Every year Monsoon brings joy & rejuvenates life in the Indian-subcontinent. For me it’s the time to explore the Western ghats as it comes to life with arrival of Monsoon. Like last many years this year also during June-July months, I spend 21 nights at various locations in Westernghats. Other then documenting about 30 endemic species of frogs , and also I try to co-relate elements of Monsoon like rain, water, night and amphibians and created series of images this monsoon which are especial to me. Here I am sharing best 10 photos I creates this monsoon and story behind these images. Some of these photographs were well thought like “frog & star trail” but some are result of on-field favourable conditions like “Frog & Milky way”
Frog & Rain
Night frog or wrinkled frog is endemic to Western Ghats and about 50 species of such frogs can be seen across Western Ghats. Their size varies from as tiny as thumb to as big as palm and can be seen in or around forest or plantation streams. Here I tried to correlated monsoon rain & frog, used torch light as backlight to illuminate rain drops and very slow shutter speed to create curtain of water. Also placed external flash at perpendicular direction to get details in frog.
Camera Gear: Canon 5D M3; Canon 100mm Macro lens; Exposure 1/10 sec; f/16 ; ISO 200; External flash 580EXII (-2/3)
Frog & Star trail
To get an open sky during monsoons in the Western ghats is rare. On this ocassion, I was waiting around breeding pond of Malabar gliding frog, hoping for some activity. However that weekend the monsoon was weak and there was no sign of rain for last 2 days. Just 2 male frogs where sitting and hoping for a female to appear. Seeing stars in sky the thought of creating a star trail with the frog as the foreground subject came to my mind. Somehow I managed to get some open sky between tree canopy. The Star trail was not as prominent as thin clouds were passing in between, none the less I was excited to try this out in the present setting. This photograph is staking of 55 photos. First photo I took with focus on frog and flash ON. After that 50plus photo of 25sec exposure with gap of 5sec in-between with focus on Stars (Infinity)
Camera Gear: Canon 5D M3; Canon 24-70mm lens at 24mm; Exposure 25 sec; f/4 ; ISO 800; External flash 580EXII (-2/3) for first shot only
Frog & Waterfall
It was clear sky this day, I got this Golden frog near waterfall. As to create such milky waterfall, one need time to setup tripod, flash etc. But to my luck it got freeze, as some time reptiles or amphibians do. so I thought of capturing silky waterfall using 3 stop ND & circular polarizer. I had enough time to compose & create few images. I used off camera flash at -3 EC from my left shoulder side, to set details on frog.
Camera Gear: Canon 5DM3; lens canon 24-70 at 55mm ; Exposure 0.4sec; f/22; ISO 100, 1 No’s external flash 580EXII (-3).
Torrent - Frog
Saxicola Torrent frog also known as Dancing frogs, No they don't really dance but it’s actually a unique breeding behaviour called foot-flagging. They stretch, extend and whip their legs out to the side to draw the attention of females who might have trouble hearing mating croaks over the sound of water flowing through perennial hill streams. I wanted to document them in their habitat, but couldn’t use wider angle as they being too shy. I used external flash and slow shutter speed to show water torrent at background.
Camera Gear: Canon 5D M3; Canon 100mm Macro lens; Exposure 0.5sec; f/32 ; ISO 100; External flash 580EXII (-1 1/3)
Creating Silhouette is always fun, with no natural source of light in night, I used a torch beam under the leaf, Exposing for the bright leaf while keeping the focus on the frog.
Camera Gear: Canon 5D M3; Canon 100mm Macro lens; Exposure 1/40 sec; f/6.3 ; ISO 1600; camera mounted to tripod
Idea was to highlight details in Vocal Sac of this beautiful Jayarami Bush Frog. I placed torch light under leaf to create this effect and very low powered flash from 90 degree right side to define outline of frog. Had I placed flash on left side, it would have created hotspot on Vocal Sac.
Camera Gear: Canon 5D M3; Canon 100mm Macro lens; Exposure 1/15 sec; f/16 ; ISO 100; External flash 580EXII (-1 2/3)
Frog & glitters
In this image I try to correlated monsoon rain and frog, here I used flash as main backlight source so that it freeze water drops to create glitters, another slave flash is placed at 90 degree left to get detail on frog.
Camera Gear: Canon 5DM3; lens canon 100mm Macro ; Exposure 1/8 sec; f/16; ISO 400, 2 No’s external flash (580EXII & 420EX)
Frog & flow
Night /wrinkled frog usually seen around slow flowing forest streams. I wanted to capture them along their natural habitat. I placed few LED light source to create ambient light around the frog. External flash and slow shutter to create silky water flow around.
Camera Gear: Canon 5D M3; Canon 100mm Macro lens; Exposure 6 sec; f/11 ; ISO 640; EC (-2/3)
Frog & Milkyway
I was sitting alone in dark near water tank hopping for some activity by Malabar gliding frog and gazing in night sky. As my eyes got adjusted to darkness, I saw much brighter sky on south-east direction. Between thick rainforest canopy I can see part of milky way. But somehow I manage to compose frog and Milky Way in single frame through tree canopy. Here I first focused on frog and used torch light to get detail of frog, them while exposure was ON, shifted focus to infinity for another 25 Sec.
Camera Gear: Canon 5DM3; lens canon 24-70 at 24 mm ; Exposure 30Sec; f/4 ; ISO 1250.
Portrait of Frog
I wanted to create unique portrait of frog at. I placed external flash at perpendicular angle such that half side of frog get illuminated by it.
Camera Gear: Canon 5DM3; lens canon 100mm Macro ; Exposure 1/6 sec; 11; ISO 100, External flash 580EXII.
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