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My gear for the 2015 Frog season.

I just switched back to Pentax just in time for the 2015 frog season, i carefully selected my lenses to be useful for photographing frogs. I bought lenses that have a good minimum focusing distance or repro ratio so that i can use them to take the portrait of my little friends.

Here is my Pentax lenses which will be useful on my tripod but also handheld with the help of the SR:

– DA 16-85mm WR for bigger frogs that will let me close enough to use that lens to show them in their habitat kind of shot.

– DA 55-300mm WR that i will use mostly from 100mm to 300mm.

– Tamron 90mm Macro will be my main working lens especially for the Gray Tree frog and Spring peeper frog but also to take close-up shots of the bigger ones.

– Takumar (6×7) 135mm/4 Macro, this lens have a 1:3 ratio on a 6×7 camera and will give me more rech than my Tamron 90mm Macro.

I still have my Canon 7D and will be able to use my 400mm/5.6L with and without extension tubes when frogs will be out of reach of my Pentax DA 55-300mm WR. Also i have a Sigma 180mm/5.6 APO Macro that have a 1:2 repro ratio that i will use on my 7D for more reach but still can do Macro shots.

I’m excited at the coming season that should start in a few days, i will be trying to vary my POV and came-up with different perspective and atmosphere. I will also explore new ponds this summer so that will help vary the environment in my photos.

Here are teaser photos from last year to give you an idea of the coming season 🙂

Young Spring peeper frog.

Green Frog.

Young Gray Tree frog with part of it’s tail still present.

 


Weekly photo, 27 July 2014

This week it’s an adult Gray Tree Frog that was hiding in a tree at the day camp of my older girls. I found it just beside the entrance, i even removed some weeds in front of the Frog to have a better view.

Taken with Fuji X-E1 and Vivitar 100mm/3.5 Macro, tripod.

 


Weekly photo, 12 July 2014

Plants were covered with dew this morning and added something to the photos of  Gray Tree Frogs i took. But there is one that i prefer because of the colors of the leaves this Frog was perched on.

Taken with my Canon 7D and Tamron 90mm Macro VC, Tripod.


Gray Tree Frogs are out of the pond.

I was waiting for that moment with excitement, it’s the first time of the year that i went to the pond where there is a lot of Gray Tree Frogs, they are my favorite Frog that live here in my corner of the country  (Canada). At this time of the year i’m looking for the young ones that just got out of the water, some still have a small tail. I have a favorite pond where i go every summer, it’s a Beaver’s pond, many species turns from tadpoles to juvenile Frogs at the same time (American Toad, Gray Tree Frog, Spring Peeper Frog and Leopard Frog).

Those little fellows are quite small, about the size of my thumbnail, so a Macro lens is the best way to go and i would add that a lens with IS, VC, VR or a camera with IBIS is a bonus that help a lot since i often handheld my gear. They are often hiding on plants where it’s difficult to get a good view and a tripod is not always practical.

The King of the pond ! You can see the remaining of it’s tail.

Just to give you an idea of how many Gray tree Frogs there is on the shore of that pond, i was standing among the vegetation and i was counting at least 30 Frogs around me hiding on the plants, i even saw 13 of them on a single plant. Sure i have a lot of subjects to choose from but often the background is busy so i have to find a Frog where the background is more interesting or less busy. With the combination of early morning, handholding the camera, wind and the need to blur the background i often end-up shooting from f/4.5 to f/5.6.

I found this one hiding in a Pine, i was able to use my tripod and close my lens to a smaller aperture to have more DOF.

The Spring Peeper Frogs juveniles are even smaller, some are the size of a fingernail. This one was walking on a leaf, i only got 4 frames before he jumped on another leaf.

All the photos i posted here were taken on the same morning, when i arrived at the pond it was raining, a perfect situation for photographing Frogs. I used my Canon 7D and Tamron 90mm Macro VC either handheld or on a tripod. Hope you like them 🙂


Beavers are back at the pond, good for Frogs !

My favorite pond for photographing Gray Tree Frogs and Spring Peeper Frogs is a Beaver’s pond, but sadly 2 years ago the beavers were killed by humans. Since there was no more beavers for the last 2 years the water level of the pond was very low and last year it was completely dried out by mid summer and a lot of tadpoles died before having time to complete their metamorphosis. So last year was not a good year for the frogs and for my frog photography sessions, it didn’t last long.

One of the 3 beavers that i’ve seen this spring, a blurred vision in low light.  I panned with my camera as the beaver was swimming close to me.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, ISO 800, 1/25 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

I had a surprise last week-end when i went to see if i could find some frogs and saw 3 beavers and a big pond full of water, and to top this i heard some frogs singing even in the cold morning (it even snowed later in the day). I was more than happy for the little frogs, hope that the beavers will not get kill this year.

Here is a video i made last summer (2012) of that pond, where i walk to take that video this year with the water level i would be walking in waist level water . You can see the result of a very dry year and no beavers present to maintain the water level.

pond

Beaver’s pond are important for frogs and insects, it’s a great place for reproduction and make that place home. If everything goes well it should be a great year for frog reproduction, especially for the Spring peeper and Gray tree frog because at the edge of the pond there is a lot of vegetation and small trees to hide in. At that pond in past years i also saw Leopard frogs, Green frogs and American Toads.

Leopard Frog on moss on the shore of the pond.

Pentax K-01, Pentax DFA 100mm Macro WR, handheld.

Young Gray Tree frog in a tree along the shore of the pond.

Pentax K-01, Pentax DFA 100mm Macro WR with TC 1.4X, tripod.

Damselfly are another resident of beaver’s pond.

Pentax K-01, Pentax DFA 100mm Macro WR with TC 1.4X, tripod. 

I’m looking forward to see how the season will go, hope to make some good frog shots and now of beavers also !


My favorite frog pond is drying quickly.

I have a favorite pond where i like to go for photographing frogs because i can found 4 species of frogs (Grey tree frog, Spring peeper frog, Leopard frog and Green frog) and American toads can be found in the forested area around the pond. In fact it’s an old beaver’s pond, but last year the beavers were killed and the dam was destroyed.

During the 2012 winter we didn’t received much snow, so the water level during the spring was already lower than usual and it didn’t rain much in June and July. Now the level of the lakes, rivers and ponds are very low. With all those events combined together the result is that the pond is almost all dry out and many tadpoles died when the water evaporated. In the newspaper they said that the lakes around here are at their lowest since the last 40 years.

I made 2 videos in July:

This is how it looked like on July 03:

july 3

Now this is how it looked like on July 15:

July 15

Some of the tadpoles had time to made it to the frog state and i was able to take photos of them! I hope that most of them will make it for the next reproduction season.

Young Gray tree frog.

Pentax K-01, DA35mm Macro Ltd, ISO 1250, 1/200 sec. at f/5.6, handheld with SR.

Young Gray tree frog.

Pentax K-01, DFA 100mm Macro WR, ISO 1600, 1/13 sec. at f/8, tripod.

Green frog tadpole.

Pentax K-01, DFA 100mm Macro WR, ISO 2000, 1/30 sec. at f/5.6, handheld with SR.

Young Leopard frog.

Pentax K-01, DFA 100mm Macro WR, ISO 1600, 1/30 sec. at f/6.3, handheld with SR.

Adult Spring peeper frog.

Pentax K-01, DFA 100mm Macro WR with TC 1/4 X-S, ISO 2000, 1/60 sec. at f/8, tripod.