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Posts Tagged ‘reptiles’

Juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens at 500mm (35mm equivalent = 750mm)
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/250 sec
B&W Polarizing Filter

Try as I may I have yet to find any Bullfrogs within the wetland at my cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. To date I have heard all but one male Bullfrog chorusing so far this season but locating him is another matter altogether. I believe the difficulty in finding the Bullfrogs may have something to do with the very cool and late start of the growing season as the waterlilies are well behind schedule in terms of water surface coverage and blooming. The lake level is also considerably higher this year, by as much as one foot. It is possible that the Bullfrogs are seeking refuge in the dense thickets of leatherleaf that surround the wetland edges and will emerge out into the more open areas of the wetland when the waterlilies provide more coverage.

On a recent exploration of the wetland I did however have the good fortune of locating some very co-operative turtles and water snakes. On one outing I located 12 Northern Water Snakes basking on a beaver lodge! The highlight of my excursions was finding a juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle that was small enough to be sunning on a yellow pond lily leaf. To create the opening photo I chose a low perspective by seating myself in the bottom of the canoe and carefully framed the scene to ensure I maintained the turtle’s reflection in the slice of open water between two lily pad leaves. By resting the lens on the gunwale of the canoe I was able to gain the additional support for this handheld capture. A polarizing filter is pretty much a necessity when photographing basking turtles to eliminate the unwanted glare from the vegetation and the turtle’s carapace, they are also very useful for eliminating the undesirable glare from the scales of snakes. My choice of polarizing filter for use on the Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens is the B&W 95mm F-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizing MRC Filter.

Snapping Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 340mm (35mm equivalent = 540mm)
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/125 sec.
B&W Polarizing Filter

The Common Snapping Turtle above was photographed in the exact same manner as the juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle although a passing cloud thankfully provided some temporary over-cast conditions, which eliminated the harsh shadows that were being cast from upward pointing branches on the log. Whenever I locate an overly co-operative subject such as this large snapping turtle I put away my long lens after creating a few images and reach for my wide angle lenses for an unique perspective as shown below.

Snapping Turtle-scape, Horseshoe Lake Wetland, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/50 sec
Nikon Polarizing Filter

 

Snapping Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-85mm lens @ 78mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec

Below are two Northern Water Snake images that were captured over the course of the last two weekends. The first water snake was discovered within the wetland complex at rest among the branches of a beaver lodge while the second was found resting on a rock beside my dock in late evening light. Each of these images makes use of killer features found on the Nikon D500. In the first image I could not get in as close I was wanted to due to the branches extending out into the water. The work around was to select the Nikon D500’s 1.3X sensor crop and presto – I had the composition I desired. Once again, seating myself in the canoe and using the gunwale to provide additional support and activating the Vibration Reduction on the Nikkor 200-500mm lens I was able to handhold the shot at the 35mm equivalent of a 1,000mm lens!

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500 (35mm equivalent = 1000mm)
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/160 sec
B&W Polarizing Filter

Often I will venture down to the dock in the evening to see what critters have begun to emerge and was delighted to find the water snake at rest on the rock beside the dock. The only way to effectively photograph the snake was to get into the water. Due to the fading light, hand-holding the image was going to be impossible so I set-up my tripod in the lake allowing me to mount my camera and lens just above the water’s surface. Once again I was wanting to create a slight tighter composition so I set the 1.3X sensor crop. To deal with the low light and slow shutter speed I set my self-timer to 2 seconds, activated the Live View feature, and since the Nikon D500’s LCD screen is a touch screen you can actually touch the screen where you want it to focus. Once focus is achieved an image will be captured. In this case, I touched the LCD screen where the snake’s right eye is and two seconds later the camera recorded the image you see below.

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (35mm equivalent = 1000mm)
ISO 500, f11 @ 1/15 sec

Please remember to click on each photo to see the larger, sharper version.

 

 

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Red-eyed Tree Frog © Chuck Carson

Red-eyed Tree Frog  © Chuck Carson

 

Workshop participant Chuck Carson recently shared a few of his images that he created during my January Reptile & Amphibian Workshop that was held at Reptilia. I love the peek-a-boo pose on the Red-eyed Tree Frog and the dead-on stare from the Green Tree Python has excellent sharpness from the tip of the nose to the eyes, which is where you want it to be. The Dendrobates auratus was photographed on some dried oak leaves to mimic the debris on the forest floor  that these colorful dart frogs call home. Similarly the Fire Salamander that is endemic to Europe was photograph in a mini-pond set-up with lichen covered tree bark to resemble native habitat for these large salamanders. Chuck also did very well with these latter two species, especially with the very jumpy dart frog and also by paying close attention to the salamander’s reflection in the pond, being sure not to cut it off on the bottom edge.

 

Green Tree Python © Chuck Carson

Green Tree Python  © Chuck Carson

 

Dendrobates auratus © Chuck Carson

Dendrobates auratus  © Chuck Carson

 

Fire Salamander © Chuck Carson

Fire Salamander  © Chuck Carson

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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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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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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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Sister Islands Curly-tailed Lizard_8421

This post will take us back to my February trip to Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. The two smaller, of the three islands, in the Cayman Islands  are called Little Cayman and Cayman Brac and are often referred to as the Sister Islands. On the grounds at the villa that I had rented for my two week stay there were numerous lizards to be found. The most common was the Curly-tailed Lizard. These lizards reach a length of about 10 inches, from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. During the afternoon they were difficult to approach, but early in the morning was a completely different story. Reptiles are often easier to photograph early in the day when they are too cool to really run away. Being cold-blooded critters they need to warm up in the sun before becoming active. Each of the Curly-tailed Lizards in today’s blog post were photographed at daybreak, using the Live View feature of the Nikon D800, while zooming in on the eyes to manually fine tune the focusing of my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens. The camera and lens were supported by a Manfrotto BeFree Tripod. To read my review of this perfect travel companion and how well it is designed for such use please click here.

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

Sister Islands Curly-tailed Lizard_7502

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I have been away for the last couple of weeks up in Ontario’s Parry Sound region where I have been photographing a variety of subjects that range from landscapes to environmental issues, avian to amphibian, and an endangered Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. I have tried on several occasions to locate and photograph these remarkable snakes, Ontario’s only venomous snake. I discovered this specimen in Killbear Provincial Park on the shores of Georgian Bay. It was a young snake being only about 12-14 inches in length and a small two segment rattle, however, it’s markings were striking. As I photographed this snake for well over an hour, several folks stopped to see what I was taking photos of and I let them see an enlarged , close-up view of the snake through the Live View feature of the D800. The kids that stopped thought it was pretty awesome to see a close up view and personally the more folks that think these snakes are awesome critters the better chance they will have for survival. I was pleased that the snake had a peaceful pose to it. All to often I see photographs of rattlesnakes that are curled up and in position to strike, a clear indication of a snake that is agitated. And for the record, only one person has ever died in Ontario from an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake bite and that individual never sought treatment. Furthermore, roughly 25% of venomous snake bites are considered to be ‘dry’ bites, that is no venom is injected. The snakes would rather conserve their precious venom for subduing their next meal.

Since the snake was in rather heavy shade I bumped up the ISO to 800 and selected an aperture of f16 to keep as much of the snakes body as possible in focus. Once I composed the images that I wanted I switched the camera to ‘Live View’ mode and zoomed in on the snake’s head and eye and manually focused my tripod mounted Nikon 80-400mm VR lens (VR off). The more I play around with the usefulness of the “Live View’ mode the more I am liking it.

Click on each of the photos to view a larger, sharper version.

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