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Posts Tagged ‘snakes’

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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reptiles-and-amphibians

On Saturday, January 7, 2017 I will be hosting a Reptile & Amphibian Photographic Workshop at Reptilia commencing at 8:30 a.m. sharp. The cost of the workshop will be $85, which includes admission to the Reptilia Zoo. We will be photographing each of the animals featured in the above card during the first two hours, before entering the Reptilia Zoo to photograph many species of snakes (both venomous and constrictors), alligators, and lizards for roughly another two hours. Generally  two to three hours provides ample time to photograph the reptiles located within the zoo after we have finished photographing the reptiles and amphibians in the controlled set-ups, but folks that wish to stay longer do have the remainder of the day available to spend in the zoo. This workshop will be limited to a maximum of 10 people. Payment for this workshop can be made via email transfer or by cheque. Please contact me at mclachlan@bell.net at your earliest convenience to reserve your spot for this workshop and for further info on sending payment.

To photograph these subjects I do find it best use a 100mm macro lens, or other lenses with close focusing capability. You will also need to bring along your flash and either a flash sync cord or a wireless flash trigger as we will be working with off camera flash and preferably a flash bracket that will allow you to position the flash out over the lens to yield the optimum results. I often have two spare off-camera macro flash brackets that folks can borrow for the day should they be in need of such a bracket and a couple of killer home-made flash diffusers too. The room in which we photograph the reptiles and amphibians does have a tendency to get rather warm so you may wish to wear light clothing. To photograph the reptiles in the zoo afterwards lenses that cover the 100mm to 300mm range will be preferable. Tripods have a tendency to become an exercise in frustration when photographing reptiles and amphibians, which is why I recommend using off camera flash and hand-holding so that you will have the mobility to capture these quick-moving subjects.

During this workshop we will photograph the following species:

  • Vietnamese Moss Frog
  • Red-eyed Tree Frogs
  • Blue & Black Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)
  • Fire Salamander
  • Green Tree Python
  • Rainbow Boa

Each of these species will be photographed in “natural-like” settings using my popular, home-made mini-pond, stunning tropical plants in full bloom, as well as an array of natural props so that each set-up will offer something unique. Your images will look like you just spent an awesome day in the jungle photographing these amazing and colourful critters. Do get your name in early as I have several folks already anticipating the announcement of this workshop.

 

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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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image

This capture of a yawning Black Mamba was created during my Frogs of the World Workshop as we visited the Reptilia Zoo after we had completed the frog photography portion of the workshop.

The Black Mamba is the deadly snake in Africa,  with venom potent enough to kill a human in as little 30 minutes. A bite from the Black Mamba is known as the “Kiss of Death”.

To create this image I positioned my 105mm Micro lens with rubber lens hood (to protect the glass enclosure from scratches) up against the glass enclosure and using a setting ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec with my Nikon SB400 Speelight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket. As the snake began to yawn I created several frames to capture the mouth fully open.

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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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Glacial Erratics in Arrowhead Provincial Park, Ontario

Glacial Erratics in Arrowhead Provincial Park, Ontario

As I await the cold and snow so that I can head out for some fresh winter photography, I thought I would post a few additional images that I have worked on over the last few weeks. I have been busy trying to get caught up on a back log of image processing over the last couple of months, and am pleased to say I have almost completed my task.

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

Pink Flamingo at Elmvale Jungle Zoo, Ontario.

Pink Flamingo at Elmvale Jungle Zoo, Ontario.

Great White Pelican, Toronto Zoo, Ontario.

Great White Pelican, Toronto Zoo, Ontario.

Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Bullfrog on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Mute Swan at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario.

Mute Swan at Humber Bay Park, Toronto, Ontario.

Underwater View of Lily Pads on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Underwater View of Lily Pads on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Muskoka Woodland Details near Parry Sound, Ontario.

Muskoka Woodland Details near Parry Sound, Ontario.

Red-tailed Green Rat Snake, Toronto Zoo, Ontario.

Red-tailed Green Rat Snake, Toronto Zoo, Ontario.

Soldier Crab on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands.

Soldier Crab on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands.

Aerial View of Owen Island off the Coast of Little Cayman Island in the Cayman Islands.

Aerial View of Owen Island off the coast of Little Cayman Island in the Cayman Islands.

Winter Details on Frozen River - one from the 2013 archives.

Winter Details on Frozen River – one from the 2013 archives.

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