On mild, damp nights in March, toads and frogs emerge from hibernation driven by an urgent desire to pass on their genes to the next generation, and make for their ancestral breeding ponds. Under cover of darkness they embark on arduous journeys, crawling through undergrowth, climbing obstacles and often crossing busy roads. It’s an epic and dramatic annual migration that happens right on our doorsteps every spring, so stake out your local pond or locate a crossing point, and keep your camera at the ready.
ABSTRACT SPAWN – Clumps of frogspawn or strings of toadspawn make great photographic subjects in themselves – crop in as close as possible and concentrate on the shapes and patterns to create an abstract image. Experiment with the light at different times of day and try using a polarising filter to control reflections. Remember that the appearance of spawn doesn’t mean you’ve missed the migration -more amphibians should be arriving over the coming nights.
TOAD ON THE ROAD – Here a close-focusing, wide-angle lens captures character, and the scene-setting background tells a story. Toads often pause to rest on their journeys, allowing for long exposures – here a torch was used to light the animal and tarmac, and the shutter left open for 30 seconds to capture the distant city lights.
TOAD TERRITORY – Shots of amphibians in their watery world can be very striking. You can use underwater housings and play with partially submerged tanks but the easiest way is to enclose your SLR in a waterproof bag and simply dunk it. Angle your tilting LCD screen up to compose the image, or just point, shoot and hope for the best. Make the most of the diffused light and avoid disturbing the sediment.