Stop Bugging Me!

WARNING: Do not continue reading this post if you are entomophobic or arachnophobic.

I saw some macro shots. I liked them. I liked them very much although I am not a fan of arthropods. Okay, I loved them! And so I signed up with Lee, who guided me on macro photography – a practical workshop he conducted on 21st March 2014, 7.30pm, at Dairy Farm Nature Park.

Macro In Singapore

Hairy Jumper – Jumping Spiders may be the easiest to recognise spiders with a very distinctive, flat-faced, big-eyed appearance that is difficult to confuse with other breed of spiders.

Jumping Spider ( Hyllus Sp )

Orange Jaw Jumper (Jumping Spider). Haha, you can see my diffuser in its eyes, those bright boxy lights.

Macro In Singapore

According to Peter, this is a very rare Orange Long-Horn Beetle!
The longhorn beetles are a cosmopolitan family of beetles, typically characterized by extremely long antennae, which are often as long as or longer than the beetle’s body.

Macro In Singapore

Ordinary Baby Longhorn Beetle.

Macro In Singapore

Fungi Beetle.

Macro In Singapore

Praying Mantis.
Are all green mantis female?

Macro In Singapore


Macro In Singapore


Scorpion (UV Light)

Scorpions are detected by scanning the area with UV lights.
When exposed to UV light, it becomes luminous.
This shot was taken without flash.

Macro In Singapore

Could be a Banded Forest Snail.

Macro In Singapore

Common Caterpillar found easily in nature parks.

Macro Spider

This Spider is found at night and its colour is the same as the brown leaves it hangs on.
I was very surprised to see the pink-crocheted body caught on camera.
It is super duper small being the length of my small pinky nail kept short (3-5mm?).
When I asked Peter for its name, he replied, “Spider that come out at night.”
Someone online helped me identify it as Laglaise’s Garden Spider (Eriovixia laglaisei).

Harvestman (Opiliones)

Opiliones are an order of arachnids commonly known as harvestmen.
They are colloquially known as “daddy longlegs” or “granddaddy longlegs” because of its long legs in comparison to its body.

My first try at macro photography last Friday was exciting and frustrating at the same time. It was frustrating because I am not a patient person. My hands and body were shaking making it more difficult to focus. By the time I got to see the bugs through the magnified lens, damned insects would start to turn away or fly off. I wanted to shout and curse at them! I did not get to shoot frogs or snakes that night, only insects classified as arthropods. All animals in the phylum Arthropoda have exoskeletons, segmented bodies, and at least three pairs of legs.

My children refused to see the creepy crawlers. They chorused, “Stop bugging me!” when I persisted. I thought these creatures looked rather cute and cartoony when magnified, with all their glorious colours in full bloom. Ryan saw and commented that although he doesn’t care much for “pests”, my photos were great. Was he trying to score points? Lol… I am flattered and happy, of course. I have never been so up close and personal with bugs before and this could just be the beginning…

The equipments I used on that night was Canon EOS 550D, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens, Raynox DCR 250, a custom made filter for my speedlight Canon EX 580 and an extra foamy filter.

Click on the photos below to view some commentary of equipments used (torchlight and insect repellant are recommended):

The Raynox DCR-250 is a conversion lens that can be snap-on to existing lens with diameter of 52 – 67mm, and allows some extreme macro shots with a magnification of 8 diopter. It is very useful for small insects. By small, I mean around 10mm and below. The main lens (in this case, the Canon EF 100mm) was set at 1:1 magnification and had to be returned to that setting each time the lens went on hunting mode (it is hard to focus in the dark) or if I needed to focus on a new subject. Bigger subjects like scorpion and snake, however, do not need the Raynox conversion lens.

Macro photography is very challenging, at least for me. One has to be prepared to go in search for a subject. Heavy equipments are carried and shots taken without tripod. My arms and body ached. I was perspiring 10 minutes into the practice shots at the shelter before we even head out into the dark forest. In short, one has to be prepared as if going into war. What if you get bitten by poisonous creatures? Whilst on my knees to take a snap shot of the praying mantis, I got stung by an ant. Ant that sting? Yes, it was gigantic and had pincers!

About 10 minutes after I got bitten, which was by then approximately 4 hours since I arrived at the nature park, May called and asked if I wanted to do dinner. A grateful “Yes” was my answer! The rest of the macro enthusiasts stayed back. 15 minutes later, I was sitting comfortably along Bukit Timah Road sipping on a tall cool glass of lime juice waiting for my steaming bowl of…

Want to know the name of this dish? You'll have to see tomorrow's post.

Want to know the name of this dish?
You’ll have to see tomorrow’s post.

There’s also a lot to learn after the macro workshop, like the names of the bugs. Peter was the one who helped me in that department – naming these insects for my post.

Thank you very much Peter Lee! I am honoured to be your student. It gave me great pleasure to achieve this level of macro photography on my first attempt. Talk about instant gratification! And you being my Sifu gives me the chance to start bugging you for photography tips 😉

And my hat’s off to all macro photographers!

Lee has been photographing since 1987. If you are interested in macro workshops conducted by Peter Lee, you may contact him at (+65) 9634 0805.

Happy discovering 🙂

If Mondays are blue, I hope this post tickle you pink!

Peter said, “If you don’t see your subject, they are probably on your filter or camera.”

Don’t freak out now… Keep calm and hold onto your camera 😉

6 Responses to “Stop Bugging Me!”
  1. renxkyoko says:

    Aaaargh ! More like Eeeeeeek ! Go back to food, Sam. I beg you !

  2. Lignum Draco says:

    Peter said, “If you don’t see your subject, they are probably on your filter or camera.”
    I would add, “or maybe in your food”. LOL 🙂

    You’re quite the photographer now. I’ll be booking lessons with you some day. 🙂

  3. laurasmess says:

    Oh my gosh!! These photos are amazing Sam!! I am so impressed. Sorry to hear that you got bitten by that dreaded ant, they can definitely hurt like crazy but I do think the pain was worth it for your photos! Amazing post. Thanks for sharing these with us x

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