Saturday, March 25, 2023

American Toad


A burly American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) levels an inscrutable stare at the cameraman. Many of the warty amphibians were on the move last Thursday night in Logan County, Ohio. That night was fairly warm and rainy and there were many frogs out and about as well. It won't be long, and the male toads will be singing from breeding pools. Their sonorous trills are a classic sound of spring. You're sure to eventually receive a positive karmic reward for helping a toad - and other amphibians. When they're crossing a road, as this one was, if possible, move them to the side they're heading for and well off the road.

PHOTO NOTES: The Canon R5 has made shots such as this easier. I've spent many hours over the years lying prone on wet roads and other substrates, to get on the same level as comparatively elfin subjects such as this toad. I don't have any real aversion to that, it comes with the turf. On the other hand, if you don't have to, why?

The R5 has a fold-out articulating rear screen, and that feature combined with its ability to set the camera so that a simple touch of the screen - where you want the focus point to be - instantly sets focus and takes the shot. So, in a case like this image, I just set the camera on the ground, screen folded out and angled up for perfect viewing, frame the subject, touch the eye of the subject (on the screen) and Voila! A nice eye-level image and the photographer remains undampened. As it was late at night and very dark, the Canon MT-24 Twin Lite flashes provided light. I really like this flash rig, which has pre-lights to provide enough illumination to find and focus on the subject before pulling the trigger. That way, no cumbersome flashlight is required, or the need to have someone else hold a flashlight on your subject.

Settings were f/14, ISO 400, and 1/200 of a second shutter speed. Smaller apertures - I'm usually at f/13 to f/16 for nocturnal amphibian work - are important to get good depth of field.

1 comment:

Jack and Brenda said...

It sure is loud around our house lately! My daughter had a good toad story this week. She teaches 2nd grade in Logan (Hocking County). About 10:00 am, a little girl reached in her pocket and pulled out a toad. She said that she picked it up at the bus stop earlier (at 7:30), but forgot all about it. It must of looked pretty rough, but after an hour of pampering, it looked normal, and they released it at lunch time.