familiar locations within the park as well as discovering some new sections too. From the endless cobblestone beach at Halfway Log Dump, to the iconic view of Georgian Bay from atop Halfway Rock Point, to sunsets in the town of Tobermory, to finding new perspectives from which to photograph the extremely popular Indian Head Cove, this post highlights some initial edits of my favorite images from the trip. As you read the captions you will notice that I opted to use my Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter for the sunrise and sunset images. I never leave home with this filter as it is the one piece of gear I consider critical to creating my sunrise and sunset imagery. You will also notice that I chose to use long shutter speeds for the sunrise and sunset scenes as this will cause the water to blur to a smooth, glass-like surface that will not distract the viewer or compete for attention within the image.

A few of the images within this post were created with the Sigma 12-24mm Lens, which I rented specifically for use during this trip. The stunning shoreline along Georgian Bay within the park begs for extreme wide-angle lenses to be used. I will do a review of the Sigma 12-24mm lens at a later date as time permits.

Please do click on the images to view the larger, sharper versions.

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/6 sec Nikon Polarizing Filter

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/6 sec
Nikon Polarizing Filter

 

Sunrise on Georgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 seconds Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Sunrise on Georgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 seconds
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/5 sec

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/5 sec

 

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens

 

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

Intimate View of Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

 

Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 0.4 sec. Nikon Polarizing Filter

Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 0.4 sec.
Nikon Polarizing Filter

 

Indian Head Cove details, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

Indian Head Cove details, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

 

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds. Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter In-Camera HDR

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds.
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
This image utilized In-Camera HDR feature on the Nikon D800

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

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

Since my last Frogs of the World workshop I have been extremely busy with print sales and submissions to clients, but did want to take the time to share a few more images from the previous workshop. After the frog portion of the workshop is completed participants receive free admission to the Reptilia Zoo where we can photograph many different species of snakes and lizards. I am partial to the snakes, especially the large constrictors and the venomous species. Here are a few of my favorite snake photos from the last workshop.

On another note, my native frog photography has been put on hold for the last week or so due to unseasonably cold evenings. When the temperatures dip too cold at night the frogs go silent. However, this coming weekend I hear that the temperatures are on the rise so I will be visiting my favorite woodland pond in the Parry Sound region in between the various chores that go along with opening up the cottage on Horseshoe Lake for the coming season. I am also hoping to have a productive weekend photographing Common Loons on the lake. Stay tuned:)

Please do click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

White-lipped Viper Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens with Canon 500D Close-up Filter ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec. Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

White-lipped Viper
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens with Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

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Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive

 

The second installment of my Frogs of the World Workshop was held on Saturday April 30th and was quite successful. The participants had a great time capturing some amazing imagery of the frogs that were featured this time around. In a future post I will share some of the photos created my the participants of this workshop. The species that were featured for this workshop included:

  • Red-eyed Tree Frog (native to Central America)
  • Tomato Frog (native to Madagascar)
  • Green Tree Frog (native to the southern USA)
  • Vietnamese Moss Frog (native to Vietnam)
  • Fire Belly Toad (native to Asia)

A small assortment of tropical plants, and a custom designed mini-pond provided the settings for natural-looking photos in the controlled environment. Here are a few of the images I created during the workshop. Each image was captured using the Nikon D800 with a Nikon 105mm Micro lens and the discontinued Nikon SB400 Speedlight attached to a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket. The exposure setting was ISO 100 with an aperture of f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Do remember to click on each image to see the larger, sharper version. Which is your favorite?

Tomato Frog - captive

Tomato Frog – captive

 

Vietnamese Moss Frog - captive

Vietnamese Moss Frog – captive

 

Green Tree Frog - captive

Green Tree Frog – captive

 

Fire Belly Toad - captive

Fire Belly Toad – captive

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive

 

Tomato Frog - captive

Tomato Frog – captive

 

Green Tree Frog - captive

Green Tree Frog – captive

 

Vietnamese Moss Frog - capitve

Vietnamese Moss Frog – capitve

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Spring Peeper Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Flash Bracket

Spring Peeper
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Flash Bracket

 

About one and a half weeks ago the temperatures around my home warmed up enough to lure the first frogs out of hibernation and into the vernal ponds to chorus. As usual I grabbed my chest waders and jumped into the pond. The first frogs to emerge around my home are the Chorus Frogs, Spring Peeper, and Wood Frog. I had great success with each of these species, including an interesting encounter whereby two male Wood Frogs had mistaken a pair of Spring Peepers, in amplexus, as potential mates. I was also able to locate my first ever pair of Chorus Frogs in amplexus. A couple of nights ago the temperatures rose high enough to bring out the Northern Leopard Frogs (I was able to photograph an awesome grayish-brown phase specimen), which filled the night air with their guttural snore-like song. The American Toads have also emerged, but have yet to start singing. With the next several nights destined to be cooler than normal, with the risk of snow flurries, the ponds will go silent again until things warm up again. Here are a few of my newest images from my outings to the vernal ponds this season.

You may notice in some of these images that my ISO was set at 400. This was my bad as my default setting is always ISO 100 for such imagery. This is a reminder to me to remember to double check my camera settings each time I head out to the ponds. The iTTL flash ensured correct flash exposure even though I forgot to reduce the ISO from 400 down to 100.

Chorus Frogs in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec  Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Chorus Frogs in Amplexus
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

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

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

 

Wood Frogs grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frogs Grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Wood Frogs grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micor Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec. Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frogs Grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus (the second Wood Frog and Spring Peeper are beneath the water in this capture)
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

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

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

 

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

Northern Leopard Frog
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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Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps), Captive ©Don Johnston

Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) – Captive
©Don Johnston

In this post I want to feature some of the images created by two of the clients that attended my first Frogs of the World Workshop on March 5th. It was a pleasure to meet Don Johnston and Keith Carroll, and both created some very lovely images. Keith and Don had great success using off-camera flash and their 100mm Macro lenses during the frog portion of the workshop and Don used his Nikon 200mm Micro lens and off-camera flash to photograph some very impressive reptile images in the Reptilia Zoo. Don Johnston came up with an interesting idea and subsequent effect during the workshop by using a small plant mister to create a rainfall effect, and in his Red-eyed Tree Frog image the frog seems to be quite enjoying the little shower:)

For folks that may be interested, I am hosting my second Frogs of the World Workshop on April 30th. More information about that workshop can be found here. There are still some spaces available, but they are going quickly. Please contact me at info@andrewmclachlan.ca if you are ready to sign up for the workshop.

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version and please let Don and Keith know which of their images are your favorites:)

 

Red-eyed Tree Frogs ©Keith Carroll

Red-eyed Tree Frogs – Captive
©Keith Carroll

 

American alligator (Alligator mississipiensis), Captive ©Don Johnston

American alligator (Alligator mississipiensis) – Captive
©Don Johnston

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog ©Keith Carroll

Red-eyed Tree Frog – Captive
©Keith Carroll

 

Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis, Captive ©Don Johnston

Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis) – Captive
©Don Johnston

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), Captive ©Don Johnston

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas) – Captive
©Don Johnston

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