Day 283 – Studio Time with Frogs

Remember a couple of week’s ago I visited a Studio and got to photograph a lovely motorbike … well it turns out that I can go back and revisit the studio every couple of weeks and have the opportunity to photograph all sorts of exciting stuff and some of it is totally going to push me out of my comfort zone…

This week we had small creatures to look at – I had a session doing that with Captive Light at Liberty’s not too long ago, so I have recently tried this – but this session was much more hands on. We had five creatures that had been borrowed from a local pet shop for the evening and instead of the shots being set up for us … we got to do the setting up – we choose what to put the creatures on, we were incharge of the light, and as at one end we were using Speedlites and they were on the same Yongnuo triggers that I use, I was even able to control the brightness of the individual speedlites, and we could move the creatures around.

I wanted to try something different this time and I opted to use my Canon 100mm Macro EF :2.8 lens throughout the session, and to use my feet to get the shot rather than the zoom. My camera (Canon 7D mark II) is a crop sensor camera which means it was the equivalent of 160mm. I also wanted to think more creatively, try different angles and get use to using the equipment.

We had two species of Frog – the Pac Man Frog – which you can see below and the Red eyed tree frog The were nboth quite active at times.

ISO40), F6.3, 1/200 sec
ISO400, F6.3, 1/200 sec

The pacman frog choose to hide under the log, which meant that I had to widen my aperture and raise my ISO to get enough light on him with the speedlites we had already set up.

Setting up a camera - ISO400, F10. 1/200sec
Setting up a camera – ISO400, F10. 1/200sec

This is the set up in the studio, one photographer helping another as we got the grips with using our camera on manual and learning what settings we wanted to control, sometimes we used tripods, other times it was easier to move the camera to the moving frog.

Tee Frog - ISO100, F10, 1/200 sec
Tree Frog – ISO100, F10, 1/200 sec

This is the red eyed tree frog, he is lit by two strobe lights with a black light behind, because i a so close to the frog the depth of field is quite narrow but I love how you are drawn into amazing eyes. I wanted to experiment with different angles with the frog, and shooting slightly below works quite well.

Tree Frog - ISO250, 1/200 sec, F9
Tree Frog – ISO250, 1/200 sec, F9

The tree frog in a different setting, this time lit with speedlites and a which wall behind – looking down on here you ca’t really see much of his distinctive blue markings, but he did seem fairly happy on the log.

Chatting Frogs - ISO100, F9, 1/200 sec
Chatting Frogs – ISO100, F9, 1/200 sec

There were two tree frogs, and I managed to included both of them in the same image talking to one another. This was quite scary, cause I had to move a long way back to get the photo which meant I might not see where they land … luckily they stayed put. I also had to edit the background out in the above shot as I had managed to include part of a curtain and some tripod legs.

Chatting Frogs - ISO100, F9, 1/200 sec
Chatting Frogs – ISO100, F9, 1/200 sec

The frogs are in the same position as in the photo above, but I moved. I climbed onto a chair and looked down at them. The camera settings are exactly the same but because I am now closer the depth of field is now much more obvious. it is fascinating how much changing angle, changes the picture and the feel of the image.

Amazing Eye Lids - ISO250, F9, 1/200 sec
Amazing Eye Lids – ISO250, F9, 1/200 sec

With the macro lens I could get so much closer than I did the other day with the telephoto lens, and when you are close up you can notice the most amazing details – look at the eye lids on the tree frog, they are like webs – amazing!

Tree frog on my hand - ISO250, F6.3, 1/200sec
Tree frog on my hand – ISO250, F6.3, 1/200sec

This one was really tricky to take, that it my hand and in the other hand I am holding my camera and taking the photo in manual mode. I never would have thought that I would be holding a tree frog – how cool is that!

Tree Frog, ISO250, F6.3, 1/200sec
Tree Frog, ISO250, F6.3, 1/200sec

The tree frog again, this time perched on a leaf just resting, the surroundings look more natural but would you believe me if I told you it was a plastic plant?

Ready to leap - ISO250, 1/200 sec, F6.3
Ready to leap – ISO250, 1/200 sec, F6.3

Ready to leap – the longer you watched the more fascinated I was by them. it looks like he is about to leap here and his eye looks ready to pop out of his head, by changing my angle to the diffusers you can still capture the catch lights, but from a different angle.

ISO250, F6.3, 1/200sec - Tree frog on a leaf
ISO250, F6.3, 1/200sec – Tree frog on a leaf

Tree frog resting on one of the leaves – the leaves in the background are slightly distracting as they are very bright but I think it gives context to the images too, you can imagine him there for real.

Reflections - ISO250, F8, 1/200 sec
Reflections – ISO250, F8, 1/200 sec

This is the pac man frog in the dark studio area, he was placed on a reflection black surface which created the most amazing reflections of him, shortly after this he leaped off and we thought we lost him – but he was holding onto my tripod for dear life. I was lucky enough to hold this frog too – as not many of the others were too keen.

The girlie touch - ISO250, F8, 1/200sec
The girlie touch – ISO250, F8, 1/200sec

We added some props… some worked – the pink flower added some great contrast and gives a sense of scale. We also tried putting him on an ipad – but that was not so great…  We also tried with different flowers and these white flowers with green centres diffused in the background created a totally different look, it is almost like camouflage.

Camoflague - ISO250, F5, 1/250sec
Camouflage – ISO250, F5, 1/250sec

It took me a while to select the images to include in my blog and to edit them… so come back tomorrow to see the other small creatures I photographed.

Studio Tips

  • Get the light as close as possible (diffused in a soft box) with as little power as possible to it produces a nice soft light.
  • For white backgrounds you need to get the light on the background first and make sure it is white.
  • For dark backgrounds you need to get the light off the background first!
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