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
First of all you don’t need to be a professional photographer to get good results,
nor is it a case of the better the camera and equipment the better the photography.
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
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.
For information purposes all the photos on frogs-Watch were taken with a Canon G3
digital camera up until September 2005. The 4 mega pixels of the G3 are more than
adequate for most situations. The higher resolution photographs on frogs watch have
been reduced in size by 35% of the original image and are displayed at 662 x 496
pixels. After September 2005 the Canon EOS 350D has been used, again the higher resolution
photographs have been reduced in size by 35% of the original image and are displayed
at 1037 x 691 pixels. After 2009 Canon 40 D was used
Getting out there
Finally you need to get out as often as you can, you may take many shots in a session
and not get any images you are completely happy with, but as you gain experience
improvement will come.
For those who want to learn more about photography a quick search on Google will
result in many Web Pages and forums where you can gain knowledge and advice on all
aspects of photography
It is hoped that this guide will encourage others to further enjoy their garden pond.