Best 10 Nature Images of 2016

At the end of the last 2 year, I enjoyed going through my photos and picking my favourite nature images.  It’s a fun exercise but I didn’t manage to do it on time this year. It is almost 3 months late!

While I still enjoyed macro photography, 2016 was my least active year since I took up this hobby in 2007!  With fewer shootings, it is normal that I don’t have many great photos. Only 10 images made the list this year!

#1 – Cousins of Hoppers

Grasshoppers and katydid are related and belong to the Order Orthoptera (meaning “straight wings”).  Although they were probably cousins, it was an unusual moment to find them resting happily on the same dewy perch.

img_9502

| F16, 1/4s, ISO 400, fill flash |

#2 – Change

It is not uncommon to see moulting of leaf-footed bug but this one stands out for the nice colour contrast which is really pleasing to the eyes.

img_9603

| F11, 1/40s, ISO 400, fill flash |

#3 – Complicated Relationship

This is not a fantastic photo but I like it because it is really rare to find three giant millipedes doing some kind of business together.  Were there mating or what?

img_9568

| F8, 1/25s, ISO 800, fill flash |

#4 – Sex competition

Mating leaf beetles at Zhenghua Forest is quite a common sight. On 16 April 2016, there were at least 10 pairs within a radius of one metre.  We were delighted to spot 2 pairs on the same perch.  It was a real challenge to get both couples in sharp focus. I am glad this image turns out well.

img_0270

| F16, 1/30s, ISO 400, Fill Flash |

#5 – In Love with Tawny Coster

Butterfly is one of the most difficult subjects to shoot as they do not stay at a position for more than a few seconds.  The best time to shoot them is when they are mating.  I was fortunate to get this beautiful pair with clean background.

img_1241

| F11, 1/20s, ISO 400, fill flash |

#6 – Mating Ladybirds

The strong sunlight at the back helps to bring out the details and lines of the leaf which makes this shot interesting.

img_2729a

| F22, 1/20s, ISO 400, Fill Flash |

#7 – Katydids Love Flowers

Two katydid nymphs enjoying their favorite breakfast.  A LED light was placed behind to get a backlighting effect.

IMG_2976

| F16, 1/20s, ISO 400, Fill Flash with backlighting |

#8 – Mushrooms Crossing

It was interesting to watch this caterpillar crossing from one mushroom to another. It can crawl pretty fast and I was surprised that it could hold its body in midair for a few seconds during the crossing as demonstrated in this photo.

img_4871a

| F8, 1/20s, ISO 400, Fill Flash |

#9 – Rob and Fly

Robber flies are also called assassin flies.  They are impressive predators that specialize in hunting almost all flying insects including this poor long-legged fly.  They have always been my favourite subjects but I have not shot them with prey for a fairly long time.  Glad to add this one in my collection.

img_4424

| F8, 1/15s, ISO 400, Fill Flash |

#10 – Luminuous Mushrooms

This a just an ordinary photo of a small cluster of luminuous mushrooms known as Mycena manipularis.   I have included here as it has been on my shooting wishlist since 2009!

img_2740

| F16, 30s, ISO 400, natural light |

That’s all folks!

6/2014 – NTU Hiking Trail (16 Feb 2014)

During yesterday’s outing at Singapore Botanic Gardens, Ser Yong shared with us a potential macro site somewhere near Nanyang Technological University. Allan & I decided to recce this place this morning.  From Jalan Bahar road, we turned into Nanyang Avenue and took the first left turn.  Thereafter, drive along the Clean Tech Loop all the way to the end.

(Nanyang Hiking Trail map)

(Nanyang Hiking Trail map)

Allan spotted a pair of mating moths near the bushes where we parked our cars. It was interesting that they formed an “A” shape!

(A for mating moths)

(A for mating moths)

Another mating moths of the same species were found nearby. We are unsure of their ID, but accordingly to Allan, they look similar to Triocha varians.

(Another pair of mating moths)

(Another pair of mating moths)

There is a Clean Tech Park here which is still under development. It looks a little like Punggol Waterfront Park.

(Clean Tech Park)

(Clean Tech Park)

We went in to take a look. The place is probably too clean that there were only a handful of common subjects. I only managed to photograph a relatively small Mangrove St Andrew’s Cross spider (Argiope dang).

(St. Andrew spider)

(Mangrove St Andrew Cross Spider)

Feeling disappointed, we decided to explore the 700+ metres long hiking trail. There were quite a no. of Agrionoptera insignis & Lathrecista asiatica dragonflies. Here is a female Lathrecista asiatica.

(Lathrecista asiatica, female)

(Lathrecista asiatica, female)

A rather unusual looking katydid caught my attention. It was shorter and broader than the common katydid that I often see.

(An uncommon katydid)

(An uncommon katydid)

This is another St Andrew’s Cross spider but much bigger than the one we saw earlier. It has silvery hairs and colourful abdomen. Hence, it is also known as Multi-Coloured St Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope pulchella).

(Multi-Coloured St Andrew's Cross Spider)

(Multi-Coloured St Andrew’s Cross Spider)

At about 400 metres into the trail, Allan found a fierce looking Wasp guarding its eggs. It was windy and I had to use a high ISO of 1000 to get a decent shot.

(Wasp guarding its eggs)

(Wasp guarding its eggs)

We called it a day at 11.00 am and went to the nearby coffee shop at Jalan Bahar for lunch. A reasonable good macro site that worth a 2nd visit.

4/2014 – Choa Chu Kang Ave 5 (8 Feb 2014)

At the junction between Brickland Road and Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 near the Hai Inn Temple, there is a drainage canal surrounded by forested areas on both sides. This patch of forest has been a popular site for many macro photographers in Singapore especially from members of Nature Photographic Society, Singapore.  We prefer to call this place as Choa Chu Kang Ave 5 (CCK5).

(Map of Macro Site)

(Map of Macro Site at CCK5)

As I had not visited CCK5 for more than a year, I was glad that Kyaw Htay could join me to check out the condition of this place. Due to the dry weather spell for the past 3 week where we did not have a single raining day, some bushes along the canal were dried up and turned into brown colour.

IMG_3623 pp

(Dried bushes near the drainage canal)

I was not surprised that we spotted only a few subjects during our 2 hours there from 7.30 am – 9.30 am. Here are my humble shots from this outing.

(Net-Winged Beetle)

(Net-Winged Beetle)

The following image is a common planthopper about 1 cm in size. The name comes from their remarkable resemblance to leaves and other plants of their environment and from the fact that they often “hop” for quick transportation in a similar way to that of grasshoppers.

(Planthopper)

(Planthopper)

There were a few common butterfly species but mostly are difficult to photograph except the Glam Blues which were more cooperative and quite plentiful here.

(Gram Blue, Euchrysops cnejus cnejus)

(Gram Blue, Euchrysops cnejus cnejus)

My favourite photo for the day was a katyid nymph feeding on a beautiful Singapore Cherry flower (Muntingia calabura).  Katydids are insects in the family Tettigoniidae which are also commonly known as bush-crickets.  Katydid may be distinguished from the grasshopper by the length of their filamentous antennae, which may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers’ antennae are always relatively short and thickened.

(Katydid nymph)

(Katydid nymph feeding on Singapore Cherry flower)

3/2014 – Zhenghua Forest (25 Jan 2014)

There is a forested area between Segar Road and Chestnut Avenue. It is close to BKE and directly opposite Zhenghua Park. The nearest carpark is near Blk 276 at Bangkit Road. To access the site, we would need to walk through a path under the BKE. There is a large patch of greenery just near the underpass of BKE.

(A greenery near Zhenghua forest)

(A greenery near Zhenghua forest)

I have visited this site for almost 10 times since a friend introduced it to me since April 2013. I like this place because it is easily assessable and an excellent site to shoot insects with dews. Here are 2 dewy images taken in today’s outing with my regular photography buddy, Kyaw Htay, who is also my neighbour.

(Lynx spider with dew)

(Lynx spider with dew)

(St Andrew Cross Spider with dew)

(St Andrew Cross Spider with dew)

It was not difficult to find butterfly with dew too.

(Butterfly with dew)

(Butterfly with dew)

There were many Leaf-footed bugs. They are members of the order, Hemiptera, and in the true bug family, Coreidae. Leaf-footed bug is a herbivorous insect.  They get their name from the flattened, leaf-like flare on the lower portion of their legs.  Adults are quite large in size about 3 cm long. Here is an adult in early morning dew.

(Leaf-footed bug with dew)

(Leaf-footed bug with dew)

I was fortunate to spot four Leaf-footed bug nymphs on a single leaf of which one of them could had been moulted not too long go as its exoskeleton was still nearby. Three obedient ones lined up nicely in a single file but the naughty one preferred to hide behind the leaf. This has to be my photo of the outing!

(Leaf-footed bug nymph)

(Leaf-footed bug nymphs)

1/2014 – Segar Nature Trail (4 Jan 2014)

From 2014 onwards, I will be sharing my images here whenever I go out shooting.

On 4 Jan 2104, I led an informal macro outing to Segar Nature Trail, my favourite hunting ground when I first started learning macro photography in 2007.   I like this place as it is easily accessible via the HDB flats at Segar road and yet no one would disturb you while you focus on your shooting.

Here are my shots from this outing:

(Katydid nymph in dews)

(Katydid nymph in dews)

(Katydid nymph)

(Katydid nymph feeding on White Weed flower)

(Shield bug)

(Shield bug)

(Shadows)

(Shadows)

(Is that my shadow?

(Is that my shadow?)

(Two different species of shield bugs)

(Two different species of shield bugs)

(Praying Mantis in dews)

(Praying Mantis in dews)

(Crab spider having a common fly as breakfast)

(Crab spider having a common fly as breakfast)

A full report of this trip can be found here.