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How I Got the Green Frog Shot

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

I captured this image of a green frog near Fundy National Park earlier this summer, and I've received lots of questions about it, asking how I got the shot.

A close up shot of a green frog in a lake. The frog is looking straight at the camera.
Aperture: ƒ/3.5 – Shutter: 1/2000 – ISO 800 – Focal Length: 35mm

It's pretty simple. I put on a wide angle lens (the Canon 16-35mm) that I borrowed from my friend, because I had not brought my wide angle lens with me that day. I knew I wanted to blur the background, so I set it to a pretty wide aperture and set my ISO to the mid-range with a fast shutter speed. I set the lens to 35mm, positioned myself in front of the frog, my toes near where the water started (my shoes were still on, so I was being careful not to get wet).

I did not want to shoot at an angle, looking down... I wanted to be looking straight at the frog and capture the trees in the far background. So I got down super low. The bottom of the lens was just a few millimetres from the water, and I aimed straight at the frog. I slowly brought the lens forward, getting closer and closer... until I felt like I was starting to push my luck. I snapped a few shots, and then left the frog alone. Luckily, I didn't scare it away.

I did a few exposure and contrast adjustments in Lightroom, as well as a few local adjustments to boost the saturation and texture on the frog. I also did a bit of cropping. Pretty simple edit.

The Other Shot

I also shot a horizontal version of this image, which would have looked great if that rock to the right had not been there. For this shot, I used a wider angle in order to capture the maximum amount of the frog's environment... but doing so made the depth a field a bit larger, and it made that twig or branch that's going through the frame a bit more apparent, and it annoyed me. That rock to the right also was a bit of a distraction, so for that reason, I chose to go with the vertical shot at 35mm.

In wildlife photography, I try as much as possible to shoot at eye level... and sometimes, that means getting down in the mud and getting dirty. This is a rare case where I actually got close to the animal, but I went slow and managed to not stress the frog in any way.

It makes for a fun, somewhat unique image. My kids had a good laugh when I showed it to them. I love that there's a dead fly right next to it... it's almost as if it's saving a snack for later!


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