Saturday, February 8, 2014

Newts, Salamanders and Frogs.

Just working around the yard I come across the occasional newt or salamander, I use this as a photo opportunity and a way to get out of some yard work.

Rough-skinned  Newts are toxic if  swallowed and can irritate the skin, Garter snakes in certain areas are immune to this toxin.

For photographing this newt, I grabbed some moss and and an old piece of wood to make a quick setup. Its best to work quick and to not stress the subject, if you do aggravate it they can let out a powerful toxin. Its always best to wash your hands before and after handling newts and salamanders.
Wandering Salamanders can be identified by there square toes, they feed climbing up into trees at night and lay eggs under bark and protect them till they hatch.
They have mottled coloring with bronze flecks.
I put piles of sticks and small logs in the garden for the salamanders and I do find eggs under the logs, I have small frog pond for the salamanders and frogs.

For the Wandering Salamander I found some fine moss to work as the backdrop, I setup in the shade and took a few pictures then placed it in a safe place, its best to place them back where you find them but if there in danger in that spot find somewhere where they have good cover.

Long-toed Salamanders breed in ponds in late winter, you will find there eggs the same time as the Pacific Chorus Frogs.

They can be identified by there orange stripe with black sides and the long fourth toe.
For this salamander I just used a backdrop of some fall colored leaves, the orange of the leaves works well with the color of the stripe and contrasts with the black of the body. I setup in the shade took a few pictures then found a safe place to put him.

The long-toed Salamander found on Vancouver island range all but the far north of B.C.. The larvae transform into terrestrial juveniles the first year except in colder climates where it can overwinter on or two times before metamorphose.
This newt larvae was the hardest, I made a small shooting box out of glass, filled it with filtered water and rinsed the rock of a few times before placing in the box, you have to have everything perfectly clean because at macro magnifications everything will show in the picture. I setup with my flashes for this one, one on the background and one with a softbox, I was in the shade. You have to wait till the subject moves into a good positions so it does take patience.

The first week in March with out freezing temperatures is when the Pacific Chorus frogs head for the ponds, they like still water that dries up in the summer, this way there are no fish to eat the eggs.
Sometimes I just come across frogs in the garden and I go get the camera like this picture, the one below I put the hip waders on and went into the pond, you have to stand still in the water for a bit before the frogs rise up again and start croaking.

Pacific Chorus Frogs can change there coloring, during the pond seasong they have darker greens to brown color. And the nice blue color around the eyes.
The young frogs can be found hunting during the summer, still small enough to fit on a blade of grass.
Northern Red-legged Frogs adults spend most of there time on land, during breeding season they move to shallow ponds and streams.
The Red-legged Frog pictures where see them in the yard then go get the camera opportunity, had to wait for the light to change to shade other wise there is too much contrast.
We were lucky enough to have a pair of Red-legged Frogs move into the yard this year, we have had them move through before but this pair hung around the ponds all summer.
You can see the red on the inside of the leg that they get there name from. There favorite hunting spot was on the Gunnera plant.



John Gordon said...

Excellent macro, hard to find and photograph subjects.

Linda said...

Great series of photos.