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Photographing Wildlife

To encourage wild life to your garden can in its self be rewarding in benefits and enjoyment. Photography can add another dimension to this experience and create a visual record of visitors.

Although frogs are our subject in this guide about how photographs like those in the galleries on Frogs-Watch can be taken, you could easily apply the knowledge to other creatures.

For your camera you may consider extra equipment, tripod, lenses, external flash etc but although this equipment can be of great help it is not a must and most of the photographs on frogs-watch where taken without any other equipment.

 The use of a tripod can be of help especially in lower light to steady the camera. Laying the tripod flat takes you to ground level, in this way, with care you can also extend the tripod and camera over the pond a little way to gain a better positioning for a shot.

In using your camera spend some time getting to know its settings. Using the auto setting in your digital camera can yield good results. For those with manual settings, when hand held a shutter speed of 1/125 is ok for shots involving a little movement were 1/250 will capture a greater movement. The aperture set close to 2.0 reducing the depth of field will blur the background setting it high 8.0 will make just about everything clear. In low light auto focus can be a problem but can be over come by setting the focus distance manually. Many digitals have the advantage of letting you take three pictures at once one normal one underexposed and one overexposed and as in the case of the G3 when capturing images in RAW (the cameras own image format) as a posed to JPG or TIFFS the white balance can be adjusted digitally.

Consideration should be paid to the environment, frogs like damp conditions which is not the best environment for most cameras. Wearing the wrist strap or the neck strap as a habit can save your camera a dunking.

 Take your time. Learn how to approach your subject learning their habits and nature by observation will enable you to predetermine your position. In the case of the frogs they will tolerate your presence and don’t seem to mind the camera too much but don’t like sudden movement or movement above them so approaching at ground level is best.

In the early months of the year when frogs are breeding wrap up warm as you may be spending sometime in cold damp conditions, water proofs are a good idea. You may need to lie prone for some time to get the shot you want.

Encourage your frogs creating a suitable environment, frogs will breed in most garden ponds without to much consideration, but you can greatly improve their lot and improve the photographic setting in a few simple ways. Presuming that you already have a pond make sure there is adequate plant cover, both in and around the pond. Laying log piles can look attractive creating cover and a place for the frogs to spend the winter. Unused plant pots turned on their side or Patio plant pots can be placed on legs for a damp refuge in a flag stoned space.