From the Archives: Great leap for frogkind

The original caption reported, “Denny Matasci, holder of world frog-jumping record, cheers on his champion, E. Davey Croakett, in what clearly is a giant leap for frogkind. Sadly, Davey’s jump fell short of victory.”

Croakett won the 1976 competition with the then-world-record 20-f00t, 3-inch jump. In 1981, Croakett, like many aging champions, croaked, failing to place.

Nearly 40.000 attended the 1981 contest in Angels Camp, Calif., watching 2,675 frogs a-leaping. ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” jumped in with a 10-minute segment.

Los Angeles Times photographer Bob Chamberlin spent an entire day shooting the jumping competition. He isolated the frogs from the crowded site with a 400 f/4.5 telephoto lens. Using a Nikon F2 film camera, Chamberlin exposed Tri-X film at 1/500th a second.

“I concentrated on getting a tight shot,” Chamberlin says, “with shallow depth of field.”

Chamberlin’s frog image won a 1982 National Headliners Award.

“I had a fun free trip to Atlantic City,” Chamberlin says.

This post was originally published on Sep. 15, 2010.

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