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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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Pre-dawn Light at The Torrance Barrens  Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 22mm ISO 100 f16 @ 1.6 seconds

Pre-dawn Light at The Torrance Barrens / Dark Sky Reserve
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 22mm
ISO 100
f16 @ 1.6 seconds

On Friday February 26th I finally had some free time to get out and spend a day in the field creating some fresh winter landscapes. The first stop on my list was to visit Torrance Barrens / Dark Sky Reserve near Gravenhurst, Ontario. This is one of my favorite locations in summer and fall, but I had never explored it in the dead of winter. It was a very chilly morning with a cloudless sky, which meant there would not be mush of a decent sunrise so I chose to frame these scraggly spruce trees against the western sky and wait for the rising sun to cast a pinkish glow on the western horizon.

The next stop on my list was to make a first-ever winter trip over to Lower Rosseau Falls. Fortunately the road in was plowed and there was even a clearing plowed to allow a car or two to park near the river. Hiking through the woods down to the base of the falls was a little treacherous as there was significant ice build-up beneath a foot of fresh snow – I fell flat on my butt several times.

Due to the bright conditions on this day, to slow down the exposure times to blur the rushing waters I dialed in an ISO of 50 on my Nikon D800 and also used a Nikon Polarizing Filter to further extend the exposure times. I was in such a rush to get out the door and on my way on this day that I also forgot to take along my cable release. To overcome this I simply framed my compositions as I normally would, then activated the Live View feature, as this will lock up the mirror to allow live viewing on the LCD screen, and then finally I selected the 2 second self-timer to trip the shutter.

 

Lower Rosseau Falls in Winter Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 29mm ISO 50 f22 @ 1/10 sec.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 29mm
ISO 50
f22 @ 1/10 sec.

 

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm ISO 50 f22 @ 1/5 sec.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm
ISO 50
f22 @ 1/5 sec.

After a successful shoot at Lower Rosseau Falls I made the short drive over to Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River. There was not a lot of interesting ice development at Hatchery Falls mostly due to high water levels in the river not allow any interesting formations to develop. Nonetheless, the hike in to Hatchery Falls was beautiful and I had the entire location all to myself to enjoy:)

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River near Rosseau, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm ISO 50 f22 @ 1 second

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm
ISO 50
f22 @ 1 second

 

Frogs of the World Workshop Space Available

For folks that may have missed the announcement for my Frogs of the World Workshop there are still some spaces available should you be interested. The date of the workshop is Saturday, March 5th at 8:00 a.m. with a cost of $85. Please contact me directly at info@andrewmclachlan.ca if you are interested in attending this workshop. For more information about the workshop please click here to see the official announcement.

Frogs of the World Workshop

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Milky Way Over Horseshoe lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 at 20 seconds

Milky Way Over Horseshoe lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 at 20 seconds

 

For those who embark on photographing the night sky for the first time are sure to find it addictive. It is a ton of fun to say the least. A few days ago I wanted to try something a little different and rather than create a sharply focused starry night sky, I opted for an image of star trails above Horseshoe Lake. The two photographs that accompany this post are the exact same scene photographed with two different techniques.

After creating some initial starry sky scenes from Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park several weeks ago a colleague pointed me in the direction of an eBook by Royce Bair – “Milky Way Nightscapes.” I highly recommend this eBook to anyone interested in photographing the night sky. This 140 page eBook is jam packed with all the info you will need to get started with photographing the night sky and applying the special processing techniques to eliminate any noise generated from using very high ISO numbers.

Essentially the scene above was created to confirm my composition before commencing with the star trail scene below. Do note the different settings used in each of the images to capture the desired effect. While I do enjoy the 30 minute exposure at f4 for the star trails, I am wishing that I had selected a one hour exposure at f5.6 for a longer trail. I tried to do this on the next evening but storm clouds rolled in. When creating these night scapes do be sure to activate the long exposure noise reduction feature and since this feature is creating a second “black” frame to analyze the data and reduce noise, a 30 minute exposure will take an additional 30 minutes for the camera to process. Subsequently, if an one hour exposure is selected an additional one hour will be required by the camera, therefore, it is also important to ensure that you are using freshly charged batteries for long exposure star trail imagery. Shooting a quick frame to confirm the composition will reduce the need to retake the one hour star trail scene…after all you would only be able to create one image every two hours.

Hope you enjoy the starry night imagery.

Which scene do you prefer – star trails or pin-point stars?

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

Star Trails Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 125, f4 @ 30 minutes

Star Trails Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 125, f4 @ 30 minutes

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The Milky Way Over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 30 seconds

The Milky Way Over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 30 seconds

I have just returned from another week up on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. During the past seven days I spent a lot of time exploring the night sky. Photographing the starry night sky is quite addictive and each night, roughly two hours after sunset I would head down to the dock and create images of the Milky Way above the lake. Fortunately, the Milky Way can easily be seen from the dock, however, there is some noticeable light pollution from the town of Parry Sound, visible on the right side of the images. In the above photo I was quite surprised by the subtle green and pink hues present when I viewed the images on the computer the next morning. I did not see any of these colors in the sky as I created the images. In addition, I was also quite surprised at how each of the night scenes photographed considering that each was created at roughly the same time each night. Isn’t nature amazing:)

Here are a couple of additional photos of the starry sky above Horseshoe Lake. In an upcoming post I will cover the learning curve to creating and the special processing techniques to these addictive images. I found on my Nikon D800 that I was getting the best pin-point stars at 20 second exposures. In the opening image the 30 second exposure the stars are not all quite pin-points, some have tiny trails starting.

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

 

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 20mm ISO 6400, f3.8 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 20mm
ISO 6400, f3.8 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 20 seconds

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Horseshoe Lake at Sunset, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 19mm ISO50, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

Horseshoe Lake at Sunset, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 19mm
ISO50, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

I have just returned from a week long stay at the cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario and can’t wait to head back up for another week-long stay in a few days. It was a very productive week for wildlife imagery that I will share with you in an upcoming post. On the evening of Saturday July 18th there was a splendid sunset. The lay of the land at the cottage does not usually allow for too many sunset opportunities unless there is a spectacular display. I quickly grabbed my Nikon 18-35mm lens and ran down to the dock when I saw the colors developing in the sky, but the downside was too much wave action from passing motor boats ruining the foreground water. The solution? Create two images. After composing the scene I created one exposure for the sky and then one with a long exposure for the water. This long exposure would “smooth” the surface of the lake hiding the wave action of the passing boats. I then loaded both images into Adobe Camera Raw and made some initial tweaks before opening both images into Photoshop. I am using Photoshop CS6 for my processing of image files so I simply selected the sky image and using the Move Tool moved that image onto the image with the smooth water. I now had each image on its own layer. Next I selected the Eraser Tool and erased the wavy water from the sky image to reveal the smooth water of the second image with the longer exposure.

A simple but effective technique to utilize technology and over-come a challenging situation. If I had waited for the waves to die down the colors in the sky would have been gone.

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

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Amazon Milk Frog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Amazon Milk Frog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

A few months ago there was a wonderful exhibit of tropical frogs at Ontario’s Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. One day in April I made a trip out to see and photograph some of the species that were on display. Photographing such animals through the glass walls of their enclosures can often be a bit troublesome due to finger prints and scratches on the glass, however, there are few simple techniques that can be employed for success. When I photograph captive subjects through the glass walls of their enclosures I will always get as close to the glass as possible to eliminate / reduce the risk of scratches and fingerprints from showing up in the resulting images. To get as close to the glass as possible I ensure that I am using my rubber lens hood so that I do not become one of those individuals that has left unsightly scratches on the enclosures. A relatively large rubber lens hood aligned flush with the glass wall of the enclosure will often reduce the risk of the flash from reflecting off the glass, ruining the photos when it fires.

Rubber Lens Hood on Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

Rubber Lens Hood on Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

At public exhibits I often find it too difficult to work with a tripod, mostly due to the number of visitors and elementary school class trips that attend. As a result I do much prefer to work with flash and when I photogenic subject and pose is noticed I can then quickly grab a few photos without affecting the other visitors that are also there.

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

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

For the image above of the Dendrobates auratus I was able to get a very low perspective and a pleasing background by placing the lens flush with the glass wall at the moment the dart frog jumped to the front of the enclosure. Dart frogs are often very quick and sometime difficult to photograph, but this image gives the impression that I am lying flat on the ground in their rainforest home, yet I was dry and comfy:)

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

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

Pictured above is an African Bullfrog. What is not to love about a frog with teeth! These frogs will eat anything they can stuff in their mouths from insects to full grown mice. You will notice that in this image the camera was pointed downwards, with the lens close to the glass and in a downward postion the flash will not reflect back into the resulting images, however, if I tried the same perspective after taking a few steps backwards the flash would be noticeable and the images would be deleted.

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

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

Warty skinned frogs such as the above Argentine Horned Frog do pose some challenges with flash generated spectral highlights. In Photoshop I will often evict the most noticeably distracting highlights, for many of the smaller ones as seen above I will open Selective Color and add a touch of Black to the White channel which tones them down a bit.

Waxy Monkey Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Waxy Monkey Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Treefrog specimens are usually very uncooperative subjects as they are mostly nocturnal so when one is encountered alert and wide-eyed grab as many photos as you can because they will probably go back to sleep very soon.

Below is a Fire-belly Toad which is an Asiatic species and very common in the pet trade. Believe it or not I actually used to keep Fire-belly Toads in a large terrarium many years ago and they lived for roughly 21 years.

Fire-belly Toad Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Fire-belly Toad
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

After photographing many of these wonderful frog species from around the globe in a single afternoon I thought it would be fun to take one of the images and create a frog fract using the Photoshop plug-in Fractalius. Below is a Goliath Frog skeleton. The Goliath Frog is the largest frog in the world, they live alongside streams and such in Cameron, in Africa.

Please do remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions:)

Goliath Frog Skeleton Fractalius Rendering

Goliath Frog Skeleton
Fractalius Rendering

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Gray Treefrog on Branch at Night Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Gray Treefrog on Branch at Night
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

For the first time since the inception of this blog I went an entire month without a new blog post. Yikes! Sorry folks. The month of June quickly became a hectic month me as I was spending many evenings driving to various frog ponds near my home and the cottage in search of fresh froggie imagery, processing a large, multi-print, fine art order for the corporate head-quarters of a financial institution in the United States, and several other responsibilities that were leaving me little time to post any new content. The good news is that I was by no means slacking off on creating fresh imagery and now have many new photos, tips, and info to share in upcoming posts.

Each of the frog images within the post were created throughout the month of June during the peak of the spring chorus (breeding season) and surprisingly enough I do still hear the American Toads and Gray Treefrogs chorusing around my home, mostly due to the cool nights prolonging the breeding season this year.

American Toad with Vocal Sac Inflated

American Toad with Vocal Sac Inflated Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

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

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

American Toad with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

American Toad with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

During my travels to various ponds in June I discovered two new ponds that have become my preferref locations for frog photography. At one pond I was amazed at the sheer numbers of American Toads that were floating out in the deeper, inaccessible sections of the pond. They would make their way in towards the stands of last season’s dried cattail stems to chorus. Also among the dried cattail leaves were vast numbers of Spring Peepers. Finding a Spring Peeper among a stand of dried cattail leaves is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Most often the Spring Peepers will be chorusing well above the surface of the pond and once discovered, a slow approach is mandatory as they will become aware of your presence quickly and stop chorusing. If this happens remain still for about 10-15 minutes and you will soon be rewarded for your patience.

Spring Peeper with Vocal Sac Inflated.

Spring Peeper with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

At the second pond that was newly discovered there were large congregations of Northern Leopard Frogs, which were quite co-operative as well as Green Frogs. Creating images of these two species with their vocal sacs inflated has always been a challenge for me as the call is quick and seemingly unannounced, but upon carefully studying the frog’s behavior I have noticed that they do indeed give very subtle clues that they are about to croak:) Green Frogs will quickly flap the skin on their throat a couple of times just prior to calling, and the Northern Leopard Frogs (as do other frogs) will noticeably begin to draw air in making their body appear inflated. Once they look pretty full of air, a song is soon to follow.

Northern Leopard Frog with Vocal Sacs Inflated

Northern Leopard Frog with Vocal Sacs Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Green Frog with Vocal Sac Inflated.

Green Frog with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

This season I wanted to try creating some night-time imagery of frogs that had a slightly different look to them and thus I decided to head-out into the ponds with my Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens to see what I might be able to create. Below are two of my favorite fisheye night frog photos. When using the fisheye lens for these images it was imperative that I paid close attention to the placement of the flash, cords, and mini-flashlight (used for focusing) as they would end up within the image if placed incorrectly.

Gray Treefrog at Night in Wetland. Nikon D800, Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket, ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Gray Treefrog at Night in Wetland. Nikon D800, Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket, ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Green Frog in Wetland at Night.

Green Frog in Wetland at Night. Nikon D800, Sigma EX DG f2.8 15mm Fisheye Lens, Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket, ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec.

Of all the frogs and toads I get to photograph, none are more enjoyable than the Gray Treefrog. Often Gray Treefrogs will strike interesting poses as they climb around vegetation. Below are a few more Gray Treefrog photos that were created over the past month.

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

Gray Treefrog.

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

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

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

Gray Treefrog with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Gray Treefrog with Vocal Sac Inflated. Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

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