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Posts Tagged ‘toads’

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

On Sunday April 9th, two days after receiving a late season snowfall, the temperatures rose to just above the 20 degree Celsius mark in south-central Ontario. Perfect conditions for a night time excursion to the neighborhood frog pond. As I drove through the night to reach the pond I did so with the car window rolled down and as I neared the pond’s location I could already hear the deafening chorus of hundreds of Spring Peppers. Typically at this point in the season it is only the Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs, and Wood Frogs that are chorusing. Other species will generally emerge a few weeks later. On this night I did note many Green Frogs, and American Toads had also emerged but had not yet begun to chorus. I spent about two hours wading through the shallow waters of the pond searching out the crooners and also keeping a close eye on a newcomers to the pond – Beavers. Late last fall it appears that beavers have moved into the pond creating a dam to retain a deeper depth to the pond which should benefit the frog’s offspring in their metamorphosis to adulthood without the risk of the pond drying out. When searching for these frogs it is often best to search the grasses and shrubbery at the pond’s periphery, as this is where they will be discovered most often. On this first excursion I was pleasantly surprised to locate a juvenile Bullfrog as well.

Here are a few images that were created on this first excursion into this year’s spring chorus.

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

Have you have ever thought about trying your hand at photographing frogs and toads at night during the spring chorus. If so, send me an email to schedule a private in-the-field session to learn how I photograph them under the cover of darkness.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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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frog-pond-adventures

I am pleased to announce that tonight I will be presenting my Frog Pond Adventures program for the Country Images Camera Club at 8:00 p.m. The presentation will be held at the Newmarket Community Centre in Hall 1, which is located at 200 Doug Duncan Drive in Newmarket, Ontario. This will be my third time presenting to the Country Images Camera Club and I am looking forward to meeting these great folks again.

Just a quick reminder to folks about my upcoming Frogs of the World Photographic Workshop on Saturday November 26th at 8:30 a.m. I still have some space available. Please click here to see the blog post announcement for the workshop and feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience if you have any questions regarding this upcoming workshop.

frogs-of-the-world_november-26th

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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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American Toad_9913

The two images presented here were created a few seconds apart. Often I will take several images from various angles and perspectives when photographing frogs and toads at night, especially when I see the ripple effect. The ripple effect is created when the toad’s vocal sac touches the water’s surface while it is chorusing. The vibration of the vocal sac creates the ripples. In each of these images I was immediately drawn to the way the dead cattail leaves were framing the toad along the bottom portion of the composition and while composing I made certain not to cut-off the ‘V’ created by the break in the leaf at the bottom edge.

American Toad_9915

Please remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions. Which do you prefer?

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Green Frog (male)

The two images of the male Green Frog (Rana clamitans) may very well be the last frogs I will photograph in the vernal ponds behind my home. As followers of this blog know my home backs onto an abandoned cattle pasture which has several low lying areas that fill with rain water and snow melt, thus creating vernal ponds. These ponds are temporary and dry out by the end of summer, but they do hold water long enough for numerous species of frogs and toads to reproduce. According to my dear, elderly neighbors that arrived in Canada, from Germany many, many years ago after the war, the field has been laying fallow since about 1975. This 40 acre plot of abandoned agricultural land is used by many ground nesting songbirds such as Bobolink, Meadowlark, Horned Lark and Upland Sandpipers. Deep in the ground Chimney Crayfish await the rains to emerge and breed in the vernal ponds. Hawks, Owls, Fox , and Coyote hunt the Meadow Voles that inhabit the field also. During the winter months I take my daughter skating on the frozen pond. Most importantly though are the vast numbers of frogs and toads that arrive at the vernal ponds each spring to reproduce – a sight and sound to behold. Having sat in the ponds among the frogs and toads during peak chorus, I can honestly state that they are louder than any RAMONES concert I ever attended 🙂 A truly remarkable experience, but…

Green Frog and Water Scorpion

It is with great sorrow that today I report on October the 18th this has been wiped out. The field was recently sold to a farmer that has cut down every tree that lined the field to open up more fields and has since tilled the soil for the planting of crops. This of course will mean more fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. I have always believed that this little corner of nature, located in Simcoe County, would one day be wiped out for either agriculture (it has always been zoned for agriculture) or housing developments, but I do wish I did not have to witness its destruction.With amphibian populations in serious decline around the globe, largely due to human impact, such loss of habitat, even on this small 40 acre plot of land, can yield a deadly blow to the local populations of frogs and toads.

I do hope that I am wrong, but I believe that in the fields behind my home, the Spring of 2013 will be the season without song. A sad, but all too familiar occurrence in the world that struck home on October 18, 2012. Below you will see the photos of how the field looks today.

In the photo above you are looking out over the field where each spring the largest vernal pond is to be found.

In the above photograph you are looking back toward my home, and again, across the field where additional ponds are found each spring. My home can be found immediately behind the trees on the right side of the image.

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