Let's talk amphibian photography

sde

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Hi all,

I just wanted to bring up this subject as I really love photographing my herping finds! And I want to see what you guys are doing as well. I also want to find out what kinds of composition and tricks/methods you guys like to use. Also, feel free to share some of you're best photos!

So for composition I try and keep the head centered, and am kind of a nerd when it comes to getting REALLY close, I love they eye shots :D Sometimes I take a step back ( if I can get out of the trance of close ups ) and when I do this I usually curl their tail around one side, and try to get them in a 'interesting' position. I try to let them to the 'interesting' position part themselves so I don't have to move them but occasionally I have to 'help' them out. I also try to get their full body when I am farther back. I also try and put them on moss and moss spores for added color, and try to pay attention to the background colors. Occasionally I will put them on rocks if they are a colorful species.
For pictures that are really close up, I try to focus on the eye. Some species make much better eye shots than others. Rana aurora, for instance, has a very detailed and colorful eye, whereas Ambystoma gracile is a more plain brown.
With blander subjects ( like Ambystoma gracile ) I try to incorporate a more colorful background, like green trees, fall colored leaves, mosses, or colorful plants. Sometimes if I am on a bare hill or cleared area I will try to show the sky, or a bit of a view in the background.
I also try to take photos from interesting angles, for instances I love taking photos of herps from below, so that you have an interesting angle and so you get the sky and trees in the background.
I also try to give the animals as much character as I can, and shooting from in front of the subject ( head on ) I think does this quite well. Each individual has a different look from the front, so it gives uniqueness as well.
Taking a lot of photos helps to get better photos as well, simply because the animal is usually moving so it allows you to get lots of angles and poses.
Typically I don't use the flash unless I have to because I don't want to stress the animal too much.
I constantly am changing the aperture depending on the scene, sometimes I want the background to show, sometimes I just want it to be focusing on the subject.

So folks, that's my techniques and methods, feel free to share yours!

Here are some of my favorite shots. ( By the way, sorry the post is so long ).
 

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garfield188

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Nice photos!, but try not to always have the head of the salamander in the middle of the photo.
 

auntiejude

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I often find it easier to take a wider shot and then crop it afterwards. It's sometimes easier to work that way than wait for your subject to strike the right pose right in front of the camera. It helps that I'm married to a professional digital photo expert though..... ;)

Wildlife photgraphy is an art few can master, but you're certainly doing a great job Seth!
 

sde

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Nice photos!, but try not to always have the head of the salamander in the middle of the photo.
OK I will try to take photos from different angles, it'll be good to mix things up.

I often find it easier to take a wider shot and then crop it afterwards. It's sometimes easier to work that way than wait for your subject to strike the right pose right in front of the camera. It helps that I'm married to a professional digital photo expert though..... ;)

Wildlife photgraphy is an art few can master, but you're certainly doing a great job Seth!
I would take it from farther back but my camera isn't that nice, if I did that I would lose some focus. I will give that a go anyway and see how it goes, maybe it will turn out great! Thanks for the tips!

Great tips, i am lucky if i can get the salamanders in focus!:p
I can still occasionally have that problem....if I forget to turn my camera on to macro....:rolleyes:

Thanks for the compliments guys :happy: -Seth
 
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