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Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm @ 35 mm, ISO 100, f16 @ 2.5 seconds, Singh - Ray 3 - stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

One of my most favorite trails for landscape photography is the Georgian Bay Rugged Hiking Trail located in the town of Parry Sound, Ontario. The trail head can be found at the salt docks. This is a 5km linear trail that offers stunning scenery with each step forward along the rugged granite coastline. I am currently up on Horseshoe Lake and am planning another hike along the trail this week. The image featured in today’s post was created three weeks ago. The hike was rather difficult as I made my way out to this spot very carefully during a severe flare up of lower back pain – no pain no gain they say 🙂  All I took with me for the hike to ensure the lightest load possible was my tripod, camera body, one lens, and my trusty, never leave home without it, Singh-Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter. Now that my back pain has subsided I am good as new and ready for a longer hike along the trail.

Please do click on the image to see the larger sharper version.

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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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River Detail on the Rosseau River - Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm, ISO 800, f16 @ 30 seconds

River Detail on the Rosseau River – Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm, ISO 800, f16 @ 30 seconds

I created this image during the summer of 2013. I am only getting around to processing it now. I have been very busy these last few months with not a lot of time to get out for fresh photos, but I am looking forward to this season’s fall colors which seem to be shaping up nicely, so far. When I photograph along rivers I always take the time to seek out intimate views of the river’s details. This image was created quite late on the evening of August 20, 2013 on a clear night, hence the blue tones throughout the photo. Some folks tend to dislike these blue tones often referring to them as a color cast. In scenes such as this though, they can actually add more interest to the resulting image. I was particularly drawn to the curvature and subtle reddish tones in the granite here more so than the flowing water, however, the flowing water does add a nice passage of time element.

Please click on the photo to view the larger, sharper version.

 

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Green Frog With Vocal Sac Inflated

Green Frog With Vocal Sac Inflated

By far the most productive nights for photographing frogs and toads tend to be those which are humid, rainy, or drizzly. Above is a recent Green Frog photographed with its vocal sac inflated that was created on a wet evening after the rain stopped. Using a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 105mm Micro lens, I knelt down in the shallow pond with my chest waders on and assumed a low and steady perspective  by resting my elbows on the pond’s substrate. Green Frog’s vocal sacs are only inflated for a brief period while they are making their loose banjo string-like song, but closely watching their movements you can easily learn when to press the shutter to capture a fully inflated vocal sac.

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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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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Agawa River at sunrise_3316Agawa River at Sunrise in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

I arrived home from my jaunt to Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park late Wednesday night. My brother Gregg, founder of WorkCabin, Canada’s largest eco-friendly environmental jobsite, accompanied me on the trip, which brought back memories of how we use to wander off deep into the forest to explore the woodlands around the family cottage near Parry Sound, way back in our early teenage years. On Wednesday morning the alarm clock rang out at 5:00 a.m. and I walked down to the Lake Superior shoreline to assess the skies for any possible sunrise opportunities. I could see some low-level, alto-cumulus clouds forming. These clouds are typically characterized by parallel bands or rounded masses, and when present have the potential to create stunning sunrise imagery. I decided it was best that we head over to the Agawa River to see if we could capture a couple of sunrise images before departing for home. The decision to head to the Agawa River was bang-on as the skies were on fire about half an hour after we arrived on the scene, well prepared for the action. Without a doubt this was the most beautiful sunrise I have ever witnessed. Now, if only a bull Moose could have been standing in the river.

To hold back the intense glow of the sunlit skies I used my Singh Ray 2-stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter on either my Nikon 24-85mm lens or my new favorite lens the Nikon 18-35mm attached to a Nikon D800.

The three images in this post represent the transitions in the sunrise, from it’s most intense glow to the moment the color began to disappear.

Please click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions and let us know which is your favorite of the three.

Agawa River at sunrise_3320Agawa River at Sunrise in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

Agawa River at sunrise_3324Agawa River at Sunrise in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

 

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