Photo hop

Shy subjects sometimes challenge photographers. I've gotten pretty good at helping the human ones feel comfortable in front of my lens, but a reluctant Australian amphibian was another story. I needed to photograph the nocturnal cane toad for an environmental story. Every evening, the toads came out in droves, but during the day, they hid. I asked our wonderful bird-watching guide, ornithologist Del Richards, if he could help me find one. Del enlisted his friends to help, too. They searched under decks, garbage cans, bushes, and children's toys - to no avail. When we stopped for lunch in Julatten, a town in Queensland, tavern owner Greg Skinner joined the hunt. Soon Del and Greg returned with triumphant grins on their faces. A toad had been captured under a flowerpot. My subject, though, was not happy about this and definitely not ready for his close-up. I lay down on the ground and got my camera ready, then Del lifted off the flowerpot and coaxed the toad into position with a stick. The toad put up with this for several minutes while I fired away, my macro lens only inches from his face. Then he launched himself at my camera. Photo shoot over.

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