Photo skills: How I took this image of frogs mating

Wildlife Photographer of the Year finalist Anton Lilja reveals how he captured his winning shot. 

The Long Embrace by Anton Lilja, Sweden
© Anton Lilja


Anton Lilja was the successor in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 category ‘15-17 Years’ with his beautiful shot ‘The Long Embrace’.

The Swedish photographer visited a flooded gravel pit near his home in Västerbotten and lay down on the bank to capture this mating spectacle at eye level.

Anton says, “There were a lot of frogs around and they can stay in this position for a few days so it was the perfect place to get some good shots.”

As shown in ‘The Long Embrace’, when mating a male will hold onto the female in a position known as amplexus until she releases her eggs for fertilisation.

Anton experimented with his flash in an effort to illustrate the light dancing on the spawn at the water’s surface. “I used my camera’s TTL (through-the-lens metering) mode so I could focus more on the composition and not so much on the flash,” says the young photographer.

He added, “I also took the picture in direct sunlight so the flash illuminates the frogs but also created the reflections in the spawn.”

Equipment specification Nikon D2X + 70-200mm f2.8 lens + 1.4x teleconverter; 1/500 sec at f6.3; ISO 200; Nikon SB-800 Speedlight flash.


  • Experiment with the various flashes and other settings on your camera to help you find new ways to capture a moment.
  • Get out into the field and photograph as much as you can.
  • Have lots of patience.
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