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Toad of Toad Hall goes to an orgy!! 

Spring time for toads is very similar to that of frogs but there are some distinct differences. Over the years I have found that toads are always a week or two later and their choice of pond is far more traditional. I have also noticed that the ponds toads use is fairly large, frogs seem able to dump their spawn in virtually any wet patch, I have even see them use a large puddle on open moorland once.

Having worked on frogs earlier I made a plan to repeat the process with toads with hopefully an attempt to get split level shots again. In years past I would probably have carried this out by catching the toads and using a tank of clearer water from the pond that I had let settle overnight or even filtered. This does create nice images but they have a bit of a sanitised feel to them. This is something I increasingly notice with many images I see and a trap that I felt I was falling into to a bit too often. It’s a bit like the bird on a stick with the perfect background cliché. After a while all your images look the same, and the same as everyone else’s. I spent years trying to create this type of image, and still do to some extent but after a while I became a bit bored with it.

So back to the toads. I wanted to try to get a feel of what it was like in their underwater world, murk and all. However, if the water is very muddy then nothing can be seen and it’s all a bit pointless. I found that even after a period of no rain most ponds don’t actually have clear water, it sort of looks clear but that is often because I am looking only at a few inches of depth at the shallow margins. Put the camera in the water and look across the pond and that clarity rapidly becomes murky. I also found that I could only manage reasonable images if it was bight sunshine, this picks the toads out well, dull light was exactly that, dull!

After a couple of days, and only one with any decent sunshine plus a cricked neck from lying on the side of a muddy pond for hours I finally managed a set of images I was happy with. None are clean, they all have, I hope, that feel of realism, an insight into the underwater life of Mr Toad at his spring orgy.