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!

Thierry Legault – Partial solar eclipse and transit of the Space Station from Oman

Now this is just amazing. Astrophotography is one of my favorite things. Thierry Legault, a French engineer and photographer, managed to catch the ISS as it made it’s away in between the earth and Sun in January of 2011. The image is fantastic, almost sci-fi. Go to his homepage to see his other fine work, including the transit of Venus and the Hubble Space Telescope at the same time.

Thierry Legault – Partial solar eclipse and transit of the Space Station from Oman.

Chris VenHaus

Hi folks, sorry I haven’t posted anything here lately – the end of the school year brought me the toughest set of exams yet, but I somehow made my way through and now I am an honest to goodness official college graduate, with an AAS degree in Nuclear Technology. So now that school is over and done with, I will have a lot of time to get back into the photography habit, more time to spend with my music blog, and more time to spend on playing my own music.

by Chris VenHaus

So while prowling around on photo.net tonight, I came across a photographer whose work with landscapes is phenomenal. Chris VenHaus captures so much color in his lens, so much expression, and his star / astrophotography is downright incredible. Chris shares in his gallery a diverse set of photos that span the American Midwest, from Arizona to Colorado to Michigan, etc., and always keeps an ethereal mood in mind whether the image he produces is black and white or color. For example, his image titled Tufa Sunrise conveys a mood of calm serenity at first glance, but when you focus in and start to examine the individual elements of the picture you start to realize what a startlingly alien landscape he’s happened upon. Volcanic rock formations project from the completely flat surface of the water to create an image that is simple, yet easy to stare at for periods of time and think about what this place must feel like when visiting in person. All of Chris’ photography is exactly like that, so go ahead and check out his gallery on photo.net – take my word for it, you’ll be delighted.

Chris VenHaus @ Photo.net

Lunar Eclipse 2010

In December of 2010, most of North America was presented with the spectacle of a lunar eclipse. It started around 1:00 am, and lasted til around 3:30 am, so I didn’t last til the end, but I did get a few meager shots of it that turned out ok. It was extremely cold, and I spent more time bringing the kids out to look at it as it progressed than I did taking pictures (ok, ok, I’m a wuss!). At any rate, here is one of the better results that I got from that night.