9 Incredible Frogs of the Amazon Rainforest

The rainforest is alive. There’s no doubt about it. We all know that it is home to an unthinkable number of different species of animal, all of which have their own unique designs. This year I spent 10 unforgettable weeks in the Amazon Rainforest in Manú, Peru. My mission was to document the biodiversity of regenerating forests, and oh boy was I surprised – even the areas that were previously completely logged are thriving (having been undisturbed since)!

I brought with me a white box (a small, portable studio) with the aim of photographing different reptiles and amphibians within it. Using flashes to light the scene, I was able to isolate different animals against a white background. This removes them from their environment, and allows us to appreciate an animal solely for its own design.

(Phyllomedusa vaillanti)
Phyllomedusa vaillanti
Phyllomedusa camba
Phyllomedusa camba


Tree frogs have got to be my favourite frog to photograph. They have huge eyes and brilliant colours – not to mention the fact that they move slowly and don’t jump very much!

Dendropsophus parviceps
Dendropsophus parviceps
Manu Poison Dart Frog
Manú Poison Dart Frog

In contrast, these two frogs were extremely jumpy. At one point I found myself chasing the poison dart frog around the project room (where I was photographing them) trying to catch it. It’s important that we don’t let them escape so that we can release them exactly where we found them later on.

Scinax garbei
Scinax garbei
Oreobates quixensis
Oreobates quixensis

Some of the frogs had really interesting markings and disguises. The Scinax garbei looked like a mini crocodile, and the Oreobates quixensis was covered in incredible warts and bumps to camouflage itself.

Glass Frog
Glass Frog

A particularly interesting frog to photograph was the glass frog that was found in one of the rivers a few kilometres from our base camp. Its skin is translucent, allowing you to see its organs and green bones. You can even see the blood vessels wrapped around the bones! I photographed this frog on glass, with a black backdrop, and 3 flash guns to light it.

Pristimantis reichlei
Pristimantis reichlei
Rhinella margaritifera
South American Common Toad (Rhinella margaritifera)

But what struck me most about photographing these frogs in a studio scenario was the detail that was brought out in their eyes. The use of flash in a (relatively) controlled environment meant that I could really nail the focus on the eyes. Zooming in, there are all sorts of patterns and markings within the eye – they are just incredible!

If you want to try doing something similar, get yourself one of these handy pop-up white boxes.


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