Hopping in the Shadows

20th June 2018

Hopping in the shadows

During the photography internship, I have learnt several techniques to shoot frogs at night time, which was a completely new experience for me. On a night walk, myself, Mark and two other interns, Jase and Cameron we had the chance to come across to a beautiful Hylidae frog, Phyllomedusa tomopterna. It was not easy to see the frog for his colour green can easily get unnoticed on the green leaves.

At the beginning we start to take photos of the frog by lighting the frog with our head lights, however results weren’t that great and we didn’t have with us an external flash.

After a bit of disappointment for the poor quality’ photos taken on my first 30 minutes of attempts, I was almost giving up, so I asked help to Mark Fernley, he offered his technical advice and tips, and ensured me that I could take 3 nice shoots in about 1 hour time following some precise instructions and with a bit of more patience! I had maybe only a decent photo obtained by pointing the torch light on the subject, clearly this system wasn’t working really well. Mark suggested me to point the torch on the back of the big leave on which the frog was sitting, the silhouette obtained in the first shoots was very nice. We then proceed photographing the shadow of the frog on the leave and gradually I start to get good results, and I keep working on improving the composition of the photos from different angles by regulating quickly my camera set ups and moving the tripod.

I had problems in focus the eye of the frog, and my old Canon SLR camera that don’t have live view option wasn’t helping. To fix this, Mark told me to go to video option, in order to see on my camera screen the frog, and to check carefully until the subject was completely in focus before go back to Manual photo option and take the picture. This system, although was time consuming was really worth it, as I did get much better results.

Blog written by Anna Maria Cabriolu

Story written by Mark Fernley