As a conservation photographer and storyteller, I want to inspire and educate others about the beauty of the natural world and to advocate for the protection of our environment and wildlife. My unique style of photographing wildlife involves capturing my subjects in a way that will draw viewers in and showcase the inherent majesty and spirit of those species. In late summer 2020, I visited the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia, looking for frogs that inhabit the ponds. This American bullfrog was hanging out underneath a pine tree next to a small pond. While there, my vision to bring common species into the spot light prompted me to focus on the frogs I found at or around the pond. By the end of the session, I had created this image of American Bullfrog Sitting on Pine Needles which was selected as a Top 250 image in NANPA’s 2022 Showcase Competition and in the 2022 Expressions journal.
How I got the shot
That day, I walked over to an area near a little pond and underneath some trees. It’s a place where a variety of frogs are known to hang out. On this particular morning, I found this one American bullfrog sitting outside the pond on a layer of pine needles, which provided wonderful contrast to the frog’s green and mottled coloring. With my camera and lens in hand, I quickly and quietly positioned myself to the side of where the bullfrog sat. Slowly, I lowered myself to the ground at a respectable distance from the bullfrog, so as not to disturb it. Once in a prone position, using the ground as a stabilizing support, I focused on my subject, allowing my low position to create eye contact between myself and the frog. Since I was in low light conditions, I used a very shallow depth of field. That allowed me to not only bring in as much light as I could but also to create an image with pleasing bokeh in both the foreground and background. It set my subject in its environment without clutter and provided an unusual and intimate image of an American bullfrog.
What I used
Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera with Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens, handheld against the ground. My camera settings were 1/20 second, f/8, ISO 800.