I only have to walk a few blocks away from my house to find vernal pools; in the early springtime when they fill with rainwater, I can hear the Pacific chorus frogs singing their breeding calls, even with all the doors and windows of my house shut.
This tiny pool is another matter. We happened upon it as we hiked down to the Pioneer Express Trail at Folsom Lake. I could hear the frogs long before we spotted the pool; of course, they fell silent, one by one, as they sensed our approach, so by the time I got close enough to actually see the water, hidden in a small depression beside the trail, all was quiet and there were no frogs to be seen. I promised myself that when I returned along that trail I’d creep up on the frogs from below their line of sight and maybe I’d have better luck.
But there was another problem. For this particular outing, I had decided to leave my heavy 150-600mm zoom lens at home and use the much smaller 75-300mm lens. That seriously decreased my chances of capturing sharp images of these wary little croakers. I would need to be very sneaky!
Even though my pictures didn’t come out all that great, I’m actually really pleased. That’s because I was shooting blindly at the area of the pool, without seeing even one frog until I got home and was able to enlarge the images on my computer. I was fairly sure I would end up with just a handful of blurry photos — but out of the six pictures I shot, only one was a complete miss. In some of the photos, I can even see some frogs with their vocal sacs inflated. I’d still love to go back and try again with a longer lens, but in the meantime, here are the results of my first attempt, with arrows added so you won’t have to hunt quite so hard.