I went to the Norfolk Botanical Garden to photograph some flowers last week. After arriving at the garden and photographing some flowers, I heard a bullfrog calling. Of course, my instinct is to follow the call and check it out since wildlife photography is so much a part of me. In the pond behind the Sara Lee Baker Perennial Garden, I found a very large bullfrog hanging out in the pond. So, I switched gears from flowers to wildlife, and luckily, I had my 55-200mm lens with me so that I was able to switch gears and focus on photographing the bullfrog. As I always say, you have to be prepared for anything when going on a photo shoot, at least for me, as I am a diversified photographer with lots of different subject interests.
After walking over to the pond from the perennial garden area, I discovered the bullfrog was in the water. Its head was just above the surface of the water, and the bullfrog looked very photogenic. In fact, the bullfrog was very cooperative and let me take pictures of it for quite a long time.
Once I located the bullfrog in the pond, I quickly changed my camera settings from those for flower photography to those for wildlife photography. I knew I would need more shutter speed and the widest aperture I could get to blur the background of the water as much as possible. I increased my ISO to 800 and got a shutter speed of around 1/100 to 1/250, and my aperture was around f/6.3. I first tried using my tripod, but I really wanted to get lower down to the ground and just decided to hand hold my camera while photographing the bullfrog. Of course, I was not expecting to be doing this type of photography so I had on a nicer pair of tan shorts and did not want to get them really dirty by lying flat on the pine needles and dirt ground. Therefore, I got down on all fours so that I could photograph the bullfrog at eye level. I kept my camera and lens as steady as possible in this position.
While in that position taking pictures, I kept noticing in my viewfinder that the background had some distractions, such as light hitting the pond or floating debris in the pond, so, I kept moving around trying to find the best angle and position to get the image of the bullfrog that I was envisioning. I also started changing some of my camera settings and dropping my ISO to 400. In my wildlife photography, when I take pictures of my subjects, I really like the blurred background look, and this is what I was trying to achieve with the bullfrog. Although during the first part of photographing the bullfrog while it was in the water, I was not able to fully blur the water, but I kept all the distractions of the light hitting the water and the debris minimal by constantly moving around on the ground changing my position. After about 30 minutes or so, I decided to get up off the ground and take a break on a bench nearby.
After a short break, I checked on the bullfrog again, and it was now sitting on the wall edge of the pond. I grabbed my camera and lens and went back to photographing the bullfrog. Again, I got down on all fours and took pictures of the very cooperative bullfrog in various different positions. I was now able to get the bullfrog’s whole body in my frame and captured over 100 images of the bullfrog that morning. Eventually, after a few minutes of photographing the bullfrog out of the water, it quickly jumped back into the water, and my photo shoot of that very photogenic bullfrog ended.
I then found a second bullfrog with its head just above the surface of the water and photographed it for a while before the sunlight started hitting the nose area of the bullfrog. I adjusted my exposure compensation quite a bit, but I kept getting that blown out area on the bullfrog.
The pond was pretty much shaded as it is located under a big tree. We had arrived at the Norfolk Botanical Garden when it opened at 9:00 a.m. So, the lighting was pretty good except for some sunlight hitting the water through the trees. I now will most definitely check this pond area out each time we go to the garden. We go almost weekly, but I had never actually seen a frog hanging out above the water there before.
I wanted to share some of my photos of the bullfrog as I really got so many great looks and pictures.
Hope you enjoy the bullfrog pictures. Let me know what you think of these pictures.
Thank you for taking the time to view and read my blog.
All the very best,
Lori A. Cash
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