The long embrace
When Anton heard that masses of common frogs had gathered in a flooded gravel pit near his home in Västerbotten, Sweden, he set out to photograph the mating spectacle. Male frogs need to fertilise the female’s eggs the moment they leave her body – once the eggs hit the water, the surrounding jelly swells to form frogspawn, making fertilisation impossible. To make sure he’s there at the right moment, the male grasps its mate in a tight embrace, known as amplexus. Amplexus often lasts for days, with the male holding onto the female until it has laid her eggs. Lying down on the bank at eye level with the water, Anton became fascinated by the light bouncing off the frogspawn and the water, now vibrating with the activity of the frogs. Experimenting with his flash, he achieved the effect he wanted just as a pair of frogs bobbed in front of the camera. They stayed in position amid the glossy frogspawn, allowing Anton time to compose his shot.
Nikon D2X + 70–200mm f2.8 lens + 1.4x teleconverter; 1/500 sec at f6.3; ISO 200; Nikon SB-800 Speedlight flash.
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Anton Lilja, Sweden
Anton spends as much time outdoors in nature as his studies allow. He enjoys trekking and mountain biking as well as searching for subjects to photograph. His motivation for taking pictures is to share with other people all the fantastic things he sees. He is keen to take more pictures that reveal nature in new ways.