Frogs and Moon

So I went out tonight to try and snap a decent shot of the super-moon. I started out with a low ISO of 200 and aperture of 11 on my Canon 75-300 mm zoom. I wasn’t really getting satisfactory results though – that lens is hard to focus. Shutter speeds of around 125 – 320 kept the camera shake down, but the images were still blurry, probably because of the haze in the atmosphere.

While I was doing that, I noticed an extreme amount of noise coming from the other side of my neighborhood where there is a drainage pond. The noise was made by hundreds of frogs of all types – tree frogs, bull-frogs, leopard frogs, and several other types. I decided to hike on over to the pond and see if I could get some images of the audible amphibians. I learned something – frogs are very difficult to photograph. They like to leap away just as you’re pressing the shutter release.

For my technique, well it wasn’t much to speak of. Armed with a powerful flashlight, one of those 6 volt cell models, I stalked over the small hill at the edge of the pond. Immediately most of the big frogs hurled themselves into the water. I should mention at this point, the din made by the cacophonous croakers was nearly deafening. I was surprised at how much noise the things can make. At any rate, what I did was hold my flash light hooked in the fingers of my left hand with the handle in towards my palm and the body of the light hanging on the back of my hand. This allowed me to operate the focus ring on my 300 mm zoom while keeping the light on the subject. I tried this on about seven or eight frogs, getting terrible results each time. Then it dawned on me – I could lay the light down in a position that it was shining on the frog, then walk to the side just a bit and be free to focus and zoom while the frog was staring at the light. Success! I got two decent images this way. By this time though, the mosquitoes were eating me alive so I called it a night. I did stop once I was back at the house though to try a few more shots at the moon, this time in 1600 ISO. I finally got a decent one. The one here was shot at 1/4000 s, f/11 ISO 1600.

Leave a comment with a link to your own shots of frogs, amphibians, moons or any thing else that exists in nature. I want to see them!

Beached Whale on Carolina Beach.

A small whale washed up on the beach here in Wilmington. It apparently is a Minke Whale. There is no cause of death at the moment, but officials from the local aquarium are picking up the carcass at some point to do a necropsy. The whale was torn up quite a bit, with a huge section of flesh torn out, most likely by sharks. In recent weeks a fairly large great white shark has been spotted, and also a sperm whale, off the southeastern North Carolina coast.

Technical details – I only used flash in one of the images seen here, it should be fairly obvious which one. The others were exposures of around thirty seconds or so, using moonlight and light coming from the boardwalk behind me. This enabled me to almost completely eliminate the yellow police tape and spectators walking around the whale, as well as giving a nice cool blue tone to the picture. I love shooting this way.