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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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Cuban Treefrog at Rest Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85 VR @ 85mm ISO 100, f22 @ 0.5 sec.

Cuban Treefrog at Rest
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85 VR @ 85mm
ISO 100, f22 @ 0.5 sec.

One thing I was looking most forward to upon returning to the Caribbean Island of Cayman Brac in March was photographing Cuban Treefrogs. Although the Cuban Treefrog is an invasive species throughout the Caribbean known to feast upon smaller frog species, they are still a beautiful treefrog. When I visited Cayman Brac in February 2014 the Cuban Treefrogs were very easy to locate however, in March 2015 this was not the case. It had been relatively dry prior to my return trip and I think some of the frogs moved on to wetter areas or were lying dormant somewhere. After three very unsuccessful nights of searching for these frogs I remembered one very important fact about treefrogs – they will most often hang-out around human structures and porch lights as the lights tend to provide these amphibians with an all-u-can-eat buffet :) I began searching the decorative concrete wall surrounding the villa and alas I found a Cuban Treefrog sleeping away the day. The next plan was to monitor this frog as night began to fall so that I could finally create some fresh Cuban Treefrog imagery.

Cuban Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 VR @ 200mm Canon 500D Close-up Filter Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400 VR @ 200mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Once I had discovered this frog’s day-time resting place I was easily able to locate and photograph it over the course of several nights. Here is a selection of my most favorite froggie images from the lovely island of Cayman Brac.

As you scroll through the images below do note that I have used a Canon 500D Close-up Filter on my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens. This close-up filter is a simple and relatively inexpensive option for turning lenses such as the Nikon 80-400mm and the Canon 100-400mm into close focusing macro lenses. Here is a photo to illustrate the Canon 500D Close-up Filter attached to my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens.

Canon 500D Close-up Filter Attached to Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens

Canon 500D Close-up Filter Attached to Nikon 80-400mm VR Lens

Also note that each of these images were photographed handheld using the discontinued Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket (the best flash bracket on the market for macro work today).

Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Please do remember to click on each image to see the larger, sharper versions.

Cuban Treefrog Nikon D800, NIkon 80-400mm VR @ 195mm Canon 500D Close-up Filter Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 195mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 92mm Canon 500D Close-up Filter Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 92mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 260mm Canon 500D Close-up Filter Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 260mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 175mm Canon 500D Close-up Filter Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f32 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 175mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f32 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog - headshot Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 310mm Canon 500D Close-up Filter Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f32 @ 1/60 sec.

Cuban Treefrog – headshot
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR @ 310mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
Nikon Speedlight SB600 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f32 @ 1/60 sec.

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Optimized Version of Cuban Treefrog on Cayman Brac

Optimized Version of Cuban Treefrog on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

I have just spent the last hour optimizing the above photograph of a juvenile Cuban Treefrog. During my trip to Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. Each night I would leave the villa and go for a night-time stroll in search of some night-life. The Cuban Treefrogs were plentiful and I spent many enjoyable hours creating numerous images of them. In the original RAW capture below you do not need to look too closely to identify many of the issue.

Original RAW Capture - Cuban Treefrog

Original RAW Capture – Cuban Treefrog

First and foremost I was not holding the camera square with the world, there are two unsightly, tiny stones on the frog’s lip and if you click on the images to see the larger, sharper version you will see a lot of flash generated spectral highlights. To optimize this image I first rotated until I felt that froggie was square with the world and then using both a series of quick masks and clone stamp tool I painstakingly worked on the image at 400% to effectively evict each of the spectral highlights. The nice thing about the massive image files created by the Nikon D800 is that you can afford to lose a few pixels when rotating and cropping such as this with no degradation to the image quality.

Now for the quiz: to photograph the Cuban Treefrog I used a Nikon D800 and what lens? The frog measured about an inch in length. I will reveal the answer in 2-3 days.

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When it comes to photographing frogs it is rather hard to beat Red-eyed Treefrogs for their photogenic qualities. During a recent photo shoot with numerous captive bred frog species I was thrilled to be able to photograph a lovely Red-eyed Treefrog. Since treefrogs are mostly nocturnal I chose to photograph them perched on potted, tropical plants that would look like a more natural setting and used a small flash to achieve the background I desired for these images. If there is no background close enough to the frog the flash will most often render the background dark, as though the images were created at night.

When I was researching this photo shoot it was important to me that the frogs I was going to photograph were all captive bred. With frog populations in serious decline around the globe I would refuse to photograph any wild caught specimens.

Please remember to click on each of the photos to see the larger, more sharper version and let us know which is your favorite Red-eyed Treefrog photo and why.

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Lionfish – Glow 100 preset

A few weeks ago I made a trip to the Toronto Zoo for a fun day of photographing animals from all around the world. While meandering my way around the zoo, I thought that many of these animals would make wonderful subjects for the photoshop plugin Fractalius by Redfield Plugins, so after arriving back at home I immediatelybegan playing around with some of the presets and adjusted the sliders to taste until I came up with this assortment of fractalius renderings. When I use the Fracatlius plugin I always apply it’s effect on a duplicate layer. This is done for two reasons. First it allows my to mask back in the eye(s) so that the filter has no effect on the eye(s) and secondly, I may want to reduce the overall effect of the filter and the easiest way to do so is to reduce the opacity of the layer to which the Fractalius effect is on. Most often I go straight for the ‘Glow 100′ or the ‘Rounded’ presets as these are my favorites to use. I have indicated below each image which preset I selected, however, the effect was achieved by adjusting the sliders to taste. Please note, this fun and addictive plugin is only available for folks using Windows and is available for purchase here.

Hope you enjoy this collection of artistic renderings from my Fractalius addiction and naturally I could not resist the temptation to include a frog image from the zoo too :)

Please take a moment to let me know which is your favorite and why.

Waxy Monkey Treefrog – Rounded preset

Gorilla – Rounded preset

Gaboon Viper – Rounded preset

Meller’s Chameleon – Glow 100 preset

African Penguin – Glow 100 preset

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