What will you be?

Last year I spotted a lot of amphibian eggs in a vernal pool off the Ice Age Trail in Lincoln county, WI. These were too undeveloped to tell what they are, but most likely wood frog or spotted salamander. They really are that blue - no color sliders were hurt during processing.

Vernal pools are hugely important bits of habitat for all kinds of creatures and whenever I get a chance to sit by one, I do. Most people only hear them, but that’s a treat, too. Focusing down into water is a challenge and can be helped by a polarizer, but it depends on the light. This was early April and well before bud break so no leaves were present, but ephemerals like hepatica were in bloom. Few clouds.

If you look closely on the water’s surface you can see larvae/nymphs of something - not sure what. Any entomologists out there??

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If I hadn’t said what it was, I hope you could tell (you’re all nature people after all). I tried to keep some of the environment, but it was messy so I cropped a lot. Too much? This year if I find some of these (I can always go back to this spot) I’ll try focus stacking with them and see if I can get down into the egg masses. But for now this is a single image.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Lumix G9
Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f2.8 @ 100mm (200mm equiv.)
f/8 | 1/50 sec | ISO 200
Handheld - I think. Possibly I had it on the tripod, but I can’t remember.

Lr processed for a big crop, radial filters over the egg masses to darken the background - also quite a bit of dehaze & some wb correction (tannic water is super hard to get right). Sharpening & NR.

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Kris, the wood frog eggs around here have black centers, so I doubt that these are wood frog egg masses. They do show very well here and the blueness of the “whites” is striking (something to watch for). Your comp. shows off the eggs as well as the underwater leaves. The nymphs are a nice extra, but I’m clueless as to their ID.

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Hi Kris,

These look like spotted salamander eggs and like other Ambystoma species, they lay their eggs as soon as vernal ponds thaw. My only suggestion would be to use a polarizing filter to reduce the reflections at the water surface. Other than that, a wonderful subject for early spring nature photography. Well done…Jim

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Thanks guys. It was a neat find. There were other eggs in the same pool.

Hi Kris, such a cool find! The egg masses simply glow; I wonder if they’re visible at night, ha ha. Your composition works well; it wouldn’t be a vernal pool without being a bit messy. As Jim said, polorizing filters can enhance water shots a lot, but you don’t seem to have lots of glare here anyway. Are those really metal screws in there too?

Do you mean the tiny things on the surface? Those are some kind of insect nymph I think. Not sure what though.

Amazing, they look just like wood screws. I was wondering where the mentioned nymphs were, lol.